In the month of July, the European Union (EU) leaders agreed on a seven-year post-pandemic economic recovery package of $1.23 trillion, of which, 30 percent will be committed to climate change. This follows the lead of the green stimulus announcement in the month of May 2020 by the EU president, Ursula Von Der Leyen, centred on hydrogen energy (Onset). Following suit, the South African Department of Science and Innovation, along with other stakeholders have put together a roadmap to develop hydrogen energy. Considering that the share of hydrogen energy within the renewable energy sector has been prominent over the past two decades (Onset), these commitments may further strengthen its share. In America, the state of New York took an account of the accomplishment of the climate law, one year after its enactment and at a corporate level, companies joined forces to assist the global economy reach climate neutrality by 2050.
Below, the stories that stood out in the month of July are detailed.
Europe: EU Presents $572 Billion Green Stimulus Package
After five days of negotiations, the European leaders agreed on the 21st of July 2020, on a recovery package of €1.074 trillion to remedy the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic on EU economies. The recovery support will run through to 2027 and comprises a 30 percent portion (€500 Billion) committed to climate protection and investment in green policies. Although the stimulus package has been hailed as the largest green stimulus effort to date, it has been criticised for falling short of the expectation of the required funds needed to reach climate neutrality by 2050 (Oil Price).
Genuine anger among peat contractors over lack of compensation Independent TD (Teachtaí Dála or member of parliament), Carol Nolan has expressed concern over the government’s decision to not help compensate peat contractors for any loss of investments in peat harvesting machinery, which will lead to anger and alarm. Nolan also indicated that if such decisions are the outcomes of a Just Transition, then such a transition would be of concern (AgriLand). In Scotland, on the other hand, campaigners are lobbying for the government to ban the entry of new petrol and diesel cars by 2025 (The Herald).
Africa: South African govt initiates process of developing societal hydrogen roadmap
The South African Department of Science and Innovation, together with industry stakeholders and government departments, has begun a process to develop a roadmap for a country-wide hydrogen economy (Mining Weekly). The announcement comes soon after the EU’s announcement of its economic recovery stimulus with a significant focus on hydrogen energy (Onset). The development of a local hydrogen economy can be expected to not only contribute to the much-needed electricity stability, but it can be expected to stimulate economic development and employment in the country.
Americas: One year later, what has New York’s landmark climate law accomplished?
On the 18 July 2019, the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo had signed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) into law. This meant that the state had committed itself to net-zero emissions by 2050. The accomplishments of the CLCPA, to date, include improving access to clean energy resources for low-income New Yorkers, via a grant of $10.6 million to improve the affordability of solar energy (grist). In Illinois, initiatives include a clean energy job training program which has proven to be a success, after 94 percent of the participants obtained jobs (Midwest Energy News).
Oceania: Greens energy policies; positive for working Kiwis
The president of the New Zealand Council for Trade Unions (NZCTU), Richard Wagstaff notes that working people have expressed the desire to do more to address climate change. In addition, Covid-19 presents an opportunity to do things in a new way and the policies presented by the Green Party facilitate the aforementioned opportunity (Mirage News).
Industry bodies: Energy organisations join forces to fast-track transition and create new green jobs
The Oil and Gas Technology Centre and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult have created a five-year collaboration, the Energy Transition Alliance (ETA) to help the United Kingdom transition to net zero faster. The ETA will work adjacent to the energy industry to direct funds for developing advanced technologies and hopes to also help create jobs in offshore wind by 2030. The initiative has been welcomed by politicians in Westminster (Energy Voice).
At a corporate level: Starbucks furthers commitment to sustainability goals by joining Transform to Net Zero
Following an announcement in January 2020, to be resource-positive by giving more to the planet than it takes, Starbucks has continued its sustainability commitment by joining the new Transform to Net Zero initiative as a founding member. The objective of the of the initiative is to accelerate the transition of the global economy to net zero by 2050. Companies that are part of this initiative include Nike, Mercedes-Benz and Microsoft among others (Global Coffee Report).