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.
Researchers from marine life advocates Oceana have discovered a surprising new world under the sea near Sicily.
Sweden's aggressive target of generating over 40 terawatt-hours of renewable energy by 2030 could be reached nearly a decade early. A massive amount of wind power projects could hit a snag in market value with subsidies, but SWEA could push to close those up by the end of the year.
Starbucks is ramping up its sustainability efforts with a plan to eradicate the use of plastic straws in its assembly line.