Good news thread

Everything newswise feels pretty terrible at the moment so here’s a place for sharing cheerier news.


AUG 20, 2022 12 MIN READ

Good News on Global Teen Pregnancy, a Climate Bill for the United States, and Wolves in the Alps

Plus, cervival cancer in Rwanda, menstrual products in Scotland, steel emissions in China, battery investments in Hungary, conservation in Cuba, and the return of saiga antelope in Kazakhstan

Good News on Global Teen Pregnancy, a Climate Bill for the United States, and Wolves in the Alps

President Joe Biden hands the pen he used to sign the Inflation Reduction Act to Senator Joe Manchin in the White House on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022. Guess which one of these men has been dyeing his hair? Credit: AP Photo/Susan Walsh.

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Six months ago, our paid subscribers helped us send $5,000 to a charity in Nigeria called Safe Child Africa. They used the funds to create a play space at their emergency children’s centre in Calabar. Here’s a letter and a video from the organization that runs the centre. Thank you to all our members for making this possible.

Good news you probably didn’t hear about

World population growth has fallen to 1%, its slowest rate since 1950. The main cause? A decline in fertility. The latest projections suggests a peak around 10.4 billion in the 2080s. That means we have 78 years to figure out how to provide 11 billion people with a good standard of sustainable living. The Week

The WHO says the global child mortality rate has dropped by 60% over the past three decades, with the number of annual under-5 deaths plummeting from 12.6 million in 1990 to five million in 2020. The leading causes of death are birth complications, pneumonia, diarrhoea, and malaria, all of which are now being treated with affordable interventions in health and sanitation.

Children are leading the fight against dengue in Rio de Janeiro by breeding mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia - a bacteria that blocks the transmission of dengue to humans. Cases have fallen by 95% since 2015. Similar efforts in Indonesia and Colombia have reduced cases by up to 89%, and programs are now being rolled out across Mexico, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Fiji, Kiribati, New Caledonia, and Vanuatu.

Cervical cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in Rwanda. Thanks to rapidly expanding testing facilities, the deployment of tens of thousands of community health workers, and a successful HPV vaccination programme for 12 year old girls, officials believe it is on track to become the first country in the world to eliminate the disease. Guardian

Here’s one of the least celebrated stories of human progress. Teenage pregnancies are declining across the world, with only a third of all women bearing children in adolescence compared to 50% sixty years ago. The decline is contributing to a positive change in girls’ education, and infant and maternal mortality rates. ORF

Healthy life expectancy (the number of years spent in a good state of health) increased in Africa by an average of ten years per person over the last two decades, from 46 years in 2000 to 56 years in 2019. Improved access to health services and progress in the fight against infectious diseases have played a big role. Relief Web

The sharp rise in healthy life expectancy during the past two decades is a testament to the region’s drive for improved health and it means that more people are living healthier, longer lives, with fewer threats of infectious diseases and with better access to care and disease prevention services.
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa

Global leaders and African heads of state have managed to rally over $4 billion of funding towards the global effort to end malaria and neglected tropical diseases. It’s welcome news after years of warnings about a slowdown in funding. Relief Web

Zambia has become the latest country to commit to abolishing the death penalty. While a moratorium has been in place since 1997, this is the first time the measure has been approved by its legislature. It joins a growing list of African nations to have abolished the practice - Guinea in 2016, followed by Chad in 2020, Sierra Leone in 2021, and the Central African Republic earlier this year. UN

A non-profit group, RIP Medical Debts, has relieved 3.6 million low-income patients in the United States of their healthcare debts. The initiative, developed by two former debt collectors, involves the company buying bundles of delinquent hospital bills but instead of profiting from customers, clearing their debt. NPR

Scotland has become the first country to offer tampons and pads for free nationally. Thanks to legislation approved in 2020, free menstrual products will be available in pharmacies and community centres for anyone who needs them. New Zealand, Kenya and the states of New York, Virginia and Oregon currently distribute products for free in public schools. NPR

New legislation in Colorado will stop sales tax on all diapers and menstrual products, saving consumers around $9.1 million annually. Nationally, one in four American teenagers report missing school due to no access to period products and one in three American families can’t afford diapers. Gazette

An epic 18-day health campaign carried out in Somalia in May 2022 distributed preventative worm medicine to around 2.48 million school-aged children and adults. Officials say that country is on track to eliminate schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminth infections as public health problems by 2025. WHO

School-aged children receive essential medicines to tackle schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminth infections. It’s the fourth mass drug administration campaign for NTDs in Somalia since 2017. WHO Somalia/Khurram Sajjad.

