Daily Planet

State of the Planet: Renewables Surge – Apple Cars – Floods Hit Europe – Coal Plunges – Climate Queen

An artist's impression of what an electric car produced by Apple could look like.

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 3 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 peter.koekoek@climate-kic.org.

France has declared a state of emergency due to severe flooding, Hollande says it’s climate change.

President Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency in the worst affected areas and promised funding to help local authorities deal with flood damage, Reuters reports. Unusually heavy rains in June showed the urgency to curb climate change, he said.

Renewable energy surges to record levels around the world.

New solar, wind and hydropower sources were added in 2015 at the fastest rate the world has yet seen, the BBC reports. Investments in renewables during the year were more than double the amount spent on new coal and gas-fired power plants, according to a new study.

A record $286 billion was spent on renewables in 2015, CNBC reports.

Is Apple about to enter the electric car market? Tesla thinks so.

Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk has said he considers Apple an eventual direct competitor, with electric vehicles that could go into production as soon as 2020. Apple will “probably make a good car and be successful,” Musk said according to Market Watch.

Volkswagen, meanwhile, could be building a €10 billion battery factory in a bid to reposition itself in the electric car industry, Tech Times reports.

Senior politicians met in Silicon Valley this week to discuss the “clean energy revolution.”

Energy ministers from countries including China, India the United States and the European Union are meeting in San Francisco this week, the Daily Planet reports. The meeting – known as the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) – takes place for the seventh time this year (1 and 2 June) and was originally launched at the 2009 UN climate summit in Copenhagen.

News to come out of the summit includes new sub-national government partnerships, including an agreement on clean energy by states and provinces on the US and Canadian West Coast.

US coal production has plummeted by a third.

Coal production in the United States remains significantly lower than last year with figures from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) indicating production is down by almost a third, World Coal reports. Low demand continues to negatively affect coal production, as low natural gas prices have resulted in higher-than-normal coal stockpiles at US utilities, according to Platt.

Revenues from emissions trading schemes and carbon taxes, on the other hand, rose by 60 per cent in 2015.

Last year highlighted the growing momentum for countries to voluntarily embrace putting a price on carbon pollution, as a means of cutting emissions. A new report by the World Bank, Carbon Pricing Watch 2016, shows four new carbon pricing initiatives – in the Republic of Korea, Portugal, Canada’s British Columbia province, and Australia – were launched, or have been in the works, since 2015.

Super trouper Christiana Figueres was honoured as “Climate Queen” last week.

Outgoing UN climate chief Christiana Figueres was serenaded with a 70s pop parody last week, and now the Daily Planet has the lyrics so you can sing along.

The G7 countries have said they want “rapid ratification” of the Paris Agreement, and will take steps to make it happen.

Folloing their summit in Japan, G7 leaders said: “We reaffirm not only our continuous commitment in our global efforts against climate change, but also our determination to maintain the momentum of COP21 and ensure swift and successful implementation of the Paris Agreement including the long-term aims on mitigation, adaptation, and finance.”

The UNFCCC has published the full climate change section of the G7 statement.

Almost that time of the year? Tips for a climate friendly camping tip.

The weather is getting warmer and you want to get back to nature with a weekend in the woods, but you want to make sure your camping trip is as climate friendly as possible. The Daily Planet has rounded up some top tips on how to enjoy the great outdoors without doing any damage.

Meanwhile in Nairobi at UNEP, governments have agreed to boost the sustainability agenda and the Paris climate agreement.

The world’s environment ministers gathered at the second session of the so called United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi and passed far reaching decisions on issues such as marine litter, the illegal trade in wildlife, air pollution, chemicals and waste, and sustainable consumption and production. UNEP has published an overview of what was agreed.

Hillary Clinton has provided more details of her plans for America to become the world’s “clean energy superpower.”

US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wants to increase renewable energy generation on public lands and in offshore water, Morning Consult reports. Clinton explained her ideas in an op-ed published in The Mercury News on Wednesday.

“Now, as we work to combat climate change and build America into the world’s clean energy superpower, our public lands can once again play a key role in unlocking the resources we need,” she wrote.

Worried about Donald Trump? Stephen Hawking says climate change is a bigger threat, and could give Earth a climate like that of Venus.

Hawking said he didn’t believe Trump was the greatest threat facing America, or even the world. The greatest threat, he said, is human-caused climate change, Climate Progress reports.

“A more immediate danger is runaway climate change,” he said. “A rise in ocean temperature would melt the ice-caps, and cause a release of large amounts of carbon dioxide from the ocean floor. Both effects could make our climate like that of Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees.”

“Trump is wrong on the Paris climate agreement. I know because I negotiated it.”

So says the former US climate change envoy in an opinion piece in the Washington Post: “If a President Trump were to stick to his wrongheaded notion that climate change is a hoax, and unilaterally withdraw from the Paris Agreement, he would also inflict severe diplomatic damage on the United States. U.S. standing in the world would plummet amid almost universal condemnation. Trump could pound his chest to his heart’s content, but he’d come out of this rash exercise a loser, with U.S. credibility and leverage in tatters.”

Are you taking climate action? You could win a trip to Morroco.

The UN is inviting young people aged 18-30 to share a short video diary with their climate action stories, and win a trip to Morocco – and a work-experience spot on their news team, the Daily Planet reports.

Looking for something to fix?

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

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