15th December, 2017
2016 hasn't been the easiest year. But there have been some glimmers of hope as people, communities and even whole countries have come together to do their bit in the fight against climate change. The transition to the low carbon world, and the people making it happen, are proving that they are unstoppable. Here's some good news stories from the last year:
Renewables are Powering Countries
From 7th - 10th May, Portugal was entirely powered by wind, solar and hydro. Portgual regularly gets about 70% of its power from renewables, but this 107 hour stretch is a record. That same week on Sunday, Germany was almost totally powered by renewables too. Then, come a windy weekend in the autumn, it was Scotland's turn to be completely powered by wind turbines - they even had a little bit left over!
The UK Used More Solar Power Than Coal This Summer
This April, for the first time ever, solar produced more power than coal for a whole weekend here in the UK. Then in May, solar produced more power than coal over a whole week... then a month! Finally, in September, solar hit six months as reigning champ! Go solar!
We're Getting Serious About Food
7.1M tonnes of food is wasted every year in France. They've got new laws to tackle it though - now supermarkets must give unsold food to charities or food banks, and restaurants must provide diners with 'le doggy bag' so they can take their food home. Meanwhile, in China, the government released new diet guidelines suggesting cutting down on meat which could reduce consumption by 50%. They hope that'll mean a healthier population, and it'll cut a whopping 1bn tonnes of carbon by 2030.
Electric Cars are on the Rise
Just ten years ago there were a few hundred electric vehicles driving around Planet Earth. In 2015, we hit a million electric cars worldwide. That's triple the number we had in 2013! In Norway, almost one third of cars on the road are electric, and they're planning to ban the sale of petrol cars completely by 2025. In Scotland, the number of electric car charging points is about to overtake petrol stations because electric cars have become so popular!
We're Getting Creative with Heating
Heating accounts for 1/3 of UK greenhouse gas emissions and 88% of home heating comes from fossil fuel boilers. But local authorities are working on plans to build "heat networks" to get cleaner heat. The heat comes from the most unlikely places - factory machinery, geothermal and heat from the London Underground to warm up homes. And on the hotter end of things, in Bangladesh people are turning to plastic bottles to cool their homes in summer. The cheap, electricity free system provides an eco-friendly alternative to air-conditioning units.
More People are Cycling
After lots of investment in safer cycle lanes, bikes in Copenhagen now outnumber cars - with 56% of residents now cycling to work, only 14% drive! And over here in London, whilst car numbers halved from 2000 to 2014, the number of bikes trebled... a whopping one quarter of commutes are now by bike! Also, over in Auckland, New Zealand, the city opened a brand new (super safe) bike lane and painted it hot pink. Residents love it so much that this year they organised a birthday party for it!
This It's Happening blog was written by our pals at 10:10
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