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Tesla’s Revolutionary Solar Roof: This Week’s 10 Biggest Climate Stories

Tesla's solar roof looks just like a... roof. Photo: Tesla
Tesla's solar roof looks just like a... roof. Photo: Tesla

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 1 November 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. Some innovators dressed up their pets for the global Climathon.

A world-wide climate action hackathon took place this weekend, and – possibly inspired by Halloween – some people decided this was an excellent opportunity to dress up their pets according to the Daily Planet. Some 60 cities across almost 40 countries on 6 continents set local climate change challenge for teams to respond to as part of Climate-KIC’s global Climathon.

2. Thousands in cities across the world pulled a climate action all-nighter last week.

Thousands of people in major cities across the world pulled an all-nighter last week to respond to climate change on a global scale during the Climate-KIC Climathon.

EU Commissioner Navracsics expects the Climathon to make a “big contribution to training a new generation of entrepreneurs and innovators,” according to the Daily Planet. “It connects them to a global network and enhances crucial skills such as team-work, creativity and openness that are vital to help young people find fulfilling work, become engaged citizens and help build the Europe of the future,” Navracsics said.

Some cities, like The Hague, the Netherlands, Toronto, Canada, and Venice, Italy, have already published an overview of the winning ideas.

3. Ambitious new projects boost Europe’s attractiveness to renewables investors.

Although the US remains number one in terms of attractiveness to renewables investors, Europe has been gaining ground, Solar Industry reports.

Earlier this year it was starting to look like Europe was “slamming into reverse gear with its clean energy policy,” the Guardian recalls, pointing to consultancy EY’s biannual report on renewables investment, released in May. “EY reported that countries across the continent were becoming less attractive to investors as the pipelines of clean energy projects slowed,” according to the Guardian.

“But rather than being the start of a long, painful descent for Europe – historically the world’s frontrunner in renewable energy development – it now seems that the worrying report in May may have been a temporary blip,” the Guardian reports based on the latest Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI) which shows many European countries move up in the ranking due to ambitious new renewables programmes.

4. Tesla just announced a revolutionary new ‘invisible’ solar roof and no one saw it coming.

Tesla’s Elon Musk unveiled a revolutionary new product last week: a solar roof virtually indistinguishable from normal roof. Bloomberg reports it should be available to consumers by the end of 2017. During the product announcement event, while “the sun descended over the old Hollywood set of ‘Desperate Housewives,’ Elon Musk took to a stage and fired up his presentation about climate change. It was a strange scene, with hundreds of people crowded into the middle of a subtly artificial suburban neighborhood,” Bloomberg reports.

Bloomberg added that it wasn’t until about a minute into the speech that Musk “casually let the crowd in on Tesla’s big secret.” “The interesting thing is that the houses you see around you are all solar houses,” Musk said. “Did you notice?” according to Bloomberg.

5. Tesla’s made a surprise profit, and it could give Elon Musk breathing room for his next act.

Tesla surprised everyone by turning a small profit for the first time in years according to Vox. “Elon Musk’s electric car company announced it had earned $22 million in the third quarter of 2016 — at a time when investors were bracing for a loss,” Vox reports.

6. National Geographic’s climate change documentary with Leonardo DiCaprio is now on YouTube.

National Geographic has made Leonardo DiCaprio’s new climate change documentary Before the Flood available for free for a limited window of time, The Next Web reports. The documentary is currently streaming on YouTube, Twitter and a few other platforms, where it will be available entirely free of charge until 6 November, according to The Next Web.

7. Green bonds are shattering records with a projected $100B to be issued in 2016.

Seen as a key way to raise capital for new low-carbon projects, green bonds are on the rise and set for a record breaking year according to a major financial firm, the Daily Planet reports.

Moody’s reports that this year’s issuance of green bonds could approach $100 billion globally, bringing the sector within striking distance of doubling bonds issuance in one year – an increase previously took nine years.

8. The Paris Agreement is coming into force, and the UN needs your help to make sure everyone knows.

You can celebrate the day – 4 November – by signing up to a special UNFCCC Thunderclap. Once you’ve signed up, your social media accounts will automatically share the good news on your social media channels.

9. The European Union’s ‘radical’ low-carbon plan could add 900,000 jobs.

A series of new low-carbon measures, set to be announced later this year, could boost the EU’s GDP by 1 per cent – or €190 billion – by 2030, according to the Daily Planet.

The economic boost would be a result of a range of new energy efficiency and renewables measures aimed at bringing about a “radical overhaul” of Europe’s energy system, EU climate commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete said at a major energy industry event in Brussels on Monday (24 October).

10. A Swiss family is documenting climate change through a 16-year expedition.

A family from Switzerland sailed into the US state of Maine this week as part of a 16-year expedition to document climate change, Maine Public reports. Their journey has already taken them from ocean to mountaintop in a quest to report on climate change at all altitudes and find some solutions.

Looking for something to fix?

One of these stories may just inspire your next project:

  • 300 million children are breathing in toxic air. Almost one in seven of the world’s children, 300 million, live in areas with the most toxic levels of outdoor air pollution – six or more times higher than international guidelines – according to a new UNICEF report.
  • British holiday hotspots are set to “face desert hell” by 2100 due to “freak climate change.” Many of Britain’s favourite holiday hotspots could be off limits within 84 years, British tabloid the Daily Star reports.
  • North America could soon face another visit by the infamous polar vortex due to climate change. The weather system that shocked North America’s northeast with extremely cold days may bring more bitterly cold winters to the continent, Think Progress reports.

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