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‘Finally Some Good News Out of Washington’: Nation’s Capital to Go 100% Renewable by 2032
Washington, DC made history Tuesday when its council voted unanimously to transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2032, the Huffington Post reported. The commitment is part of the Clean Energy DC Omnibus Act of 2018, which also includes measures to reduce emissions from buildings and transportation and gives the nation's capital the most comprehensive climate policy of any city in the country.
"This bill should be a boost to advocates nationwide," DC campaign director for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network Action Fund Camila Thorndike said in a statement reported by the Huffington Post. "Finally some good news out of Washington. We did it."
Campaigners and supporters touted the bill as an act of defiance against one of DC's most famous residents, current President Donald Trump, who is infamous for denying climate change and promoting fossil fuels.
"The guy in the house a couple of blocks away has abdicated complete leadership in how we are moving our country and our world forward," Democratic Councilmember Charles Allen told WAMU 88.5. "The folks on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue don't seem to care that much. So the responsibility has fallen to our cities and our states to act."
That rebuke is not merely symbolic. Federal buildings, including the White House, will need to follow the stricter energy efficiency standards that the new law has empowered a task force to draft for all existing DC buildings, the Huffington Post reported. The bill also includes an ambitious transportation goal: all public transportation and private vehicle fleets, including ride-share programs Uber and Lyft, must be carbon free by 2045.
The bill should reduce the city's total greenhouse gas emissions 42 percent by 2032, WAMU 88.5 reported. This brings it close to the recommendation in the latest International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. That report found that to cap warming at 1.5 degrees, global emissions would have to fall to 45 percent of 2010 levels by 2030.
The bill, introduced by Democratic Councilmember Mary Cheh, would have originally reduced total emissions by 50 percent, but that goal was weakened somewhat after compromises with utility companies, which ultimately backed the current version of the bill. Activists said the companies did so in part to avoid a carbon tax, an alternative policy supported by some council members.
"We built such a thunderhead of political pressure for ambitious and comprehensive climate policy that not doing anything was not an option," Thorndike told WAMU 88.5.
The bill also doubled DC's ambitions. Previously, the city had pledged to be 50 percent renewable by 2032.
"This bill is historic," Cheh told WAMU 88.5 before the vote. "It will place the District of Columbia at the national forefront in efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and achieve 100 percent renewable electricity."
Currently, 90 cities have pledged to go 100 percent renewable by 2030, but no state has set a goal as ambitious as DC's within as short a timeframe.
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In a big victory for animals, Prada has announced that it's ending its use of fur! It joins Coach, Jean Paul Gaultier, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Ralph Lauren, Vivienne Westwood, Michael Kors, Donna Karan and many others PETA has pushed toward a ban.
This is a victory more than a decade in the making. PETA and our international affiliates have crashed Prada's catwalks with anti-fur signs, held eye-catching demonstrations all around the world, and sent the company loads of information about the fur industry. In 2018, actor and animal rights advocate Pamela Anderson sent a letter on PETA's behalf urging Miuccia Prada to commit to leaving fur out of all future collections, and the iconic designer has finally listened.
If people in three European countries want to fight the climate crisis, they need to chill out more.
"The rapid pace of labour-saving technology brings into focus the possibility of a shorter working week for all, if deployed properly," Autonomy Director Will Stronge said, The Guardian reported. "However, while automation shows that less work is technically possible, the urgent pressures on the environment and on our available carbon budget show that reducing the working week is in fact necessary."
The report found that if the economies of Germany, Sweden and the UK maintain their current levels of carbon intensity and productivity, they would need to switch to a six, 12 and nine hour work week respectively if they wanted keep the rise in global temperatures to the below two degrees Celsius promised by the Paris agreement, The Independent reported.
The study based its conclusions on data from the UN and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) on greenhouse gas emissions per industry in all three countries.
The report comes as the group Momentum called on the UK's Labour Party to endorse a four-day work week.
"We welcome this attempt by Autonomy to grapple with the very real changes society will need to make in order to live within the limits of the planet," Emma Williams of the Four Day Week campaign said in a statement reported by The Independent. "In addition to improved well-being, enhanced gender equality and increased productivity, addressing climate change is another compelling reason we should all be working less."
Supporters of the idea linked it to calls in the U.S. and Europe for a Green New Deal that would decarbonize the economy while promoting equality and well-being.
"This new paper from Autonomy is a thought experiment that should give policymakers, activists and campaigners more ballast to make the case that a Green New Deal is absolutely necessary," Common Wealth think tank Director Mat Lawrence told The Independent. "The link between working time and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions has been proved by a number of studies. Using OECD data and relating it to our carbon budget, Autonomy have taken the step to show what that link means in terms of our working weeks."
Stronge also linked his report to calls for a Green New Deal.
"Becoming a green, sustainable society will require a number of strategies – a shorter working week being just one of them," he said, according to The Guardian. "This paper and the other nascent research in the field should give us plenty of food for thought when we consider how urgent a Green New Deal is and what it should look like."
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- Needed: A shorter work week – People's World ›