In the past seven years, India’s digital revolution has increased the number of people connected to the internet from 19% to 60% of its 1.3 billion population. The government launched Digital India in 2015 with a mission to make India a trillion-dollar digital economy by 2025. BBC

After a decade of efforts to reform the juvenile system in Hawaii, for the first time ever, there are no girls at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility in Kailua. Incarceration rates for girls dropped 42% from 2018 to 2022 due to significant reforms including the decriminalization of prostitution for minors and the addition of trauma-informed care. Hawaii News Now

It’s about how can systems collaborate and work together to position interventions earlier, and to make sure that we’re responding with healing and support instead of punishment.
Hannah Green, Vera Institute of Justice’s Initiative to End Girls’ Incarceration

A victory for LGBTQ+ rights, with Pennsylvania banning conversion therapy. Steady progress has been made across America with 20 states completely banning the practice and five others enforcing partial bans. LGBTQ+ youth who experience conversion therapy are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide than youth who don’t. NBC

Schoolchildren across California will be eligible for free breakfast and lunch when they return to class in September, regardless of their family’s immigration status or income level. It’s the first state in the US to implement the program for any student requesting a meal. Several cities including New York, Boston, and Chicago, also have free meal initiatives in place. USA Today

Leuven, a city of 150,000 people in Belgium, has officially banned cars from its centre. Cycling is now the preferred mode of transit, with public transport coming in second and cars third. Similar trends are accelerating across the continent, and across the Channel too - cycling in London is up by 25% from pre-pandemic levels.

Credit: Oh Leuven

Saving the world is cheaper than ruining it

A month ago, we were lamenting the state of US climate politics in this newsletter. Negotiations over Build Back Better were dead in the water, Joe Manchin was the man who’d sold the world for a few pieces of silver, and technology offered our only hope of salvation.

We’ve never been so delighted to be wrong. Earlier this week, after three decades of inaction, the United States passed the Inflation Reduction Act, containing $369 billion in climate and energy spending, the country’s first ever economy-wide emissions-reduction bill. It’s the most significant climate news since China announced its net zero target in 2020, and maybe since the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015.

Politics, it turns out, can give us hope too (and sometimes when we least expect it). As Robinson Meyer says, “history’s greatest obstacle to climate progress has finally fallen*,”* and the US stands poised to take up its mantle once again as ‘the indispensable nation’ when it comes to solving the world’s biggest challenges. That might sound a little grandiose, until you consider that not only does the IRA get the US to within striking distance of its 2030 climate target, it also makes renewables everywhere cheaper, giving China, India and every other country an incentive to decarbonize that has nothing to do with saving the world, and everything to do with saving money.

There’s been a ton of coverage, so we’re not going to repeat it all here. Instead, here’s some news you might not have come across yet. Firstly, a bit of context. While it’s a lot of money, don’t forget that China and Europe are spending even more. China is already spending almost the same as that every year, and Europe will spend almost twice as much by 2027. Bloomberg

Here’s the NYT’s resident climate doomsayer David Wallace-Wells, sounding surprisingly upbeat. “Not that long ago, the upfront cost of a green transition looked almost incalculably large. Today it seems plausible that quite dramatic emissions gains can be achieved for just $369 billion — with an estimated payoff of nine million new American jobs, to boot.”

