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 been going on this week.
This week we’re seeing more celebs making news. Sebastian Vettel announced his retirement from Formula 1 racing, citing concerns over the climate crisis – and the heavy carbon footprint the sport has – as one of the driving forces for his decision to finish up this season. And following last week’s headlines criticising Kylie Jenner for her fossil fuel-guzzling private jet sojourns around California, it seems pop star Taylor Swift has an even worse track record. (TLDR: in the first six months of this year, she’s racked up over 8,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide. Haters definitely gonna hate, Tay.)
Here’s what else has been going on around the globe and closer to home.
The good news 😊
Last week, the UN General Assembly recognised that a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is a universal human right. The landmark move has the potential to make real change; the UN’s 193 Member States now have an obligation to promote and fulfill this right and address some of the planet’s many crises. “The resolution will help reduce environmental injustices, close protection gaps and empower people, especially those that are in vulnerable situations, including environmental human rights defenders, children, youth, women and indigenous peoples,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres as he welcomed the historic decision.
A South Australian winery is about to power their cellar door through their Nissan Leaf EV. Ballycroft Vineyard and Cellars in the Barossa Valley is getting ready to install a vehicle-to-grid and vehicle-to-home converter, which means they’ll almost be able to run their entire operations – their vineyard and their home – off the car’s battery. Unlike most other EV batteries, the Leaf has bidirectional charging capabilities, which means energy can be directed elsewhere. Cheers to that.
On the radar 🧐
The Greens are pushing for a ‘climate trigger’ which would see all future coal and gas projects assessed on whether or not they’d make climate change worse. The proposal comes after the Albanese government’s new climate bill, which legislates its 43% emissions reduction target and can’t pass without support from the Greens and independent senator David Pocock. The issue? The Greens want assurance that no new projects will be approved, but Labor has said it’s not possible. “Putting a ‘climate trigger’ in law will force corporations to be honest about how much pollution their new projects and mines will create and force the minister [Tanya Plibersek] to consider the climate impacts before giving environmental approval,” said Greens environment and water spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young.
Rex Airlines has announced plans to retrofit some of its planes with electric-propulsion engines, describing it as the future of air travel. The regional airline will trial the electric planes in 2024, promising a cleaner, quieter and cheaper form of travel. "It's dramatically different. The electric motors are inherently safe — they're probably safer than any other form of motor," said Rex deputy chairman John Sharp. “It will [also] produce far less carbon emissions — basically, none. That will help contribute towards our national objective of reducing carbon emissions over the next few years."
Water cooler chat 🗣️
Greenwashing is so last season, and it seems the fashion powers-that-be are finally cottoning on. H&M is being sued over its sustainability claims, with the brand being accused of greenwashing its products to appear more environmentally friendly. It comes as the UK’s Competitions and Markets Authority launches an investigation into sustainability claims made by fast fashion giants Asos, Boohoo and George at Asda. “People who want to ‘buy green’ should be able to do so, confident that they aren’t being misled. Eco-friendly and sustainable products can play a role in tackling climate change, but only if they are genuine,” said interim CMA chief executive Sarah Cardell. “ Should we find these companies are using misleading eco claims, we won’t hesitate to take enforcement action.”
While many of us feel despair, anxiety and sadness at the current state of the climate crisis, new research has found a helpful way to lessen the emotional toll. And it’s pretty simple. One of the best ways to process the negative emotions that may arise after a catastrophic event, like bushfires or flooding, is to immerse yourself in nature. “There is increasing evidence of nature’s ability to help people sit with and process complex emotional states, improving their mood, and becoming happier and more satisfied with life,” said the authors of the report in The Conversation.
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