miscellaneous

What we learned this week

A striking climate change conundrum has emerged in Namibia, where drought threatens the survival of 200 elephants. The government’s solution? Sell the elephants.

My wife, who is a BBC radio journalist, recorded a special programme on ‘earth heroes’ in our local area. It features activists, inventors, entrepreneurs and more, and you can listen back here.

People have been talking about geothermal power from Cornwall for decades and the potential has never been properly tapped, so it’s great to hear that the first commercial contract has been signed to supply it. (It’s with Ecotricity, once again with another UK first.) It’s only for 3MW of power at the moment – but you’ve got to start somewhere.

Good to read about an amendment to the Basel Convention on waste trading, that will hopefully give developing countries more ways to prevent plastic dumping by overdeveloped nations.

This graph of new car sales in Norway, posted by Robbie Andrew on Twitter, shows how pure petrol or diesel cars are now very much a minority interest. This is a dramatic shift in a decade, and the kind of thing I would hope to see in Britain in the coming years – alongside an overall decline in car sales and increased public and active transport, naturally.

Three of this week’s posts, in case you missed them:

What we learned this week

A climate justice angle we don’t hear very much about – the Phoenix newsletter looks at climate and the caste system in South Asia, Britain’s big housebuilders continue to erect whole estates of new homes all fitted with gas boilers. So it’s worth noting that one of them, Redrow, announced this week that they are…

China’s sponge parks

In 2013 China had a notably heavy monsoon season. Over 200 cities experienced flooding, and it prompted a rethink in urban planning. How could cities be more resilient to flooding? An architect and urban designer called Kongjian Yu had a potential solution. He had developed an approach called ‘sponge cities’, and in 2015 China announced…

Uganda’s free electric motorbikes

In his new year’s address earlier this month, Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni susprised people with a possible new transport policy. As part of a plan to electrify the country’s transport, motorbike owers would be able to trade in their petrol bikes for electric. “Free of course,” he added. “Just swap.” Motorbikes are a form of…

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