How biodegradable cling wrap, benches and billionaires are making the world a bit better

It's been a big week of climate news. Here's a wrap-up of what's happening – in three minutes or less.

The WfC Editors
July 28, 2022
3 min read
A young woman holds a sheet of cling wrap in front of her face

Each week, we provide a rundown of the most essential climate news from Australia and around the globe: the good, the questionable, and the conversation starters. Here's what's beee going on this week.

How tall will a park bench need to be to survive rising sea levels? If Copenhagen’s new climate awareness campaign is any guide, the answer is pretty tall. Elevated bench seats have popped up around the city, each with a plaque that reads, “Flooding will become part of our everyday life unless we start doing something about climate.” In other news, Labor has tweaked its proposed climate legislation, and Disney just announced (possibly) the most carbon-intensive holiday ever designed.

The Good News 😊

The Albanese government has bolstered its headline climate legislation in order to win over the Greens and teal independents. In a bill introduced this week, Labor has tweaked the draft to indicate that future emissions reduction targets can only increase, along with some new transparency commitments. Tasmanian Liberal MP Bridget Archer has already said she’ll cross the floor for 43% by 2030

Local Aussie start-up Great Wrap just landed $24 million of funding which they hope will kickstart a no-plastic revolution. Great Wrap makes compostable, biodegradable plastic wrap from food waste, rather than petroleum, and they took out the Social Responsibility & Sustainability category at the 2021 Melbourne Young Entrepreneur Awards. We’re big fans.

On the Radar 🧐

There’s a lot of talk about the re-wilding movement these days, but have you heard about Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR)? Australian agronomist Tony Rinaudo (also known as The Forest Maker) is pioneering a new form of regenerative agriculture, and he’s using the sand-blasted, treeless wilds of Africa as a test case. In the last 20 years, he’s restored over 5 million hectares of forest in Niger, and FMNR has become a worldwide movement. The ABC just published a great feature on Rinaudo’s work. Definitely worth a read.

Octopus Investment Australia has launched a new $10 billion renewables “platform” that will seek to back emerging solar, wind and battery storage across Australia. The Government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation has come on-board as an institutional investor, too. Octopus says they’ve already secured a $3 billion wind, solar and storage portfolio, with another $5 billion coming down the pipeline. 

Water Cooler Chat 🗣  

The New York Times is diving into the murky world of corporate net-zero pledges. In a must-watch analysis on YouTube, the NYT found that corporations are using net zero schemes to kick the environmental can down the road. The targets look good on a website, but rarely stand up to scrutiny. Take American meat-packing giant, JBS, which has pledged to be net-zero by 2040… while at the same time increasing their emissions by 50% in the last five years. 

With the news that Kylie Jenner uses her private jet for 17-minute joy rides, it’s nice to know there are some billionaires out there actually doing good. This week, Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar made a $320 million takeover bid for solar storage developer Genex Power, while Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest is backing the $3 billion Clarke Creek renewable energy grid. As RenewEconomy notes, Australia’s three richest men are now all behind the green energy transition. That’s got to be a good thing.

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