Good Climate News

Good Climate News this Week: Clean School Buses, an Expanded Environmental Justice Council, Clean Energy Rebates, and More!

May 31, 2024

Every week, we round up five of the best good climate news stories we’re celebrating. This week we cover clean school buses, the Biden-Harris administration’s expanded environmental justice advisory council, New York becoming the first state to deploy federal clean energy home rebates, California’s plan to boost transmission and wind power, and a ruling from the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. 

1. EPA invests $875 million in clean school buses

The first all-electric school bus in the state of California pausing outside. Credit: Theurv, Wikimedia Commons

The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $875 million to over 530 school districts to purchase a total of 3,400 clean school buses. The selected school districts are located in 47 states, D.C., and several Tribes and U.S. territories. The awards come from EPA’s Clean School Bus Rebate Program, which has awarded nearly $3 billion to replace diesel school buses to date.

About two thirds of the funding from this round of investment will go toward purchasing clean school buses in low-income, rural and tribal communities, advancing President Biden’s Justice40 initiative.

The new buses, 92% of which are electric, will replace older, polluting diesel models, making the air safer and healthier for children riding school buses.

Read LCV and Chispa’s statements on the announcement.

Source: EPA, Politico, Energywire

2. Biden-Harris administration expands Environmental Justice Advisory Council

A view of the White House facade with a fountain in the foreground. Credit: AgnosticPreachersKid, Wikimedia Commons

The Biden-Harris administration announced it will expand the prestigious White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council to include 12 more members.

The group now has nearly 40 advisors, including Tribal leaders, healthcare professionals, and environmental justice advocates from across the country. The new members bring “a wealth of experience and expertise” to the council, according to Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chair Brenda Mallory.

The council, created by President Biden via an executive order, advises the administration on how to best serve frontline communities that have been historically overburdened by pollution.

Source: Climatewire

3. New York becomes first state to deploy clean energy home rebates from Inflation Reduction Act 

An HVAC technician installing a heat pump at a home. Credit: Phyxter Home Services, Flickr

New York has officially become the first state to offer consumers federal rebates for energy-efficient home retrofit projects and appliances like heat pumps.

This is an important milestone for the President’s $8.8 billion home energy rebate program which aims to make homes more energy efficient to reduce energy consumption and costs. To date, 17 states have applied for federal funding from the Energy Department to establish rebate programs. The program’s launch in New York is an important step forward in getting benefits from the President’s affordable clean energy plan into the hands of consumers.

Source: Bloomberg Law

4. California approves plan to boost transmission, wind power

Area in California with endless wind turbines. Credit: Erik Wilde, Wikimedia Commons

California’s energy grid managers approved a transmission plan that would add 85,000 megawatts (MW) of clean energy capacity to the state’s grid by 2035. The board also approved an application to connect the grid to the SunZia transmission line carrying clean energy from New Mexico.

Projects recommended by the approved transmission plan would generate more than 38,000 MW of solar power, over 2,000 MW of geothermal power, and nearly 8,000 MW of in-state and offshore wind power. They would also connect California’s grid to wind power from New Mexico, Idaho, Wyoming, and Arizona, helping the state reach its goal of 100% clean energy by 2045.

Source: E&E

5. Maritime court rules countries must reduce greenhouse gas emissions

A ship in the port of Mumbai emitting black pollution smoke. Credit: Cyprien Hauser, Flickr

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) has ruled that the 169 signers of a United Nations treaty on maritime law are obligated to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

The unanimous ruling states that parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea – which includes major emitters such as the EU, China, and Russia –must reduce emissions that contribute to maritime pollution. The opinion makes clear that simply complying with the Paris Agreement isn’t enough, and countries must “take all measures necessary” to ensure their carbon emissions don’t cause harm to other nations.

The ruling comes from a case brought before the ITLOS by island nations in the Pacific, Caribbean, and West Indies that have experienced extreme weather and other severe impacts of climate change, such being forced to relocate from their homelands, despite contributing very little to global carbon emissions.

Source: Grist

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