Although it’s attracted little attention, the bipartisan CHIPS Act, signed into law just a few days before the IRA, contains an estimated $67 billion for clean energy R&D and climate resilience. On its own, that makes it one of the largest climate bills ever passed by Congress. Vibe shift anyone? Atlantic

Since we are all apparently incapable of feeling good about things, you’ve probably heard that Joe Manchin shoved in some clauses about oil and gas leases. Thing is, they negate less than 2% of the bill’s carbon effectiveness, and even if the government does auction those leases, it doesn’t look like the fossil fuel companies want to buy them. Grist

Thanks to a lawsuit brought by environmental activists, a US federal judge has revived a nationwide Obama-era ban on new coal leases that was tossed during the Trump administration, saying a thorough environmental assessment is needed before the moratorium can be lifted. Reuters

Under new regulations, China’s steel industry will be required to reach peak CO2 emissions by 2025. Difficult to understate the importance of this (and baffling it hasn’t been picked up by global news organizations). China produces more than half of the world’s steel, and over 60% of the industry’s global carbon emissions. Yicai Global

India has officially updated its climate change pledges. In 2015 it committed to 40% of electricity from non-fossil sources by 2030, and to reducing emissions intensity by 35% compared to 2005. Those targets have now been increased to 50% clean electricity and a 45% reduction in emissions intensity by 2030. Reuters

The Phillipines has confirmed that the moratorium on new coal power plants announced in October 2020 by the Duterte administration will remain in place under the new Marcos administration. Apparently insurers do not want to support new coal projects, and investors are “finding it difficult.” Indeed. Manila Bulletin

Transmission, transmission, transmission. The three sexiest words in energy. State Grid Corp. of China, the world’s largest utility, just announced $22 billion in funding for new power lines for clean energy, and MISO, the operator of the US Midwest’s electrical grid, has approved a $10.3 billion upgrade across nine states.

Massachusetts has a major new climate law boosting offshore wind and solar, and - in a first for the state - allowing cities and towns to ban fossil fuels in new buildings and renovations. “It really bolsters the offshore wind industry. It sends a signal to the world that Massachusetts will be a significant player in the space.” Boston Globe

The world’s biggest battery maker, CATL, is investing $7.6 billion into building a factory in Hungary. It’s the single largest investment in Hungary’s history. As we’ve said many times: if you thought the digital revolution was a big deal, wait until the clean energy revolution gets going. Bloomberg

Business time

The only home we’ve ever known

Conservation goals in Cuba! Almost 19% of the country’s wilderness is now officially protected. The country had a huge boom in the number of protected areas in 2021 with the addition of 26 new sites, bringing the national tally to 144. Cuba News

A landmark legal battle has saved Tasmania’s Tarkine rainforest from the construction of a dam to store toxic mining waste. Forest defenders fought against the proposal, blocking the road to the site for 550 days - and for good reason. The forest is crucial habitat for 60 rare and endangered species including the Tasmanian devil and the masked owl. Euro News

Ten years after an ambitious pest eradication project Macquarie Island, off the coast of Tasmania, has become a shining beacon of grand-scale environmental recovery. Once on the brink of collapse, the island has sprung back to life with giant tussock grass, mega herbs, and orchards and the return of birds like blue and grey petrelsand Antarctic prions. Guardian

A landmark conservation agreement between Indigenous communities, NGOs, and governments in Pastaza, Ecuador, will protect the country’s largest and most biodiverse forest from mining. The agreement recognises the integral role Indigenous communities play in the fight against climate change Pastaza’s forests capture a whopping 858 million tonnes of carbon annually. Euro News

The Gitxsan Nation of northwest British Columbia has just declared the entirety of its 1,700 square km2 territory in the upper Skeena River watershed as protected. It’s vital habitat for the likes of mountain goats, wolverines, grizzlies and wild salmon."What Gwininitxw did was based on laws that are way older than Canada.” Narwhal

Pakistan has increased mangrove coverage in the past three decades from 476 km2 in 1990 to an impressive 1,463 km2 in 2020. What began as a series of small,
piecemeal efforts has grown into one of the most ambitious reforestation campaigns in the world. The success is credited to a scientific approach, government commitment, and strong support from local communities. RTBC

“It surely represents a blueprint for how other degraded mangroves around the world could be revived.”

