President Donald Trump is to pull the US out of the Paris climate change agreement so he can make the country into an “energy superpower” as commercial giant Amazon launches three major new renewables projects. Meanwhile, Asda is to trial refillable containers in bid to ditch plastic, the first 100 per cent electric black cab for 120 years is launched in London and 24 more fashion giants sign the Kering’s Fashion Pact to eliminate emissions and single-use plastics. Lori Campbell rounds up the top sustainable stories of the week.
Trump pulls US out of Paris climate agreement
The US will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, President Donald Trump has confirmed.
Making the announcement at an energy conference in Pittsburgh, he described the accord as a ‘bad deal’ and said his pro fossil fuel policies is making the US into an energy superpower.
The pull-out could start as early as November 4 and will take effect a year later – the day after the 2020 US presidential election – assuming that Mr Trump is re-elected. The Paris agreement brought together 195 nations in the battle to combat climate change. It committed the US to cutting greenhouse gases up to 28 per cent by 2025 based on 2005 levels.
Mr Trump is attempting to sweep away a raft of pollution legislation to reduce the cost of producing gas, oil and coal. He branded former US President Barack Obama’s environmental clean-up a ‘war on American energy’.
Meanwhile, new research has revealed the five biggest oil and gas companies, and their industry groups, have spent at least €251 million (£217 million) lobbying the European Union over climate policies since 2010.
Amazon launches three major renewables projects
Amazon has announced three major renewable energy deals, including the largest corporate wind power purchase agreement in Europe.
The move will help the commercial giant towards its goal of sourcing 100 per cent renewable energy across its global operations by 2030.
Amazon has agreed a corporate power purchase agreement (PPA) to source renewable power from a 50MW Amazon Wind Farm on the Kintyre Peninsula, Scotland. Once complete, the farm is expected to generate 168,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of clean energy annually, enough to power 46,000 UK homes.
Two additional projects will be located in Warren County, North Carolina, and Prince George County, Virginia in the US. Combined, the projects will total 215MW in capacity and are expected to generate 500,997 MWh of energy annually once operational in 2021. All three windfarms will supply energy to the company’s Amazon Web Services data centres.
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ASDA to trial refillable containers in bid to ditch plastic
ASDA customers will be invited to bring in their own refillable containers when shopping from next year.
Instead of buying pre-packaged groceries, shoppers can use plastic or glass containers to fill from dispensers. The scheme will begin as a three month trial, and will be implemented with if proves to be a success.
The Walmart-owned company said that by the end of next year, almost a third of ASDA’s own brand plastic packaging will also come from recycled materials. It is hoped the move could stop almost 20,000 tonnes of plastic from ending up in landfill.
ASDA’s chief executive Roger Burnley said: “The elimination of avoidable plastic, and crucially single-use plastic, is at the top of our minds – and at the top of our customers’ minds.”
Elsewhere, Waitrose is to pull plastic toys from its Christmas crackers and Huggies is to eliminate all plastic from its baby wipe range in the UK within the next five years.
First 100% electric black cab for 120 years launches in London
The launch of a fully electric black cab for London has been praised by the mayor for helping to clean up the capital’s polluted air.
‘Dynamo’, a taxi converted from a Nissan electric van in a Coventry factory, is the first 100 per cent electric taxi on the streets of London since 1899. Its predecessor, Bersey, failed to take off at a time when most cabs were horse-drawn.
The taxi, based on the Nissan e-NV200 Evalia, has a range of up to 187 miles from a single charge. It costs £55,495, but drivers will be able to claim a £7,500 government grant for electric cars against the price Only two vehicle types – both zero-emissions capable – can now be issued with new Transport for London (TfL) taxi licences.
About 2,450 hybrid-electric cabs made by the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) have been licensed for operation in the capital since its introduction in January 2018.
Fashion giants sign pact to eliminate emissions and single-use plastics
A coalition of 24 big-name fashion brands, including Mango, Farfetch and Decathlon, have signed the ‘Kering’s Fashion Pact’ this week.
Unveiled at the G7 summit this summer, the Kering’s Fashion Pact binds signatories to set science-based emissions reduction targets in line with a 1.5C trajectory – which, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), will require most organisations to reach net-zero carbon status by 2050.
It also requires signatories to remove all single-use plastics from business-to-business and consumer-facing products and services by 2030, and to support new technologies aimed at minimising waterborne microplastic pollution.
The pact was initially signed by 32 fashion companies, including H&M Group, Inditex and Nike. This week’s new additions take the list up to 250.