Climate & Environment

Climate & Environment
Germany starts commercial operation of new coal-fired power plant
Datteln IV coal power plant
Datteln IV coal power plant Credit: Frank Vincentz (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

The energy company Uniper has started operating the new Datteln 4 coal power plant despite ten different protests being registered with the police. The German government and the regional government of North Rhine-Westphalia have stated that the new power plant won't add more emissions to the air, because older coal power plants will go out of operation until 2025. The so-called "coal commission" that advises the German government on the exit from coal energy has previously recommended finding different solutions to compensate the energy company in order to prevent Dattel 4 from going into operation.

Climate & Environment
Taiwan's Green Island introduces project for waste reduction
Sign for a water refill station
Sign for a water refill station Credit: Thomas

Green Island, a small volcanic island and tourist attraction east of Taiwan, is introducing a plan to reduce plastic waste. To counteract the use of bottled water, the island will grant access to 33 potable water facilities in public locations where travellers can refill their own water bottles.

Climate & Environment
Hambacher Forst: Police handed over GPS data and photos to RWE

In 2018, the Ministry of the Interior passed on a roughly 77-page document to the energy group RWE, which is contained a detailed list of tree houses and GPS data. The supposed reason to hand over the documents was to enable RWE to file conclusive eviction suits against the protesters.

Climate & Environment
Ashaninka indigenous people win lawsuit against illegal logging

With the lawsuit being handed in during the 1990s, the Ashaninka group has won a decades-long dispute against forestry companies that illegally cut down parts of the Amazon forest. The companies and their legal teams have agreed to $3 million in compensations and have stated publicly their acknowledgement of the "enormous importance of the Ashaninka people as guardians of the forest, zealous in the preservation of the environment".

Climate & Environment
Scientists estimate 17 per cent decline in carbon emissions due to Covid-19

A new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change states that following the movement restrictions, closure of workplaces and factories as well as the closure of borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic, scientists estimate that the daily carbon dioxide emissions have declined an estimated 17 per cent.

Climate & Environment
Increased usage of plastic during Covid-19 pandemic
Empty Plastic Bottles
Empty Plastic Bottles Credit: sharma

Single-use plastics have seen massive restrictions over the last years in an effort to combat plastic pollution. Amid the pandemic, plastic products have seen increased usage due to hygiene and sanitary concerns. Recyclers are seeing a decreased demand in selling recycled plastic due to low oil prices and therefore cheaper production of new plastic.

Climate & Environment
Intel commits to cut waste and greenhouse gas emissions
Intel sticker on laptop computer
Intel sticker on laptop computer Credit: Harrison

Intel recently announced their environmental goals for 2030. The technology company aims to make the switch to 100% renewable energy and to recycle all its trash by the end of the decade. Currently, Intel does recycle over 90% of its trash and hazardous waste. Even though the company is decreasing its own emissions, they are not counting emission caused by companies and factories in their supply chain.

Climate & Environment
6.5 earthquake recorded in Nevada

An earthquake of the magnitude 6.5 struck near Tonopah, Nevada early Friday morning. The small town, three hours north of Las Vegas, recorded two additional aftershocks, both with a magnitude around 5.4. No injuries or damages have been reported so far. Today's earthquake has been the biggest in Nevada since 1954.

Climate & Environment
Study shows Covid-19 impact on global air quality
Shanghai, China covered in smog
Shanghai, China covered in smog Credit: Link

Two studies recently published in the American Geophysical Union's journal Geophysical Research Letters found that the Covid-19 lockdown measures have a significant impact on global air quality. Particulate matter pollution has decreased in China and the levels of nitrogen dioxide – a gas produced from emissions from vehicles and industrial activities - decreased in China, Western Europe and America. Researchers also found that the average ground level ozone concentration has increased since March, a gas emitted by certain household and industrial products.

Climate & Environment
Scientists warn of potential tsunami in Alaska
Barry Glacier, Barry Arm, western Prince William Sound.
Barry Glacier, Barry Arm, western Prince William Sound. Credit: Don Becker, U.S. Geological Survey. (Public Domain)

In a public letter, scientists warn of a potential tsunami in Alaska, triggered by a landslide in prince William Sound. As warming temperatures have caused a retreat of Barry Glacier in Barry Arm, an unstable, mile-long slope sitting above the glacier could slide into the ocean below. The landslide can be triggered by heavy rain, heat waves or an earthquake. If the slope should hit the water, it could lead to a 30-feet (approx. 9,5m) wave.

Climate & Environment
Toxic Gas Leak kills at least eight in India's LG Polymers plant

A gas leak from a chemical plant in Visakhapatnam, southern India, killed at least eight people, including three children, on Thursday morning. Around 1,000 more were rushed to hospitals, where around 100 are seriously ill, according to Tej Bharath, a senior Visakhapatnam district official. The leak occurred during the re-opening process of the plant and came from a storage tank.