Conservation efforts in Scotland are turning the tide on land ownership, with a group of villagers in Langholm fundraising enough to buy 2,100 hectares to add to an existing nature reserve the same size they purchased last year. The grassroots effort aims to restore local wildlife and peatland while creating a flourishing nature-based economy. Euro News

Australia is phasing out battery eggs, after a lengthy battle between the egg industry and animal welfare groups. The reforms, announced yesterday, state that egg producers must phase out the use of conventional layer hen cages over the next 10 to 15 years, and by 2036 at the latest, depending on the age of their current infrastructure. Guardian

Single-use plastic bag use in England has fallen by 20% after an increase in price from 5p to 10p last year. The average person now buys around three single-use carrier bags a year compared with 140 bags in 2014. Since charges were first introduced in 2015, total usage in England has decreased by 97%. BBC

The population of saiga antelope in Kazakhstan has rebounded 10-fold after a fatal disease killed half the population seven years ago. 1.3 million saiga now roam the grasslands, a huge leap from the 130,000 left in 2015. The huge success is thanks to government protection of nearly 5 million ha to support wildlife rehabilitation. New Scientist

Georgia’s endangered loggerhead sea turtles are multiplying in record numbers, with conservationists counting 3,966 nests this year, a new record. Biologists and volunteers have worked since the 1990s to boost the population, which has increased by 4% every year. CNN

The number of wolf packs in the Alps has jumped more than 25% in just one year, from 250 in 2021 to over 300. Wolves were nearly eradicated in Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries and activists have worked for decades to revive populations. “The wolf is here to stay.” DW

A female wolf and her cubs in the Dolomites. Source: BBC

That’s it for this edition, thank you for reading.

A special shout out to all our paying subscribers, who made the donation to Safe Child Africa possible. We are so grateful. We’ll see the rest of you in a fortnight.

Much love,



Good news you probably didn’t hear about

There’s been substantial progress in South America in eliminating river blindness, a severe, disfiguring parasitic skin disease. A program launched in the 1990s has eliminated it completely in Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Guatemala, and reduced the number of people at risk from over half a million to just 35,518, scattered across the Brazil-Venezuela border. WHO

In the past three years, the number of cancer survivors in the US has increased by a million, reaching over 18 million as of 2022. This is mostly due to progress against lung, colorectal, and breast cancer, whose age-adjusted death rates have decreased by 44%, 42%, and 53% respectively since the 1970s. AACR

The American Cancer Society says breast cancer death rates in the United States dropped by 43% between 1989 and 2020. As a result, 460,000 breast cancer deaths were averted in US women during this period. The average five year survival rate is now over 90% - up from around 70% back in the early 1980s.

Malawi has eliminated trachoma as a public health problem, the first country in southern Africa to do so, and the fourth country in Africa after Ghana, Gambia and Togo. In 2015, there were 7.6 million people at risk of infection. In just seven years, that number has fallen to zero. WHO

A healthcare worker in Malawi tests a patient’s visual l fields using a technique called confrontation. Credit: Heiko Philippin

Vanuata has also eliminated trachoma, the first Pacific nation to reach this milestone. Eight years ago, 12% of children were infected, prompting the launch of a national programme. Trachoma is the second non-tropical disease to be eliminated from the 83 island nation, after lymphatic filariasis in 2016. WHO

To understand the magnitude of this feat, just imagine what it must take to reach people across all of Vanuatu’s inhabited islands – taking boats across open ocean and walking for hours through creeks and over hills in all kinds of weather.
Dr Takeshi Kasai, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific

The Serum Institute of India, the world’s biggest vaccine maker, has developed a cervical cancer vaccine that costs less than $5, and is aiming for 200 million doses by 2024. Big news. Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women globally, causing an estimated 342,000 deaths a year, almost all in low and middle income countries. Reuters

Nigeria has recorded a significant decrease in child marriage, with the proportion of girls married before their 18th birthday falling from 44% in 2016 to 30% in 2021. There has also been considerable progress in child mortality, which has decreased from one in eight children dying before their fifth birthday in 2016, to one in ten in 2021. UNICEF

This is going to sound crazy, but did you know that global economic inequality has actually decreased since 2011? The size of the global middle class increased by around 68%, while the proportion of people earning less than $10K a year fell substantially. This reflects the growing prosperity of emerging economies in the last decade, a story most of us hardly ever hear about. Credit Suisse

Family planning is an unsung hero in the story of human progress. The number of women and girls using modern contraception in low and lower-middle income countries now stands at 357 million. In the last year alone, their use has averted 135 million unintended pregnancies, 28 million unsafe abortions, and 140,000 maternal deaths. UNFPA

India is on track to meet its SDG targets on child mortality. New figures released by the country’s Registrar General show that between 2019 and 2020 there was a 8.6% decline in under five mortality, a 6.7% decline in infant mortality, and a 9.1% decline in neonatal mortality. Economic Times

You might remember that earlier this year we reported Hawaii has reached the milestone of having no girls in its only youth correctional facility — a first in state history. Here’s a great story from NBC on how they pulled that off, and how it could be a model for other states to follow.

