New Zealand got its first liberal Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, after nearly a decade under conservative rule. Ardern was sworn in last week, and she is already making fast moves to confront climate change.
“I don’t need to be influenced on climate change,” she said. “It will sit at the heart of what this government does.”
Overall, Ardern’s plan for New Zealand is to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by the year 2050. To reach this goal, she plans to transition the country's power grid to 100 percent renewable energy, invest in regional train systems, and plant 100 million trees a year through the "Billion Trees Planting Program," among other things.
The seemingly ambitious plan to double the amount of trees planted every year is “absolutely achievable,” according to Ardern. She plans to use land not suitable for farming animals.
While the tree plan will require planting some 27,000 trees a day, some of Ardern's green targets will require only incremental changes. New Zealand already generates about 85 percent of its electricity from renewable sources including hydroelectric, geothermal and wind. Ardern plans to increase that to 100 percent by 2035, in part by putting solar panels on top of schools.
An Amsterdam design studio has been able to create public benches from 110 pounds of plastic waste. Grounded-up material is turned into a twisting bench that can fit 2-4 people, has the ability to rock, and is fully customizable.
An Arizona startup has created Source, a hydropanel system that's able to extract water from the air. It's able to convert what's acquired into fresh, drinkable water in a wide variety of climates, making it a great alternative source in rural areas.
Electric vehicles with battery power are getting most of the attention, but hydrogen fuel cells are catching up. One car manufacturer in Wales spent 15 years developing a lightweight version with comparable range and fueling speed to ICEs.
Microsoft is joining the likes of other major tech corporations and have made a pledge to cut three-fourths of their carbon emissions by 2030. They'll accomplish this feat by pursuing more renewable energy sources and working further with cloud technology.