The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Finland Set to Become First Country in the World to Ban Coal
"Finland is well positioned to be among the first countries in the world to enact a law to ban coal ... This will be my proposal," Minister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn told Reuters.
This is all part of Finland's ambitious target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050.
"Giving up coal is the only way to reach international climate goals," Rehn added.
According to The Independent, the "Energy and Climate Strategy for 2030 and Beyond" is the country's plan to phase out coal within 14 years. Finland aims to turn its energy production carbon-neutral by 2050 with plans to switch its traditional energy sources to biofuels and renewable energy.
The strategy will be presented to the Finnish parliament for approval in March.
Currently, Finland gets only 8 percent energy from coal, mostly imported from Russia. Renewable sources and nuclear make up 45 percent and 34 percent respectively.
However, Finland's plan appears to be much more strict. According to ZME Science, "In countries such as France or the UK where coal will be phased out, there will still be some leeway that will allow the trading the coal for instance. With a ban in place, not only will be Finnish utilities be barred from producing energy from coal, it will also be illegal to import electricity that is made from it—that's an entirely radical approach, but one that has a lot of positive environmental implications."
"Basically, coal would disappear from the Finnish market," Peter Lund, a researcher at Aalto University, and chair of the energy program at the European Academies' Science Advisory Council, told New Scientist.
Of course, not everyone in Finland is happy with the plan.
"The discussion about prohibiting the use of coal under law is inexplicable," Jukka Leskelä, the managing director of Finnish Energy, told the Helsinki Times. "Such an effort would not succeed without offering substantial compensation [to energy producers]. I fail to understand how the central administration can spend so recklessly and be so unappreciative of the situation in the energy markets."
Transport and Communications Minister Anne Berner also told the Associated Press that the emission targets for the transport sector is "demanding."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Climate change is having a grizzly effect on Mount Everest as melting snow and glaciers reveal some of the bodies of climbers who died trying to scale the world's highest peak.
The Navajo Nation have decided to stop pursuing the acquisition of a beleaguered coal-fired power plant in Arizona, locking in the plant to be taken offline and its associated coal mine to close later this year.
A Navajo Nation Council committee voted 11-9 last week to stop pursuing the purchase of the 2,250-megawatt Navajo Generating Station, which with the Kayenta coal mine provides more than 800 jobs to primarily Navajo and Hopi workers as well as tribal royalties.
A coalition of utilities that own the plant said in 2017 it would cease operations due to increased economic pressure, and the plant's future has proved a flash point for national and regional energy policy and raised larger questions on how Native communities will handle ties to fossil fuel industries as the economy changes.
For a deeper dive:
By Jeff Turrentine
Is it just us?
Other countries don't seem to have a problem getting their high-speed rail systems on track. This superfast, fuel-efficient form of mass transit is wildly popular throughout Asia and the European Union. Japan's sleek Shinkansen line, the busiest high-speed rail system in the world, carries an estimated 420,000 riders every weekday. In China, the new Fuxing Hao bullet train now hurries more than 100 million passengers a year between Beijing and Shanghai at a top speed of 218 miles an hour, allowing its riders to make the trip of 775 miles — roughly the distance from New York City to Chicago — in about four and a half hours. Spain, Germany and France together have more than 4,500 miles of track dedicated to high-speed rail, over which more than 150 million passengers travel annually.
By Coda Christopherson (11) and Lea Eiders (15)
Growing up in a plastic-free home, I was sheltered from the plastic waste crisis. I (Coda) went to a very progressive school that had vegan lunch items, farm animals and ran on solar power. My mom produces zero-waste events and my dad is a sailor, so we're very passionate about the ocean. When I was nine years old, we moved back to Manhattan Beach, California and I started 3rd grade in a public school. This was the first time I really understood that plastic-free living is not the norm; single-use plastics were everywhere, especially in the cafeteria. Once I recognized this problem, I knew I had to make a difference.
Henry Avocado issued the recall Saturday after a routine government inspection at its California packing facility turned up positive test results for the bacteria on "environmental samples," the company said in a statement. No illnesses have been reported.
Oil executives gathered for a conference laughed about their "unprecedented" access to Trump administration officials, according to a recording obtained by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting.
In the recording, taken at a June 2017 meeting of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) at a Ritz-Carlton in Southern California, members expressed excitement about one official in particular: David Bernhardt, who had been nominated that April to be deputy secretary at the Department of Interior (DOI). Bernhardt would be confirmed the following month.
"We know him very well, and we have direct access to him, have conversations with him about issues ranging from federal land access to endangered species, to a lot of issues," IPAA political director Dan Naatz said in the recording.