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 be going on this week.
If you’re passing through Melbourne’s Royal Park this week, keep an eye out for a herd of goats. The City of Melbourne has “unleashed” several goats in order to save the native white skink population. It’s an unorthodox and cuddly approach to eco-conservation that we’d love to see more of. In other news, the UN Chief has called once again for climate action, and Dr. Jane Goodall gets her own (mostly recycled) Barbie doll.
The good news 😊
The ACT became the first Australian state or territory to announce an official phase-out of fossil-fuel powered vehicles. This is obviously huge news. It means that, by 2030, 80% to 90% of new vehicles sold in the ACT will be zero-emission vehicles, and no new petrol vehicles will enter the market by 2035. Fingers crossed the rest of the country gets on board. In other news, the Federal government is currently challenging Victoria’s controversial EV tax in the High Court.
NSW and Victorian governments announced a joint $20 million hydrogen station project this week, which will see four refuelling stations pop up along the Hume Highway. It’s an important step in moving our heavy vehicle fleet towards zero emission tech, and – incredibly – the push for the new stations is coming from the trucking industry itself. This all follows Queensland’s news last week that it intends to build Australia’s first hydrogen refuelling pump at a servo in Brisbane.
On the radar 🧐
A new report has detailed the shocking extent of Australia’s environmental degradation over the last few years. The state of the environment report, which was completed by scientists last year but mysteriously held back by the Morrison government until after the federal election, found that 19 of Australia’s ecosystems are showing signs of collapse. Who’s to blame? Well, it’s a mix of the usual suspects: climate change, habitat loss, invasive species, pollution and mining. A decade of political neglect probably didn’t help either.
With the UK set to broil in 40-degree heat this week, the government’s own climate change advisors have warned that heat-related deaths are set to triple over the coming decades. "We've been telling the government for over 10 years that we are nothing like well enough prepared in the UK for the really hot weather we are seeing now," Baroness Brown, deputy chair of the Climate Change Committee, told the BBC (with some low-key exasperation). The warning comes as wildfires rip through Europe.
Water cooler chat 🗣️
Climate optimism can be hard to find these days, but The Guardian has profiled a few forward-thinking 20-somethings who are taking climate action into their own hands. The article raises an interesting question: if the 1960s were the ‘denial’ phase of climate grief, and the 2000s were ‘depression’, have we finally moved to ‘acceptance and action’? Let’s hope so, for all our sakes.
Forbes is taking a deep-dive into the circular economy this week, particularly as it applies to fashion and so-called ‘circular textile fibres’ (recycled raw materials). “Is this investment in circular solutions being paired with operational changes in fashion businesses?” asks Brooke Roberts-Islam. “Or are they isolated initiatives, providing positive press coverage?” It’s a fair question, and one every business is going to have to answer soon. What good are sustainability initiatives if they don’t impact climate targets?
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