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Ethiopia aims to plant five billion trees as part of the country's larger reforestation initiative spearheaded by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. youtu.be

By Kimberly White

Ethiopia has set out to plant 5 billion tree seedlings this year. The planting is part of the country's larger reforestation initiative spearheaded by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

By Kimberly White

Ethiopia has set out to plant 5 billion tree seedlings this year. The planting is part of the country’s larger reforestation initiative spearheaded by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.


Launched in 2019, the Green Legacy initiative aims to combat environmental degradation, build resilience, and transition into a green society.

The nation has lost nearly 97 percent of its native forests due to a growing population and an increased need for land for food production. To combat environmental degradation, Ethiopia committed to restoring 15 million hectares of deforested land by 2025.

Through Green Legacy, the Ethiopian government hopes to plant 20 billion trees over four years. Ethiopia made headlines last year when the nation planted nearly 354 million trees in just 12 hours.

 

“The green legacy initiative we launched last year resulted in the planting of over 4 billion seedlings nationally. More than 20 million people were mobilized throughout the country,” said Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. “Of all the trees planted in last year’s Green Legacy challenge, 84 percent have survived. Through the implementation of follow up measures, we have been able to maximize the survival rate which is nature’s encouragement to forge ahead.”

The Prime Minister has urged all Ethiopians to join this year’s planting challenge while also adhering to increased safety precautions, social distancing, and other preventative COVID-19 measures. Ethiopians are encouraged to “plant their print at the individual and family level.”

“The only thing that makes this year different is the pandemic we are confronted with as a global community. Nevertheless, while our resilience will be tested we are committed to meet our set target in planting in a COVID 19 responsive way,” added the Prime Minister.

The 5 billion seedlings are being housed in 38,000 sites across the country. The seedlings will be planted during Ethiopia’s rainy season.

This story originally appeared in The Planetary Press and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

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The skyline of Houston at night seen from the Bank of America Center in Houston, Texas. James Leynse / Corbis / Getty Images

By Kimberly White

The City of Houston has committed to 100 percent renewable energy. Mayor Sylvester Turner announced that the city has teamed up with NRG Energy to power all municipal operations with renewable energy beginning in July.

By Kimberly White

The City of Houston has committed to 100 percent renewable energy. Mayor Sylvester Turner announced that the city has teamed up with NRG Energy to power all municipal operations with renewable energy beginning in July.


Through the partnership, the City of Houston will receive 1,034,399 MWh of renewable electricity from a utility-scale solar facility each year. The contract with NRG is set to last seven years and is projected to save the city a total of million during its duration.

The transition to renewable energy is part of Houston’s recently released Climate Action Plan. Mayor Turner, along with the City’s Office of Sustainability, released the Houston Climate Action Plan in honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

“This announcement is a shining example of how the Houston Climate Action Plan is already in motion. Expanding our renewable energy investment through our partnership with NRG helps us build a more sustainable city and save over million per year on our electric bill,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “Together, we are leading by example and showing how to reduce emissions in the Energy Capital of the World.”

Houston is no stranger to the impacts of climate change. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey pummeled Houston. The Category 4 hurricane caused widespread devastation and 5 billion in damage. According to Houston’s Office of Sustainability, the Climate Action Plan is a key element of the Hurricane Harvey recovery effort. The City of Houston aims to reduce emissions and reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

“Houstonians have experienced the effects of climate change. Hurricane Harvey was larger, slower, and had 40 percent more rain than it would have if it had occurred 100 years ago. In Houston, spring arrives three weeks earlier than it did even a generation ago and our already hot summers keep getting hotter,” stated Turner.

 

Houston is one of many U.S. cities that have stepped up their climate ambitions in an effort to fight the global climate emergency following the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.

“Houston is a global city and climate change is a global challenge, which is why as a member of C40 Cities Global Climate Leadership Group and Vice Chair of U.S. Climate Mayors, I am committed to doing our part to make Houston carbon neutral by 2050 in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement,” said Turner.

“We can’t fix the problem overnight—but if we take bold, transformative action to lead our city down a more sustainable path, we’ll leave behind a better Houston, and a better world, for future generations.”

This story originally appeared in The Planetary Press and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

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