This week we learnt Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, intends to give USD$10 billion to help fight climate change, Delta Airlines unveils its plans to be the first airline to go completely carbon-neutral, sustainability stole the runway at London Fashion Week, France has to chopper in snow to cover its naked mountains, and Vietnam finally starts to deliver on sustainable energy solutions.
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1. Bezos commits billions to fight climate change
Amazon CEO Bezos announced his plans to become the single largest philanthropic donor towards climate change. The announcement came via his personal Instagram page, stating: “This global initiative will fund scientists, activists, NGOs – any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world”. It’s a significant donation that serves to highlight just how much we actually need to spend to slash emissions and meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of halting global warming. Morgan Stanley analysts recently reported that the world needs to spend $US50 trillion by 2050 to hit targets. Yikes.
“Earth is the one thing we all have in common – let’s protect it, together”: Jeff Bezos. Love or loathe Amazon, this is a welcome commitment. (Click here to read all about Bezos, billionaires, the ethics of Amazon, and capitalism.)
2. Delta to become first carbon-neutral global airline
The aviation industry accounts for approximately 2% of global carbon emissions. And flight shaming is increasingly becoming a ‘thing’. So hats off to Delta who are the first airline to draw a line in the sand and call themselves out. Starting on 1 March 2020, Delta is committing $US1 billion over the next 10 years to become carbon-neutral. It aims to “mitigate all emissions from its global business going forward”. When announcing the scheme, it pledged to invest in “driving innovation, advancing clean air travel technologies, accelerating the reduction of carbon emissions and waste, and establishing new projects to mitigate the balance of emissions.” At last, it seems at least one airline is doing something more than merely offsetting.
Watch this space, and read more here.
3. Sustainability top of the agenda at London Fashion Week
Fashion is one of the world’s most polluting industries. No surprises then, that Extinction Rebellion chose to stage a ‘die-in’ before the first models even took to the catwalk. And then called for the September edition to be cancelled. While the industry undoubtedly has a long way to go, the undercurrent of change at LFW 2020 was tangible. For the first time, a huge clothes swapping event took centre stage. Big brands went circular, most notably with the launch of The Mulberry Exchange; an initiative to collect and repurpose vintage handbags. Designers like Ashley Williams turned to old samples and scraps to create new collections. And fashion editors at Vogue, Elle, and other sartorial bibles started talking from a new sustainable script, slamming the fast-fashion industry.
But let’s not get too excited, fast-fashion shows scant sign of slowing and greenwashing is still rife.
4. France choppers in snow for skiers
Milder weather in the Pyrenees mountains, and in particular the French resort of Luchon-Superbagnères, has left mountains naked. There’s no snow! In order to keep the mountain open, the local council arranged for 50 tonnes of snow to be helicoptered in from higher peaks and dumped on the lower-lying slopes. Meteorologists are linking the mild weather and lack of the white stuff to climate change. Quelle surprise.
Other ski resorts in the Pyrenees region have temporarily closed mid-season and face an uncertain future. Is this the beginning of the end of skiing in certain regions?
5. Vietnam embraces solar energy
In just two years Vietnam has switched from almost zero solar power (in 2018) to building the biggest solar generator in Southeast Asia, with an estimated solar capacity of 5.5 gigawatts. By offering generous incentives to investors who built solar plants quickly, Vietnam was able to make s**t happen. And fast. But it’s not all roses. Vietnam still heavily relies on coal to power the nation, and new coal-fired power plants are still being built.
This Reuters report explores Vietnam’s insatiable appetite for energy further.
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