Violent crime continues to fall in the United States. Between 2012 and 2021, the rate of violent victimization (sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault) declined from 26.1 to 16.5 incidents per 1,000 people. Wouldn’t it be nice if this data from Department of Justice appeared in any news outlet other than this one?

Five years after #MeToo went viral, seven in ten adults in the United States say that people who commit sexual harassment in the workplace are now more likely to be held responsible for their actions, and about six in ten say that those who report harassment or assault at work are more likely to be believed. Pew

India’s Supreme Court has upheld the right of a woman to an abortion up to 24 weeks into pregnancy regardless of marital status, a decision widely hailed by women’s rights activists. This overturns a law dating from 1971, which limited the procedure to married women, divorcees, widows, minors, ‘disabled and mentally ill women’ and survivors of sexual assault or rape. Reuters

The world’s biggest trial of a four day work week, involving 70 firms giving 3,300 employees full pay for 80% of their normal hours, just reached its halfway point. 46% of firms say overall productivity has actually improved, and more than eight in ten say it’s working so well they’re going to keep on going once the trial ends. Gizmodo

Cubans have overwhelmingly approved gay marriage and adoption in a government-backed referendum that also boosts rights for women. 66.9% of voters said yes to a new family code that legalizes same-sex marriage and civil unions, allows same-sex couples to adopt children, and promotes equal sharing of domestic rights and responsibilities between men and women. Reuters

Impossible. Until it’s done.

Poland has welcomed over two million Ukrainian refugees with open arms. Private citizens have spent $2.1 billion on aid, the government has spent $3.4 billion, and 1.2 million Ukrainians have been granted access to health care, education, and social benefits. Attitudes are changing too. 80% of the population now supports taking in refugees fleeing violence and war, up from 49% in 2018. Bloomberg

The Dominican Republic has passed legislation enshrining the rights of domestic workers. They will now have access to minimum wage, defined working hours, insurance coverage, workplace injury protection, survival and disability benefits and inclusion in state pension programs. Latina Republic

The road has been long and the journey arduous, but thanks to the will of the sectors involved, today we can say that the Dominican Republic is a country with more social justice, a country in which all workers are recognized with all their rights.
Luis Miguel De Camps García, Minister of Labor, Dominican Republic

We’re amazed at the bravery of the protestors in Iran at the moment. Have you heard Baraye yet? It’s the anthem of the movement, a song that reached 40 million views in two days before being taken down by the authorities. Do yourself a favour and listen to the music and lyrics.

The only home we’ve ever known

“No new extinctions.” Australia has unveiled an ambitious ten-year recovery plan for threatened species, including the prevention of any new native animal or plant extinctions. The government has pledged $224.5 million towards the project, and committed to conserving 30% of the continent’s land mass. Australian Geographic

Spain has become the first country in Europe to give personhood status to an environmental entity - legally recognising the rights of the Mar Menor lagoon to exist as an ecosystem and evolve naturally. More than 600,000 citizens backed the initiative after the lagoon suffered massive degradation from coastal development and local farming. Euro News

If you’re looking for a definition of ‘regenerative’ how about this? As America’s coal industry recedes, it’s leaving behind barren, acidified sites across Appalachia. Chestnut seedlings however, thrive in those soils, and conservationists are now planting tens of thousands of them on former mines across the region. NYT

Did you know last year’s infrastructure bill, passed by the US government, contains more than $55 billion in funding for water projects? The first tranche of funding, totalling $7.4 billion, went out at the end of last year, and now another tranche of $1.3 billion has been awarded to 18 states. ENR

After seven years of lobbying, 661,416 hectares of wetland in Argentina has been declared as a new protected area, the Ansenuza National Park. It’s the largest wetland in South America and a crucial ecosystem for 66% of all migratory and shorebird species, including three species of flamingos. WHSRN

