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First Solar Powered Atlantic Crossing And 9 Other Stories Everyone is Talking About

The Solar Impulse 2 solar powered airplane landed savely in Spain this week. Photo: Japan Times
The Solar Impulse 2 solar powered airplane landed savely in Spain this week. Photo: Japan Times

Things are moving quickly as our planet makes the transition to a new, clean economy. You want to stay in the loop – but you’re busy, that’s why we keep an eye on the headlines for you!

Welcome to the 23 June 2016 edition of the Daily Planet’s weekly State Of The Planet. Don’t hesitate to send your tips and comments to @peter_koekoek or

1. Solar Impulse 2 made history this week, becoming the first solar powered airplane to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

Flying into the southern Spanish city of Seville as the sun rose behind him, CNN reports pilot Betrand Piccard was flanked by an honour guard from the Spanish formation flying team Patrulla Aguila.

The solar aircraft, which has the wingspan of a Boeing 747 but only weighs about as much as an SUV, took off from New York’s JFK airport Monday night after mission engineers identified a narrow weather window in which to undertake the nearly four-day flight.

2. The largest-ever coalition of cities is taking on climate change.

More than 7,100 cities around the world are set to fight climate change together following the merger of two key initiatives, the Daily Planet reports.

The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy is the result of a merger between the EU’s Covenant of Mayors and the UN’s Compact of Mayors. The new initiative is now the largest-ever global coalition of cities committed to fighting climate change.

Mayor of Paris Anne Hildago tweeted that cities “have been crucial to the Paris Agreement,” and that the merger “will broaden our commitments.”

3. More than 5000 firefighters are battling wildfires in California this week.

Firefighters worked on Thursday to gain control over five major wildfires burning in drought-parched California, the Weather Network reports.

4. China is set to generate a quarter of electricity from wind power by 2030.

And the figure could rise to nearly a third with power sector reforms, the Guardian reports. Within 14 years, more new generating capacity – mostly clean energy – will come online in China than currently exists in the whole of the United States.

5. The global solar industry, meanwhile, is poised for massive expansion.

Less than 2 per cent of today’s global electricity is generated by solar power, but this is set to change. According to a new International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) report released this week, this figure could grow to 13 per cent by 2030.

6. Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions are now at almost 25 per cent below 1990 levels.

In 2014 that is, as the European Environment Agency’s (EEA) annual greenhouse gas reports cover emissions from 1990 to two years before the current year, the Daily Planet reports.

More use of renewable technologies – mainly wind and solar – for electricity generation and better energy efficiency were among the factors that contributed to lower emissions in 2014, according to the EEA. Other major factors included milder winters and the economic recession.

7. Public service messages about climate change have been stirring up some controversy.

Governments around the world are taking climate action, and are running publicity campaigns to inform – and convince – their citizens. Sometimes this causes some consternation, such as in Canada’s Alberta this week when climate sceptic opposition politicians complained about the province’s “$4.4 million summer ad blitz,” CTV reports. A few weeks ago, Canada’s Ontario had to face similar criticisms.

Some public service messages about climate change focus on opportunities, others highlight the doom and gloom. The Daily Planet has taken to YouTube to find you nine of the TV and video advertisements in question!

8. You could win $8000 with your own climate change TV advertisement.

But now the Daily Planet reports how a new global climate action contest is asking you to produce your own one-minute video advertisement.

9. Adidas is creating sneakers out recycles plastic from ocean plastic.

The limited edition shoes are made from plastic collected in coastal areas in the Maldives, the Daily Planet reports.

10. Does your phone charge on coal or solar? There’s an app for that!

Knowledge is power, and yet you probably have no idea where exactly the electricity you use to charge your phone, power your fridge and do the dishes (if you’re lucky) comes from. The Daily Planet lists a few handy apps that tell you exactly how the electricity you use is being generated at this exact moment – and whether it is clean or not.

Looking for something to fix?

Some of these stories may just inspire your next business venture:

  • Climate change is fuelling a rise in shark attacks. The increase in attacks — 59 last year, up from 31 in 2011 — is because climate change is pushing sharks and other marine species northward Time reports.
  • Climate change poses an urgent threat to poor of coastal Bangladesh. Nearly 12 million people live in poverty in the coastal regions of Bangladesh. The climate already poses a challenge to the lives and livelihoods of these households, seen vividly in the damage caused by Cyclone Roanu a few weeks ago according to the World Bank.
  • Climate change has an impact on mortgages. Neglecting to properly address climate change and safeguard homes against it will lead to an uptick in mortgage defaults, Mortgage Brokernews reports.

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