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Paris Could Take Effect Early And 11 Other Key Climate Action Stories

US president Barack Obama hands the paperwork ratifying the Paris Agreement on climate change to UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon. Photo: UN
US president Barack Obama hands the paperwork ratifying the Paris Agreement on climate change to UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon. Photo: UN

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 6 September 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 peter.koekoek@climate-kic.org.

1. Could your next car actually be made from recycled Tequila?

Some entrepreneurs say they get their best ideas in the pub, which is exactly what may have happened at Ford. Ordinarily, mixing alcohol and cars isn’t a great idea – but the sustainability team at US car maker Ford apparently doesn’t mind a challenge.

The Daily Planet brings you the story of how Ford is hoping to recycle your favourite Mexican shot into car parts.

https://twitter.com/ClimateKIC/status/770883326865354752

2. Following this weekend’s ratification by China and the US, the Paris Agreement could take effect globally – this year.

The rumour had been going around for over a week, and was confirmed on Saturday 4 September on the eve of the G20 meeting in China. Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping formally handed the paperwork confirming their ratification of the historic agreement to UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, well ahead of what was expected originally.

According to CleanTechnica the European Union is unlikely to formally ratify the agreement before 2017 due to the challenge of coordinating 28 separate national procedures. But since a further 31 countries have committed to ratifying the Paris Agreement this year, it is not unlikely the historic accord could meet the requirement of including more than 55 per cent of the world’s emissions – and already take effect in 2016.

3. Why Obama isn’t ‘bypassing Congress’ by ratifying the Paris Agreement.

Obama was able to ratify the agreement because he did not need support from the gridlocked US Congress. The accord is part of a broader umbrella agreement – the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, adopted with bipartisan support during George H. Bush’ presidency – and these types of add-on arrangements are typically handled by the president.

That’s it in a nutshell, but ThinkProgress has a great analysis if you’re interested in the details.

4. ‘Let’s seize the moment!’: Check out these Twitter reactions to the US-China Paris Agreement ratification.

The move is a major boost for the historic accord, which still needs to be ratified by most countries that back it, including the European Union. Because it is a highly political process that needs the backing of parliaments in some cases, it is all about momentum.

With that in mind, how did politicians and officials around the world react to the news? Get started with these tweets selected by the Daily Planet.

5. New report confirms Paris Agreement is just a starting point and much more is needed.

According to the Climate Transparency consortium the proposed emission reductions are far from sufficient and must be six times greater by 2030 if we want to stop the world from warming beyond 2 degrees Celsius, Climate Home reports.

6. Europe, China and the US have pledged support for a new global aviation emissions pact.

China, the United States and Europe all pledged support this weekend for a new deal to curb carbon dioxide emissions by airlines which is due to be finalised at a meeting of the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in September, Reuters reports. The pact could come into force by 2021.

7. Mexico is set to collaborate with Canadian provinces to work on a North American carbon market.

Mexico and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Québec are committing to work together to fight climate change according to a statement released last week. A new agreement signed by the three parties “establishes the foundation” for sharing information and expertise on carbon markets and opportunities while driving innovation, a statement by the government of Ontario announced.

Ontario’s climate change minister, Glen Murray, called it a “big step in building a North American carbon market” in a tweet following the statement. The agreement envisions Mexico joining the Canadian provinces, California and possibly other US states in the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), the Globe and Mail reports.

8. Revealed: The manufacturing industry’s massive low-carbon opportunity.

Did you know industries emit more than one-third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions? Certain sectors – including iron and steel, cement, chemical, and aluminium manufacturing – are actually the main contributors to climate change because of the large amounts of energy they need.

A new report is now putting a spotlight on how manufacturers can play a key role in tackling climate change and still produce the stuff we need, while making them more competitive as businesses – the Daily Planet has the details.

https://twitter.com/ClimateKIC/status/771245717750820864

9. Where do the 10 UN secretary general candidates stand on climate change?

You can probably guess where former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres – one of the candidates – stands on the issue, but what about the others? CarbonBrief has pulled together an overview.

10. Going on holiday or a city trip? Consider Europe’s carbon-neutral airports.

These airports’ efforts won’t quite mean the carbon output of the flights themselves will be zero – but if you must fly, you might as well try to fly as green as possible. The vast majority of airports that have so far been certified as ‘carbon neutral’ are located in Europe, and the Daily Planet has looked them up on social media – they’re ready for you to explore!

Participants in the global Airport Carbon Accreditation programme have been exchanging information about how to measure their direct and indirect emissions – and how to reduce their footprint as much as possible – since 2009.

https://twitter.com/ClimateKIC/status/771608106438504448

11. Natural gas emissions are set to surpass those from coal in the United States.

Emissions from natural gas are expected to be 10 per cent greater than those from coal in 2016, Climate Central reports. Electric companies rely more on power plants that run on natural gas than those that run on coal, resulting in the shift.

The downside to the emissions milestone is the increase of methane emissions as a result of the burning of gas, Climate Central highlights.

12. Come Brexit or high water, Britain will keep the lights on – and here’s how they plan to do it.

Eight new battery storage projects are to be built around the UK after winning contracts worth £66 million, the Telegraph reports. The new electricity storage facilities should help the UK keep power supplies stable as more wind and solar farms are built. EDF Energy, E.On and Vattenfall were among the successful companies chosen to build new lithium-ion batteries, according to the Telegraph.

Looking for something to fix?

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

  • Climate change and dams threaten to double malaria risk in Africa.surge in dam construction for electricity generation, crops irrigation and to store water for fast-growing populations combined with warmer temperatures is creating ideal conditions for mosquitoes, the Economic Times reports.
  • Climate Change is coming for our coffee. The world’s landmass suitable for coffee production is likely to shrink by half within three decades, Mother Jones reports.

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