All the good news about climate

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In climate news today...

Leslie Kaufman's Climate Report

This week will bring something new from the team behind Bloomberg Green. Those of you who've been receiving our daily newsletters will be among the first to see this special project, which features deep reporting on the present and future of plastics, the frontiers of wind power, corporate attempts to protect a rainforest, and lots of other fascinating stuff. Watch this space for more.

In putting together a new publication on climate change—a topic that lends itself to foreboding indicators—it might have been easy to overlook signs of progress. So as part of our new project, we decided to round up clear instances of good news from the past few months. Here's a small preview of what's to come. 

Barclays Shareholders Say "Yea" to Climate

By an overwhelming 99.9%, the U.K. bank's shareholders approved a plan to reduce its Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions to net zero by 2050. The vote in May marked the first climate change resolution at a European bank and demonstrates how addressing lenders' contribution to global warming has become a top priority for investors.

Corporate Clean Energy Keeps Setting Records

Power purchase agreements for clean energy rose more than 40% in 2019, smashing a record set the previous year, according to BloombergNEF. Those contracts represent more than 10% of all renewable energy capacity added globally last year. Expect another record this year, too.

Rural Coal Loyalists Ditch Coal

Great River Energy, a nonprofit that provides power to rural collectives, announced in May that it will close the largest coal-fired plant in North Dakota and fill the gap with less expensive renewables. Rural cooperatives serve only 12% of the nation's customers, but they use a disproportionate amount of coal, and Great River may be a bellwether for this corner of the industry.

Plasma-Powered Airplanes Take Flight

Chinese scientists said in May that they'd developed a prototype that generates as much thrust as a conventional engine but uses only compressed gas and electricity. Unlike the plasma thrusters on spacecraft, which rely on xenon, argon, or hydrogen, this one can work with the air around us.

A Net-Zero Supermarket Plan

The British supermarket chain Sainsbury's will spend $1.3 billion over the next 20 years on an emission-reduction project that will slash plastic waste in half by 2025, reduce food waste, and lower its water use. Much of the emissions cuts will come from electrifying its vehicle fleet and using low-carbon fuels. What it can't cut, such as air travel emissions, it'll offset by planting 1.5 million trees by 2025.

BP Will Zero Out Emissions by 2050

Not just its own carbon emissions. A few months before it got one-upped by its Dutch rival, the British oil behemoth vowed to offset emissions from customers burning its fuels, making it the first supermajor to do so.

Heavy Hitters Swing for Clean Stimulus

A group of 150 companies worth more than $2 trillion came out together in May calling for an economic recovery "grounded in bold climate action." One key argument: The sooner we act to stop climate change, the cheaper that action will be.

With Fleets Tied Up, Fish Come Back

Plummeting demand for seafood as a result of the coronavirus is likely to create an effect similar to the halt of commercial fishing during both world wars: thriving fish stocks. Researchers began recording anecdotal increases in the presence of fish-snarfing mammals such as killer whales, dolphins, and seals in spots where they hadn't been seen in decades, indicating that their favorite foods were present and available.

Milan Is Saying Arrivederci to Cars

One of Europe's most congested cities saw air pollution drop as much as 75% during the Covid-19 pandemic. In part as a health measure, officials in Milan wanted to find a way to maintain cleaner air when the lockdown ended. Now they plan to convert 22 miles of streets into cycling and walking lanes by summer.

Renewables Only Winners of Energy Crash

While oil, coal, natural gas, and even nuclear use will decline during the pandemic, renewable energy will be a bright spot, according to the International Energy Agency's 2020 Global Energy Review released in April. With a boost from fiscal stimulus, low-carbon energy sources may be responsible for as much as 40% of global electricity generation this year.

Orbiting Satellites Are Virus-Free

Satellites operated by NASA and the European Space Agency gather millions of critical data points that feed scientific climate models—that's how we know things like how fast sea ice is melting and forests are disappearing. While some Earth-bound research missions have been put in jeopardy by the virus threat, these satellites have kept right on orbiting as researchers look on from home.

Leslie Kaufman writes the Climate Report newsletter about the impact of global warming.

Here's what else you need to know in Green

Plastic Is the Hero of Coronavirus, Says the Plastics Industry

Lobbying groups have seized the opportunity to push back against single-use bans.

This Plastic Mega-Factory Is a $10 Billion Bet on a Single-Use Future

A world leader in virgin resins comes to Louisiana's Cancer Alley with an unlimited vision for its products.

Dune Road Is Falling Into the Sea—Unless the Billionaires Can Save It
The 13.9-mile-long sand barrier is the geographical beginning of the Hamptons, the playground of America's financiers and celebrities.
BlackRock's Green Dreams Got Complicated Fast

The world's largest asset manager is juggling environmental promises and the Fed's virus crisis response.

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