The Mar Chiquita wetland is one of the largest saline wetlands in the world, and includes a great diversity of habitats: the vast saline water lagoon, permanent and seasonal freshwater rivers and lagoons, muddy beaches, shrub and cactus thickets, dry Chaco-type forests and extensive flooded grasslands and savannas. Photo: Marcela Castellino

Multiple Indigenous nations across Canada are declaring protected areas based on their own sovereignty. The idea took off in 2018, following the publication of a report showing Indigenous-led conservation could help Canada reach its commitments on climate change and conservation. Half a million square kilometres of protected areas across the country have now been proposed. Narwhal

Europe has closed 87 sensitives zones to bottom trawling in the Atlantic, putting 16,419 km2 of waters below 400 metres off limits. This comes after a ban four years ago on bottom trawling below 800 metres, providing further protection for vulnerable marine ecosystems such as cold water reefs, sea mounts and sea pens. EC

New fishing regulations will ban bottom trawling in Kattegatt, a 30,000 km² sea area between Sweden & Denmark, which is home to porpoises and endangered Swedish shark species. Conservation groups have fought for the measures for over a decade and the new regulations are now the strongest in Europe. Greenpeace

As of Tuesday this week, plastic shopping bags are not allowed in Montreal. The regulations apply to all retail businesses and restaurants, the first of a series of moves designed to make Canada’s second largest city zero waste by 2030. Next thing to go is single use plastic in restaurants, starting in March 2023. TVA Nouvelles

Paris is winning its war on cars. Since 1990, the proportion of car journeys has dropped by 45%, public transport use has risen by 30%, and cycling has increased tenfold. Next up: a new citywide speed limit of 30 km/h, car-free zones outside schools, and ‘peaceful zones,’ that make it illegal to drive through the city centre without stopping. RTBC

Poaching is less of a threat to sea turtles than it used to be, with a new analysis showing illegal poaching has dropped sharply around the world in the last decade. The numbers are reflected in anecdotal reports from conservationists too. In Lousiana, for example, hatchlings have been spotted on the uninhabited Chandeleur Islands for the first time in over 75 years. PBS

Conservationists are celebrating the recovery of the snail darter, a small freshwater fish native to the Tennessee river. In the 1970s, the fish became the focus of a Supreme Court ruling and an act of Congress when a proposed dam threatened its extinction. It was transplanted to the Hiwassee and Holston rivers and today can be found in several additional locations. Mirage

European populations of mammals and birds are bouncing back following decades of successful conservation initiatives. Most of the 50 species tracked for a new report, including bison, lynx, wolves, beavers and bears, are increasing in numbers and spreading to new areas across the continent. “It shows that, if you take measures, wild animals can recover.” Bloomberg

New animal welfare legislation in New Zealand will ban live animal exports by sea from April 2023. Although the country only exports animals for breeding, not slaughter, its remoteness means animals are at sea for extended periods, heightening welfare-associated risks. Guardian

After been hunted to extinction 400 years ago, Eurasian beavers have been declared a protected species in England, making it illegal to capture, kill, injure, or disturb them. Wildlife organisation have praised the move, saying beavers’ dams help keep water clean and prevent flooding and drought. BBC


Saving the world is cheaper than ruining it

The fight against climate change is going to change more in the next four years than it has in the past 40. The great story of our lives is just beginning
~ Robinson Meyer

Two great pieces this week, from two of our favourite analysts. The first is from Michael Liebreich, on how Putin has set in motion forces that will accelerate the end of the fossil fuel era on which his imperial ambitions were built, and the second is from Robinson Meyer, on why the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act is going to be bigger than anyone thinks.

Based on the headlines, you’d expect the global energy crisis to have caused an increase in coal and gas in 2022. Except that’s not what happened, at least in the electricity sector. In the first half of 2022, renewables and hydro met all of the growth in global electricity demand, preventing a 4% increase in fossil generation, avoiding $40 billion in fuel costs, and avoiding 230 Mt of CO2.

It’s worth drilling down on the numbers for the world’s four biggest emitters. In China, wind and solar additions caused fossil fuel power to fall 3%, rather than rise by 1%. In India, they slowed down the rise from 12% to 9%, and in the United States, from 7% down to 1%. In Europe, they prevented a major carbon bomb; without wind and solar, fossil fuel generation would have risen by 16% instead of 6%.

