Good Climate News

Good Climate News this Week: Investments to Reduce Methane Pollution, Funding for Climate Resilient Renovations, a Historic Climate Settlement in Hawai’i and More!

Jun 28, 2024

Every week, we round up five of the best good climate news stories we’re celebrating. This week we cover investments to reduce methane emissions, funding for climate resilient and energy efficient renovations, a historic climate settlement in Hawai’i, a ban on the sale of products using PFAS in Colorado, and a copper recycling commitment.

1. Biden-Harris administration to invest $850 million to cut methane pollution

Closeup of the fire from a methane flare. Credit: Clean Air Task Force, Flickr

The Department of Energy and EPA will receive $850 million for projects to track and address methane leaks from existing oil and gas infrastructure and leak prone equipment such as ​​engines and compressors.

Additionally, funding will go toward improving methane-leak monitoring in communities near oil and gas facilities, which are typically communities of color and communities with low-wealth.

This investment comes from President Biden’s affordable clean energy plan, and the projects it funds will help us reach our national climate goals by reducing methane pollution in the atmosphere, which is over 80 times more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide.

Source: Energywire

2. Biden-Harris administration announces funding for climate resilient, energy efficient renovations

A person installing insulation in the walls of a home. Credit: RachelW1, Wikimedia Commons

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced it will invest an additional $142 million in the Green and Resilient Retrofit program to fund climate resilient and energy efficient renovation projects for over 2,200 low-income households. To date, the program has awarded more than $754 million in grants and loans to 169 properties and over 16,400 rental homes.

These investments will help improve quality of life for low-income households by making their homes more resilient to the impacts of the climate crisis, such as extreme heat, and by improving indoor air quality. They will also help to advance President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative by bringing investment to communities that have experienced underinvestment and over-pollution.

Source: Department of Housing and Urban Development 

3. Hawai’i youth activists win historic climate settlement

Solar panel array on Mt. Koke’e in Hawai’i. Credit: Defense Visual Information Distribution Service, NARA archive

Thirteen young climate activists, most of whom are Indigenous, reached a historic settlement with the Hawai’i Department of Transportation. Under the settlement, the department has to release a roadmap outlining how they will fully decarbonize Hawai’i’s transportation sector and reach zero emissions by 2045.

The activists, whose ages ranged between 9 and 18 at the time of the case’s filing in June 2022,  argued that Hawai’i’s pro-fossil fuel transportation policies and the resulting “untenable levels of greenhouse gas emissions” were a violation of their state constitutional rights. They criticized the state’s transportation department for pursuing projects like highway expansion instead of prioritizing efforts to electrify transit or promote walking and biking. The activists claimed that the states had accelerated the “decline and disappearance of Hawai’i’s natural and cultural heritage.” This settlement marks a big step forward in advancing Hawai’i’s climate change agenda.

Source: The Guardian

4. Colorado will ban the sale of everyday products with PFAS

Closeup of plastic water bottles piled up. Credit: Steven Depolo, Wikimedia Commons

A law banning the sale of certain everyday products containing PFAS will come into effect in Colorado beginning July 1. Unless they can be made safer, Colorado will ban the sale of products such as clothes, cookware, menstruation products, dental floss and ski wax that contain the toxic ‘forever chemicals’ starting in 2026. PFAS are said to increase cancer risks, developmental delays, and lower fertility rates, and some recent studies have linked them to erectile dysfunction. PFAS are also known to be toxic to animals, and are highly present in the environment.

The new law expands on previous legislation which required companies to phase out PFAS in carpets, furniture, cosmetics, juvenile products, some food packaging and those used in oil and gas production.

Products containing PFAS will be prohibited through 2026, and by 2028, Colorado will also ban the sale of PFAS-treated clothes, backpacks, and waterproof outdoor apparel, further protecting consumers and the environment from these toxic substances.

Source: The Guardian, EPA

5. Copper manufacturers opt to recycle more as demand for the metal increases

Copper wire on spools in a manufacturing plant. Credit: PXHere

Copper manufacturers are implementing efforts to increase reuse and recycling of the metal , as demand for it is expected to nearly double by 2035. This surge in demand can be partially attributed to the mass transition from fossil fuels to clean electricity, which requires more copper.

Copper is ideal for reuse as the performance and value of recycled copper is identical to new copper. And, recycling copper benefits the environment by lowering the risk of erosion, soil and water contamination, threats to local biodiversity, and air pollution that come with extensive mining. For every ton of copper recycled, about 200 tons of rock won’t need to be mined.

Source: AP

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