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State of the Planet: Paris Now “Unstoppable” – $1 Trillion For Solar – New Climate Satellite Launched – Electric Cars Gain Momentum

Representatives of the next generation joined world leaders at the Paris Agreement signing. Photo: UN
Representatives of the next generation joined world leaders at the Paris Agreement signing. 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 29 April 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.

Want a look behind the scenes at the Paris Agreement signing ceremony?

History was made in New York last week when 174 countries and the European Union signed the Paris Agreement on climate change. What was it like to be there? The Daily Planet has an overview in pictures, and reveals what happened on Snapchat on the day of the signing.

176 countries and the European Union have now signed the Paris Agreement. So what’s next?

The Seychelles and Gambia put their signature to the Paris Agreement this week, bringing the total number of signatures to 177. With the US and China already committed to ratifying the agreement this year, Climate Home reports that a green light from law makers in India, Japan or “leading EU member states” could get now get the climate deal over the 55 per cent of global emissions hump so it can enter into force – well before it’s original 2020 start date.

Lawyers say EU countries could break rank and ratify early.

The European Union’s 28 member states are expected to take a few years to reach agreement on how to implement the Paris Agreement, delaying ratification of the deal by the EU as a whole. But Climate Home reports that lawyers say it is possible for European countries to break ranks and ratify early. Germany and the UK or France would represent a big enough carbon footprint to help the Paris Agreement enter into force.

Regardless, the “fundamental and disruptive” low-carbon transition is now “irreversible and unstoppable” according to a high ranking EU politician.

However long the ratification may end up taking, Europe has signed up to “a fundamental and disruptive transition to a low-carbon economy and society,” EU Commission vice-president Maroš Šefčovič says. He also said the transition is now “irreversible and unstoppable,” the Daily Planet reports.

Clean-tech start-ups have a better chance of success in Europe than in the US.

So claims former director of US innovation agency DARPA Ken Gabriel, according to Deutsche Welle. “There are fewer barriers [in Europe]. European culture is much more focused on green living and the environment. This is where you’re going to get the market,” he said.

A new EU climate change satellite was launched this week, and the first images are coming in.

Just days after the signing of Paris Agreement on climate change, the fourth in a new series of Earth observation satellites was launched from French Guiana, the Daily Planet reports. Much more could be done to harness the power of big data from satellites in the fight against climate change. Deutsche Welle reports that a new partnership around the Copernicus programme – involving Climate-KIC – may change that.

Rockets may need them for some time to come, but when it comes to cars the combustion engine is dead. Here are seven ads that prove it.

For a generation that is growing up with iPhones and video games, the choice between an electric car and a vehicle based on technology that pre-dates World War I is increasingly straightforward, according to a Daily Planet article. If you check out these seven ads, you’ll agree that electric and hybrid cars are taking over the world.

Not enough proof? Here’s more. The Netherlands wants to ban all non-electric car sales by 2025.

The lower house of the Dutch parliament has supported a motion to ban sales of all cars that are not emissions-free, according to the Globe and Mail. If implemented, only the sale electric or hydrogen powered cars would be allowed. The Dutch cabinet now has to come up with a plan to implement the proposal. Dutch consumers bought about 60,000 electric and hybrid cars in the Netherlands in 2015, Dutch News reports.

And Germany is giving electric car sales a €1 billion subsidy boost, half of which is paid for by the car industry itself.

The new programme is set to subsidise 400,000 electric cars, the Guardian reports, and aims to boost the sector until electric cars become “mass market capable.” Consumers receive €4,000 when they choose a purely electric vehicle and €3,000 for a plug-in hybrid.

Volkswagen actually made a PowerPoint presentation about how to cheat emissions tests.

Great slides are everything, they say. The New York Times reports about a 2006 PowerPoint presentation that has been discovered as part of the ongoing VW investigation. It sheds new light on how the German car maker planned to cheat US emission tests. The internet was quick to respond with jokes about the bizarre news.

The European Commission has prepared a new climate change strategy for the Arctic region.

The EU is set to step up research on the impact of climate change in the Arctic region in an effort to decide how to adapt, EUObserver reports. Three EU member states – Denmark (including Greenland), Finland and Sweden – are partially located in the Arctic. The European Commission has published a fact sheet on the topic.

Saudi Arabia will be able to survive financially without oil by 2020.

To achieve this, the country has adopted a new strategy that includes the floating of part of national oil firm Saudi Aramco on the stock exchange and diversification of its investments, Climate Home reports.

25 countries aim to round up $1 trillion in solar energy investment.

The aim is to accelerate “massive deployment” of solar energy in their countries, a UN press release says. The countries – members of the International Solar Alliance – have also agreed to support already mature solar technologies that have so far only been deployed at a small scale and need to be scaled up, India’s Economic Times reports.

Denmark is considering a red meat tax to fight climate change.

The Danish government has been advised to adopt a tax on red meat, New Europe reports. Greenhouse gas emissions from the livestock sector are estimated to account for 14.5 per cent of total emissions globally.

Looking for something to fix?

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

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