Climate & Environment
US generated more renewable than coal energy for first month in history

The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis has announced that the United States have generated more energy from renewable energy sources than coal in April for the first time in history. The streak had already begun end of March and had continued for the whole April until at May 3.

Climate & Environment
Ozone hole three times the size of Greenland over Arctic has healed

The ozone hole had been three times as big as Greenland and been the biggest one since 2011. The UN World Meteorological Organization has now announced that the hole has healed and is closed now. According to the scientists, the lower air pollution due to the coronavirus had probably nothing to do with it.

Climate & Environment
Morgan Stanley won't finance "oil and gas exploration" in the Arctic anymore

Morgan Stanley has announced through their updated Environmental and Social Policy Statement that the investment bank won't finance "new oil and gas exploration and development in the Arctic" anymore. Though this policy is only aimed at direct financing of these projects and does not prevent financing for companies that engage in these projects.

Climate & Environment
New inland ice buildup in Greenland and Antarctia, but massive ice losses along coastline
New inland ice buildup in Greenland and Antarctia, but massive ice losses along coastline
Credit: NASA Goddard

NASA's ICESat-2's satellite observation data shows the change of Greenland's and Antarctica's ice sheets between 2003 and 2019. The data reveals that the ice in both eastern Antarctica and central Greenland thickened slightly but showed a drastic thinning along the coastline and a severe thinning on Greenland's glaciers.

Climate & Environment
Pakistan creates over 63,600 jobs with goal to plant billions of trees

As part of the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami program in Pakistan, the government has announced that it'll create over 63,600 "jungle workers" jobs with the goal of planting trees, setting up nurseries and protecting the planted and growing trees. Many of the jobs are specifically created in more rural areas in order to support women and unemployed daily workers that were hit by the Covid-19 recession.

Climate & Environment
The economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic must be a "green recovery" - Germany, UK

Spokespeople from Germany and the United Kingdom said that instead of investing "in technologies of the past" the recovery should be a "green and resilient" one that "leaves no one behind". The German Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Svenja Schulze, said that "Unlike in the fight against the coronavirus, we already know the vaccines for the climate crisis".

Climate & Environment
Sweden's last coal plant to be closed two years early
Image of Coal Plant
Image of Coal Plant Credit:

Sweden's last coal-fired power station, which was set to seize operation in 2022, has been closed prematurely. A statement on Stockholm Exergi's website read: “This plant has provided the Stockholmers with heat and electricity for a long time, today we know that we must stop using all fossil fuels, therefore the coal needs to be phased out and we do so several years before the original plan." Sweden is the next European country to go coal-free, following Austria and Belgium.

Climate & Environment
Clear skies lead to record solar power production in Germany

With 32,227 megawatts Germany has reached a new all-time high for the production of solar energy in a single day. On that day 78% of the generated energy in Germany had renewable sources, according to Agora Energiewende.

Climate & Environment
Germany sets new record with 23% solar energy in week 15 of 2020

The head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems division for New Devices and Technologies, Dr. Bruno Burger, has announced that 23% of the German network capacity for electricity in week 15 of the year has been covered by solar energy. Germany has now used more solar than traditional energy for the fifth week in the row.

Climate & Environment
People in northern India report seeing the Himalayas for first time in "almost 30 years" as lockdown eases air pollution

As India has responded to the coronavirus by implementing a lockdown, the air pollution in the country has decreased. People from Jalandhar in northern India are now reporting that they can see the Himalayas for the first time "after 30 yrs" as the air quality has improved due to industries shutting downs, plans being grounded and cars staying off the road.

Climate & Environment
French company Carbios creates enzyme that recycles plastic bottles in hours

While current recycling technologies are only able to break plastic bottles down to chemical building blocks that are suitable for reuse in clothing and carpets, the new enzyme makes it possible to recycle plastic bottles and make new bottles out of them. The French company Carbios cooperates with companies like Pepsi and says that it is aiming to bring the new recycling technology to industrial size within five years.

Climate & Environment
Forest fire near Chernobyl nuclear site leads to radiation spikes

Following a forest fire in the restricted zone around Chernobyl, a spike of radiation has been reported by the Ukrainian state ecological inspection service. To combat the fire the government has mobilized around 100 firefighters and uses planes and a helicopter. The emergency service has said that no increase in radiation in the air has been detected, no people are in danger and that the fire was not visibly burning on Sunday morning.

Climate & Environment
Germany reaches over 50% of renewable energy in first quarter of 2020 for the first time

The German ZSW and BDEW announced in a press release that their preliminary calculations have come to the conclusion that Germany has used renewable energy for around 52 percent of their gross inland electricity consumption. In the statement, this change was mainly attributed to the industrial slowdown due to the coronavirus and the priority for renewable energy over conventional energy in the electricity network.