Good Climate News

Good Climate News this Week: Investments in the Grid, Environmental Justice, Climate Partnerships, and More!

Oct 30, 2023

Every Monday, we round up five of the best good climate news stories we’re celebrating this week. This week we’re covering investments in the grid and environmental justice, a climate partnership between the U.S. and Australia, and proposed plastic pollution legislation.

1. Department of Energy makes historic investment in grid resilience, reliability 

A field of solar panels in front of a mountain range in California.
Credit: freethesun on Flickr

The Department of Energy (DOE) has announced it will invest $3.46 billion in 58 projects across 44 states to improve the resilience and reliability of the power system.

Currently, the nation’s electric grid does not have the capacity to handle the massive influx of clean energy being generated across the country. DOE’s investment in improving our energy infrastructure aims to “modernize the electric grid to reduce impacts of natural disasters and extreme weather worsened by climate change” and will allow more renewable energy to be brought online, bringing us closer to reaching the administration’s goal of transitioning to 100% clean energy by 2035. Each of the projects funded by this investment are located in communities with Justice40 commitments.


2. Biden administration announces $128M for environmental justice

A young person holding a sign at a march that reads “Climate Justice”.
Credit: Ilias Bartolini

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced it will provide grants worth a total of $128 million for 186 environmental justice focused projects in frontline communities across the country. The grants awarded include 88 government-to-government grants, each worth $1 million, and 98 problem-solving grants, worth $500,000 each.

EPA administrator Michael Regan says the projects funded by these grants, which will help to improve the health and resilience of communities that have been historically overburdened by pollution, will also serve as “a blueprint for local solutions that can be applied across the nation.”

Source: Greenwire

3. Biden, Australian Prime Minister announce clean energy, climate partnership

President Biden talking with the Prime Minister of Australia.
Credit: U.S. Secretary of Defense

President Biden and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese unveiled new partnerships around clean energy, critical minerals and climate change last week.

This partnership will be crucial to the U.S. transition to green energy because Australia is one of the world’s top producers of lithium, a key mineral in producing batteries for electric vehicles. The collaboration between the two countries will benefit both nations economically and will help advance the Biden administration’s clean energy goals.

Source: E&E

4. North Carolina governor signs environmental justice executive order

Governor Roy Cooper delivering a speech at a podium.
Credit: NC Dept of Public Safety

Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina signed an executive order to create an environmental justice advisory council within the governor’s office. The council will serve to address environmental injustice in impacted communities across the state.

Per the executive order, the council must work with Historically Black Colleges and Universities to research the cumulative impacts of environmental injustice on frontline communities. Additionally, each cabinet agency must draft three quantifiable environmental justice goals by February 2024, at which point they will be open to a public comment period.

Source: NC Newsline

5. Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act introduced to Congress

A collection of empty plastic bottles on a beach.
Credit: Bo Eide

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA-02)  introduced updated legislation to Congress to address the country’s growing plastic pollution crisis.

If passed, the Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act will protect frontline communities from toxic emissions from the plastic industry by reducing plastic production and establishing recycling targets. The bill would also shift the burden of cleanup to producers, providing a financial incentive to end heavily polluting practices, and establish a nationwide bottle return system.

Source: Office of Sen. Jeff Merkley

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