Good Climate News

Good Climate News this Week: Rail Projects, Clean Cars and Buses, and More

Oct 2, 2023

Every Monday, we round up five of the best good climate news stories we’re celebrating this week. This week we’re celebrating clean transportation wins in the U.S., a landmark climate lawsuit against the EU, and green energy investments in France.

1. Biden-Harris administration to invest $1.4B in rail projects

An Acela Express train led by power car #2035 near Philadelphia, PA
Credit: Konrad Roeder

The Department of Transportation has approved $1.4 billion in infrastructure grants for rail projects across the country. Projects funded by these grants include:

  • a 171-mile high-speed rail project in the Central Valley of California
  • the restoration of Amtrak passenger rail service in the Gulf of Mexico (which was shut down in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005)
  • rail improvements in Virginia and Massachusetts
  • and investments in zero-emissions locomotives.

The investments in passenger rail will create jobs, and benefit communities by helping to cut pollution from personal transportation.

Source: Climatewire

2. EPA opens applications for the 2023 Clean School Bus Program

Two people standing in front of newly commissioned electric school bus.

The EPA has opened applications for school districts to receive funding to replace diesel engine school buses with low or no-emission models through the Clean School Bus Program.

Replacing dirty diesel buses will provide a range of health benefits for children and communities by reducing exposure to toxic emissions. This is the second year of the 5 year program, which awarded $965 million to nearly 400 schools in its inaugural year.

Source: EPA

3. Electric vehicle sales figures continue to increase

Electric vehicle charging in parking lot at Grand Canyon National Park.
Credit: Grand Canyon National Park

A new report shows that electric vehicles made up 9% of light-duty vehicle sales in the U.S. during the first half of 2023, a 58% increase from the same period in 2022.

That number is even higher in some states; In California, EVs made up 25% of light-duty vehicle sales, and nine other states showed EVs making up 10% or more of sales for the first six months of the year.

These figures signal steady growth for the EV market, a promising sign for the future of clean transportation in this country.

Source: Axios

4. Youth climate activists are suing the EU over climate inaction

Activist marching in climate protest holding sign that reads “Climate Justice = Social Justice”.
Credit: Fred Murphy

Last Wednesday, a trial began at the European Court of Human Rights in a historic case in which six Portuguese youth climate activists are suing the entire European Union, as well as the United Kingdom, Turkey, Russia and Norway, for violating their human rights by failing to take action on climate. In all, the lawsuit will take on 32 nations.

If successful, this lawsuit would be a breakthrough in climate litigation and could mean massive changes in EU policies around cutting emissions as the countries involved adjust to comply with the ruling.

Source: Euronews

5. France plans to boost green energy investments

Rows of solar panels in a field in Burgandy, France.
Credit: Ibex73

President Emmanuel Macron announced that France will introduce a law to lower power prices as a mechanism to encourage investment in green energy. The law’s aim is to keep power prices for households and businesses, which have risen along with gas prices, closer to production costs in France.

France aims to cut its emissions by over 30% by 2030, but to do so, the country needs to invest €66 billion ($71 billion) in its green energy transition by the same date. The new law will encourage investors to shift away from fossil fuels and instead put their money into green alternatives.

Source: Energywire

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