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This week’s ten biggest climate innovation stories – 14 June

How the CO2 extraction system might look.Image via Carbon Engineering
How the CO2 extraction system might look.Image via Carbon Engineering

Does the EU have new target renewables and energy efficiency yet? What breakthrough has there been in sucking CO2 out of the air? And how is big finance driving climate action in other big companies?

This, and more, in the week’s ten biggest climate innovation stories.

  1. ‘Game-changer’: Major European banks partner for green mortgage pilot

Some 37 of Europe’s leading banks, including BNP Paribas, ING Bank, and Société Générale, have teamed up with the World Green Building Council to run a pilot initiative to see if so-called ‘green mortgages’ – where households get better deals for the most energy efficient homes – are a viable offer for the European housing market.

The idea is that lower energy bills make energy efficient homes a less risky investment for both buyer and lender. Banks will trial the use of preferential interest rates.


  1. EU agrees 32 percent renewables target for 2030

The EU has a new target of 32 percent renewables by 2030, but an agreement on energy efficiency will be delayed. Green groups have warned that the target is insufficient to meet Paris commitments and could slow-down the roll-out of renewable energy investments.

A total ban on palm oil in transport was agreed for 2030, but questions remain about the sustainability of biomass – the biggest source of renewable energy in the EU.

Read more on Reuters

  1. Norway wants all domestic flights to be electric by 2040

Airbus together with Rolls-Royce and Siemens is working on aircraft that uses both batteries and conventional fuels. A test model is expected to fly in 2020. Boeing-backed startup Zunum expects its 12-passenger hybrid-electric plane to first fly in 2022. Norway is counting on those kinds of aircraft to handle flights under 90 minutes in length.


  1. These eight nature-based start-ups from around the world are going to save it

ECOSTAR has selected eight start-ups to attend its accelerator program this summer. Sintala Design makes products out of solid wood from fallen trees, pruning’s and remains of other manufacturing processes. Crické is another that produces healthy, eco-friendly and tasty insect-based products.


  1. World can safely store billions of tonnes of CO2 underground

Storing billions of tonnes of CO2 underground would be a safe and effective way to help limit the effects of climate change.  Large amounts of CO2 could be stored under the ground or sea with only a small risk of surface leakage in the following 10,000 years. However, if CO2 storage is poorly managed, higher amounts of leakage can be expected. The findings help dispel common “misconceptions” about the dangers associated with CO2 storage, a scientist not involved in the study tells Carbon Brief.

Read more on Carbon Brief

  1. Interface goes all in on ‘carbon neutral’ flooring

US flooring giant Interface now offers ‘carbon neutral’ flooring as standard across its entire range, at no extra costs to customers. The move will likely need it to offset 400,000 metric tons of carbon emissions this year. Interface is committed to delivering zero waste, greenhouse gas emissions and net water use – by 2020.


  1. Romania’s clean energy: obstacles and ways industry could overcome them

Romania can tap into its strong technology resources to digitalize the country’s energy system and boost low-carbon supplies as well as economic growth. The seventh annual Romanian Energy Day conference in Brussels focused on the three D’s in the EU’s Clean Energy Package of policies for 2021-2030 – digitalization, decarbonization and decentralization – as well as the regulatory and financial implications of shifting to a low-carbon economy.


  1. Legal & General’s investment arm demands climate action from big companies

The fund manager introduced its Climate Impact Pledge in November 2016 to push companies to address climate change and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy. From this it has identified Nestle, French bank BNP Paribas and Spanish utility Iberdrola as climate leaders for putting climate compliance at the heart of its strategy.

Laggards were made up of the China Construction Bank, Russia’s Rosneft Oil, Japan Post Holdings, Occidental Petroleum, Dominion Energy, Subaru, Loblaw & Sysco Corporation.

Read more on The Independent

  1. Top 100 European places where air pollution kills most

In Europe, more than a third of those killed each year by toxic particulate matter live in about 100 conurbations, mainly in Italy, France, Germany, UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain.

Read more in EU Observer

  1. Key ‘step forward’ in cutting cost of removing CO2 from air

A Canadian company says it has reached an important threshold in developing technology that can remove CO2 from the air.  By sucking air into a modified cooling tower with fans it comes into contact with a liquid that reacts with the CO2 and is processed, with a purer stream of CO2 extracted and the capturing liquid returned to the air contactor. Carbon Engineering has published a study showing that they can capture carbon for under $100 a tonne, a major advance on the current price of $600. The company’s immediate goal is to produce synthetic liquid fuels made from carbon and renewable energy.

Read more on BBC News

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