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Moving Forward with Climate Action

During the coronavirus  pandemic, much of the world has been distracted from focusing on a problem that could be far more serious – the climate crisis.  Today, NFK looks at three recent new stories of climate action.

China Promises to be Carbon Neutral by 2060

In a speech to the United Nations last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping promised that China would make huge cuts in the amount of pollution it creates, with the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2060.

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In a speech to the United Nations last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping promised that China would make huge cuts in the amount of pollution it creates, with the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2060.

Carbon Neutrality
      In a general way, becoming “carbon neutral” means cutting back on pollution until overall, the country is no longer polluting at all.
      Carbon dioxide is one of the most important of the polluting gases causing global heating. That’s why “greenhouse gases” are sometimes simply called “carbon emissions” even though they’re not all carbon dioxide. A country that is carbon neutral is basically no longer giving off, or “emitting”, these dangerous gases.
      Carbon emissions are closely tied to the burning of “fossil fuels”, like coal, oil, and gas. To become carbon neutral, it’s necessary to stop creating energy in ways that pollute, and instead use more “renewable” sources, like the sun, wind, and water.

The surprise announcement has encouraged many groups working to protect the environment. Currently, China is the world’s biggest polluter and depends heavily on coal, one of the dirtiest sources of energy.

To cut its carbon output, China plans to slowly get rid of its coal plants, while putting more effort into renewable energy and nuclear energy.

Coal-fired power plant in Shuozhou, Shanxi, China
The surprise announcement has encouraged many groups working to protect the environment. China is the world’s biggest polluter and depends heavily on coal, one of the dirtiest sources of energy. Above, a coal power plant in Shuozhou, Shanxi, China.
(Source: Kleineolive, from Wikimedia Commons.)

If China carries out its plan, it will make a big difference in slowing the world’s rising temperature, though much more action will still be needed. Quicker action would make the impact of China’s moves greater, but China expects its pollution levels to keep rising until 2030.

Many people hope that China’s new plan will encourage other highly polluting countries, like the US, to work harder to cut their emissions.

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If China carries out its plan, it will make a big difference in slowing the world’s rising temperature, though much more action will still be needed. Above, a large solar power plant in Tongchuan, Shaanxi Province, China.

California Bans New Gas-Powered Cars by 2035

California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed an order banning the sale of new gas-powered cars in the state by 2035. The governor says it’s the strongest step the state can take to fight climate change.

California has long pushed for renewable energy. Its rules for cars are already the strictest in the US. It has also passed a law saying that 100% of the state’s energy will be from sources that don’t pollute by 2045.

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California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed an order banning the sale of new gas-powered cars in the state by 2035. The governor says it’s the strongest step the state can take to fight climate change.

Under the governor’s order, the state will create rules requiring car makers to sell more “zero emissions” cars every year, with the goal of reaching 100% by 2035. Currently, only about 5.5% of the new cars sold in California are electric.

Transportation is California’s biggest source of pollution. It’s responsible for about 40% of the state’s emissions. The state isn’t banning the sale of used gas-powered cars, or cars that people already own.

Electric Car being charged.
Under the governor’s order, the state will create rules requiring car makers to sell more “zero emissions” cars every year, with the goal of reaching 100% by 2035. Currently, only about 5.5% of the new cars sold in California are electric.
(Source: Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine, via Flickr.com.)

Some people say that the governor’s move is good, but it would be more helpful if he stopped California’s companies from producing and selling so much gas and oil.

Climate Strikers Take to the Streets Again

Last Friday, climate strikers around the world returned to real-life rallies for the first time in a long time. In spite of the limits placed on public gatherings by the coronavirus, climate strikes were planned in over 3,000 spots around the world.

Kein Grad weiter: Klimademo von Fridays For Future, Berlin, 25.09.2020
Last Friday, climate strikers around the world returned to real-life rallies for the first time in a long time. Climate strikes were planned in over 3,000 spots around the world. Above, a climate strike in Berlin, Germany.
(Source: Scientists For Future/Stefan Müller [CC BY], via Wikimedia Commons.)

The climate strike movement grew out of protests by Swedish teen Greta Thunberg. In 2018, Ms. Thunberg began protesting outside of Sweden’s parliament over the country’s lack of action on climate change. Soon the movement spread internationally.

In 2019, there were several massive global climate strikes, involving as many as 4 million people. When the coronavirus struck, the climate strike movement was forced to take its protests online.

Friday’s protests, though limited in size because of the coronavirus, were the largest in a long time. Ms. Thunberg joined a climate strike outside parliament in Stockholm, and make this post about the strike.

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Friday’s protests, though limited in size because of the coronavirus, were the largest in a long time. Ms. Thunberg joined a climate strike outside parliament in Stockholm. She says strikers will keep up the pressure “for as long as it takes.”

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