Why are we reporting this for the second time in a row? Because meeting additional global demand with clean electricity is the first step to stopping growth in fossil fuels. Only once we achieve that can we begin phasing dirty energy down. Huge, huge milestone for the global clean energy transition. Ember

What if the the US Senate passed an international climate treaty so powerful it could avert nearly 1°F of global warming, and nobody noticed? That’s pretty much what happened last week. Fortunately, Robinson Meyer has it covered over at the Atlantic.

Utility scale solar is now a third cheaper than fossil gas in the United States, “presenting a deflationary opportunity for electric supply costs” (hello Inflation Reduction Act). That’s why there is now a mind-bending amount of solar in the country’s interconnection queues, 674 GW to be precise, 284 GW of which includes batteries. Bloomberg

A recent report from the IEA says that to meet global climate goals, the world needs to mobilize $90 billion in public funding for commercial-scale demonstration projects by 2026. Never going to happen right? Except it already has. Last week, 16 countries delivered $94 billion in funding, exceeding and achieving the goal four years early. Department of Energy

Loy Yang, Australia’s most polluting power plant, is going to be shut ten years earlier than planned. Fantastic news! The giant brown coal station generates about 30% of the state of Victoria’s power every year, and emits twice the amount of CO₂ as every gas power generator in the national electricity marker combined. SMH

It’s been a good few weeks for the clean energy transition in Australia. Victoria announced a target of 6.3 GW of storage by 2035, enough to power half the state’s homes at peak energy use, and Queensland, the heartland of Australia’s coal industry, announced a plan to get 80% of its energy from renewables by 2035.

It’s been a good few weeks for the energy transition in Germany. The country’s largest coal power company, RWE, which owns more than a quarter of the remaining coal fleet, is bringing forward its phaseout date by eight years to 2030, and the largest coal miner, LEAG, is investing €10 billion to turn 33,000 hectares of its mining assets into Germany’s largest green energy hub.

Portugal has raised its debut offshore wind power auction target to 10 GW, more than three times the target at the start of 2022. That kind of capacity should be able to produce around 45 TWh a year, equivalent to 90% of the country’s 2021 national electricity consumption. In a single auction. Reuters

Beginning in April 2025, Tokyo the largest city in the world, will require all newly constructed homes to have solar panels. The regulation will make it the first prefecture in Japan to have such a requirement, and will affect a hefty percentage of all new buildings. ZME

In 2020, electric vehicles accounted for 5% of all new car sales in China. In 2021, the proportion had shot up to 13%, blowing every forecast out of the water. For 2022, electric cars are on track to hit more than the a quarter of all car sales. “We have reached a point where we’re competing on price, we’re competing on features. It’s not a subsidy thing. The market is taking over.” Exponential View

In Germany, electric cars aren’t the future. They’re the present. Plugin vehicles hit 28% market share in August, and Tesla isn’t even in the top five brands by overall sales. The most registered passenger electric car in Germany so far this year? The Fiat 500 electric. Clean Technica

Can Europe decarbonize its heavy industry? The answer, increasingly, seems to be yes, thanks to tougher emissions targets, rising carbon prices, changing consumer demand and most importantly, low carbon technologies coming of age. More than 70 projects across the continent are now commercialising decarbonization in basic-materials industries. Economist

Ford’s electric vehicle sales tripled in September, driving an increase of 16% in overall deliveries in the latest quarter. The company’s increased the price of the electric F-15o twice in the last month. Also, responding to ‘overwhelming demand,’ the EPA is nearly doubling the money available to states to buy electric models of the iconic yellow school buses that millions of children ride every day.

New York is following in California’s footsteps with a new regulation that requires all new passenger cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs to be zero emissions by 2035. Oh, and electric vehicle charging sites now outnumber petrol stations in Manhattan by ten to one, and are fast approaching parity across all five boroughs. Autoblog

Another week, another electric plane. Or how about two? Swedish company Heart Aerospace has unveiled its ES-30, a regional hybrid-electric plane with a capacity of 30 passengers, and in Washington, US startup Eviation has completed the first test flight of its nine passenger prototype. “It’s an opportunity to build the future of aviation. It’s revolutionary.”

Impossible. Until it’s done.

That’s it for this edition, thanks for reading. We’ll see you in a fortnight.

Much love,


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