🌱 The Grumpy Optimists #121
Vapes are finally banned and research shows most people don't understand climate terms.
Happy Monday. 👋
Welcome back to another episode of The Grumpy Optimists, your weekly recap of positive climate news. Not much of an intro this week, folks. I’m writing this on Monday morning, and I am TIRED. This week, I’m looking at…
💭 Most people find climate terms confusing.
🚬 Disposable vapes to be banned in the UK.
💧 Could bendy rivers help reduce flooding?
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👀 Articles to read
🚭 Vapes to be banned in the UK. Disposable vapes are set to be banned in the UK, with an announcement expected on Monday, the 29th of January. It's about time. In the UK in 2023, over 7 million, yes million, were disposed of every week. That works out to the same amount of lithium for over 5,000 electric vehicle batteries yearly.
💭 Why it matters. Vapes are very rarely recycled; they cause fires in bin lorries, and the stickers you take off before using them cover nearly every bin outside of an off-license across the UK.
While there are some concerns about people quitting vaping to smoke instead, the fact that seven per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds who have never smoked are now vaping and that 20% of children have tried vaping shows the importance of stopping the sale of disposable vapes. Good riddance!
🐖 UK pig production plummets to a five-year low. Pig meat production has fallen by 11% to a five-year low. This could be a signal of the change in consumption patterns as more people in the UK look to cut their meat consumption. The fewer animals we slaughter a year, the better.
🤷🏻♂️ People find climate terms difficult to understand. According to new research, only 1/4 of people in the UK understand climate terms like sustainability or net zero. This is probably not a surprise for those of us working in climate space, but it shows that if we want more of the population to engage in climate action, we must communicate it better. However, the optimistic point is that despite the confusion, 90% of consumers consider it important for businesses to take climate action.
🇪🇺 EU fossil fuel emissions hit 60-year low. The EU released 8% less carbon dioxide from burnt fossil fuels in 2023 compared to 2022. More than half the drop in emissions came from the use of cleaner electricity, with a fall in demand also contributing. It’s a great step, but this is what the minimum expectation should be to reach 2030 targets. We need to expect record reductions as we deal with record heat.
🐄 UK supermarket pilots paying farmers for lower carbon beef. The Co-op supermarket is partnering with Dunbia to incentivise its beef supplier to adopt more sustainable practices. The pilot will offer farmers resources and rewards based on reducing their climate impact. I agree with the idea, but I do always think it’s important to show the impact of beef compared with other food types. Even a 10% reduction in emissions will likely make a small impact.
🛢️ Norwegian government sued over oil projects. Greenpeace and Nature and Youth successfully sued the Ministry of Energy over permits for three oil projects, leading to the Oslo District Court declaring the permits invalid. The case was based on the fact that the government did not investigate the consequences of oil and gas projects before giving them permission. It’s another victory for climate legislation, a theme that will continue across 2024.
🚗 Fact-checking electric vehicle myths. There are some really interesting myths that are debunked in this article, such as ‘it’s better to use an old banger than get an EV’.
💧 Could bendy rivers help reduce flooding? A whopping 97% of rivers in the UK have had their course changed, but could rewinding our rivers help reduce the risk of flooding? When rivers become constrained into a straight line, the water flows through them too quickly, bypassing floodplains. It’s not just a good way to stop flooding, 'rewiggling’ can also help bring fish numbers back. While making rivers bendy won’t always stop flooding, it’s a great way to reduce the risks, especially as extreme weather becomes more prominent.
🇨🇳 Clean energy was the key driver of China’s economic growth in 2023. Clean energy accounted for 9% of China’s GDP in 2023 and was the largest driver of growth, accounting for 40%. That’s a powerful trend for the second-largest economy in the world.
🤝 Climates X Memes
This week’s episode was written after a rather long day of running on Saturday, followed by lots of food, probably not enough sleep and a nap that makes you wake up questioning where you are and what planet you’re on. I’ve also been overplaying Palace’s new song, so I’m looking forward to hating it in 6 days’ time.
Head into the week knowing you can make a difference.
George, the Grumpy Optimist 💚