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Last Week's Top Environmental Good News Nuggets

Synopsis of last week's most important good news stories about the environment.

Planet Earth
Celebrating the global good news!

Saving The World: This is probably the most important climate news of the year - and there's still nobody reporting on it. China's solar additions in the first quarter of 2024 are up 37 percent compared to the first quarter of 2023, and wind installations are up by around 50 percent. That puts China well ahead of its record pace last year, notes Lauri Myllyvirta, senior fellow at Asia Society Policy Institute. If this pace continues, global emissions will fall this year.

New Discovery: Researchers at MIT have discovered that light, not just heat, can cause water to evaporate. The astonishing new discovery, named the photomolecular effect, could revolutionize our understanding of water evaporation and lead to new applications in clean energy production and water desalination.

Clothes Shwopping: Marks & Spencer, the UK’s largest clothing retailer is - for the first time - asking the public to donate their unwanted clothing, through the trial of a free postal donation service, in partnership with Oxfam. According to their research, UK homes contain an estimated 1.6 billion items of unworn clothing, which could be re-used or recycled.

Global Tiger Conservation: A conservation conference in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan concluded on a high note, marking a historic moment for global conservation efforts. The Tiger Conservation Coalition will invest $1 billion to conserve tigers and tiger landscapes over the next ten years.

Huge Win in Australia: A Queensland cattle station the size of Yosemite National Park has been acquired for conservation after an anonymous donation. The 352,000 hectare (1,400 square miles) property contains 34 ecosystems.

Mongolian yurt
Mongolian yurt in grassland

Eternal Mongolia: Mongolia’s government and a coalition of partners signed a pioneering $200 million nature financing deal, marking a watershed moment in environmental protection. This historic agreement seeks to protect 35.6 million acres of the country’s pristine lands and rivers, including the world’s last vast swath of temperate grassland.

UK Breaks Record: For the first quarter of 2024, electricity generation from wind power sources exceeded the amount of electricity generated by fossil fuel sources in the UK. According to data from Ember, a not-for-profit energy think-tank, electricity generation from wind energy sources provided 39 percent of total electricity generation, in the first three months of 2024, compared to 36 percent from fossil fuel sources.

Landmark Victory: Residents of La Oroya, Peru, have won a landmark victory from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which has ruled that Peru was responsible for the physical and mental harm that a metallurgical facility’s pollution inflicted on 80 people, stating that citizens had a 'right to a healthy environment'. The court, based in Costa Rica, ordered the government of Peru to provide free medical care to the victims and to compensate each individual upwards of $30,000 each and representatives of the deceased victims will receive $65,000 each.

EU Packaging Waste: In a historic attempt to address the growing problem of packaging waste, the European Parliament has approved a comprehensive set of legislation aimed at reducing environmental damage and supporting sustainable practices. The EU aims to stimulate good change and foster a more environmentally conscious society by establishing ambitious goals and enforcing strict laws.

Plug In Progress: New data from the China Passenger Car Association shows that electric vehicles constituted 50.39 percent of vehicle sales over the first 14 days in April, surpassing internal combustion engine vehicles for the first time. Elsewhere, there are no signs of an electric vehicle slowdown, says the IEA, as global EV sales grew 25 percent in the first three months of this year.

Sun rising above a mountain range

Sunshine States

The Australian state of Queensland - known, like California, as the 'Sunshine State' - has passed legislation enshrining bold emissions reduction targets into law. The state aims to achieve 75 percent emissions reductions and 80 percent renewable energy generation by 2035.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Pacific, battery storage became the largest source of supply in California's grid for the first time last week - marking a significant milestone in the state's transition to clean energy. Furthermore, in on 25 April, California got 100 percent of its electricity needs through renewables, if only for short times, for the last 41 of 49 days.

Time for a Laugh?

Now that you know the latest news about the serious stuff, how about moving on to something funny? Perhaps 10 recent chuckle-worthy tweets by women or a handful of the best of the worst dad jokes.

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