🌱 The Grumpy Optimists #123
Why it's more important than ever to be optimistic about the state of our planet.
Happy Monday. 👋
Welcome back to another week of your positive climate news recap. For those of you who are new, welcome to The Grumpy Optimists.
Last week, we saw news articles saying we’ve had the world’s first year-long breach of 1.5°C and a paper that says the Atlantic Ocean circulation is nearing a devastating tipping point. That shows us it’s more important than ever to be ardently optimistic about what we can still achieve to minimise the impacts of climate change. We may as well try.
With that in mind, let’s dig into this week’s positive climate news stories to get you ready for the week.
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👀 Articles to read
🔧 The EU approves new right-to-repair rules. Earlier this week, the EU agreed on a new law giving consumers more power to repair broken electronics like phones and washing machines. That means consumers can get products fixed, not just replaced, within the 2-year warranty. Companies should also offer affordable repairs for 5-10 years, even beyond the product warranty, and supply spare parts at fair prices to independent repairers, promoting competition and affordability. EU countries will incentivize repair services with vouchers, tax breaks, and a platform for locating repair shops.
🚘 Paris votes to triple parking fees for SUVs. 54.5% of Parisians voted in favour of increasing parking fees for SUVs to €18 an hour. This is a landmark vote as Paris looks to become a pedestrianised city.
🚫 Advertising ban on call EVs ‘zero emissions’ in the UK. The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned two adverts from car manufacturers MG and BMW for claiming that their electric vehicles are “Zero Emissions”. The ASA stated that EVs are not zero emissions because cars emit carbon during production and recharging. As much as it may seem counter-productive to get people to use EVs, I actually think having high standards for environmental claims is crucial and will be beneficial in the long run.
🐻❄️ Napping polar bear wins the photography award. British amateur photographer Nima Sarikhani won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award with her picture of a polar bear sleeping on an iceberg off Norway’s coast.
💰HSBC and Google Cloud partner to grow the climate tech ecosystem. The bank has partnered with the tech giant to provide financing and support to companies in the Google Cloud sustainability programme. Creating innovative products to decarbonise the global economy is one part of the jigsaw puzzle; capital to scale up a technology or company is another crucial one. This is a smart collaboration!
⚡ Biden plans to go big on carbon-free energy contracts. The Biden administration is looking to procure renewable energy that will allow government buildings across 13 Mid-Atlantic and Midwest states to use 100% carbon-free electricity by 2030. The administration wants to create further demand for renewable energy projects and the jobs that come with them.
🏦 Barclays Bank makes a big push towards decarbonisation. According to a report by Rainforest Action Network, Barclays was the world’s 7th highest funder of fossil fuels from 2016-2022 and the biggest in Europe. This has led to organisations like the University of Cambridge, amongst others, looking to drop the bank. Barclays are now making changes. They have committed to ending direct financing of new oil and gas fields and restricting lending to energy businesses that plan to expand fossil fuel production. They’ve also committed $1 trillion by 2030 to help energy companies decarbonise. This is a strong signal that the biggest investors in the world know where the world is heading to a carbon-free future.
🗑️ Heathrow introduces waste system Scrapp to help visitors get recycling right. Scrapp allows users to scan the barcode of a product to help make recycling easier. The product is fantastic and was co-founded by a friend of mine. It’s awesome to see their technology scale and help people put waste in the right bin.
⚽ Premier League clubs agree to minimum standard of environmental action. Clubs will have to develop a robust sustainability policy by the end of next season, measure their Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions by 2025/26 and designate a senior employee to lead their sustainability plans. There's so much to like about this announcement. It combines two of my favourite things, football and climate action. I’ve said it before on this blog, but I believe that sport is an incredible way to engage a group of people who might not normally interact with climate action.
🏈 The Super Bowl was powered by the sun. The 2024 Super Bowl made history as the first to be powered entirely by renewable energy from a 621,000-panel solar farm. While this is great to see, it won’t mitigate the fact that hundreds of thousands of people will be flying from around the world for a one-day event.
🤝 Climates X Memes
This episode was written after a long week and slightly longer days (it’s currently 5 pm and still light here in the UK. I could cry. That could probably be summed up by my music choice of the week, which is Warning Sign by Coldplay (not even ashamed).
In more positive and quite cool news, this Thursday is the three-year anniversary of registering my company, Zevero, on companies house; it’s crazy what a difference three years can make. Here’s to taking a leap and making cool stuff happen.
If you feel like sharing this post with a friend, colleague or enemy, you would be most appreciated and will help feed my ego. Let’s make more people climate optimists.
George, the Grumpy Optimist 💚
About me 👇
For those of you who are new. I’m George, an ardent climate optimist who’s a big fan of running long distances, eating great food and trying to help companies reduce their impact on the planet. Nearly three years ago, I co-founded Zevero, a carbon management platform to help businesses measure, reduce and report their carbon emissions, and it’s a joy to wake up every day feeling like I’m making a difference.