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Hope yet for 1.5°C global warming target, says energy expert

02 October 2023

Though much more needs to be done, climate action is taking place worldwide. Here are highlights from September 2023.

Hope yet for 1.5°C global warming target, says energy expert
New green spaces will provide relief for Parisians during hot days. Image credit: Shutterstock

From landmark court cases to new green policies, September saw a number of news stories that show how sectors and nations are coming together to counter the effects of climate change on our planet.

Here are 12 that will inspire civil engineers to achieve their goals of building a world that’s nature and people positive.

Going green...

Rise in renewables gives hope to 1.5°C target, says International Energy Agency – The Guardian

The rate of solar photovoltaics installations and uptake of electric vehicles is in line to stay within the 1.5°C target, said executive director of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol.

A “staggering 40% increase” in clean energy investments over the last two years has also given hope to reach net zero by 2050.

However, much more needs to be done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector.

Portsmouth makes reducing port’s air pollution a shore thing – BBC

Ships docking at three berths of Portsmouth International Port will soon be able to plug into National Grid, using the port’s power rather than keeping their engines running.

According to Portsmouth City Council, this project could make CO2 emissions savings equal to 20,000 tonnes per year.

Get your sunny’s worth: roof garden in Vienna maximises solar power – BBC

A university in Vienna has taken roof gardens to another level by introducing solar panels to the mix, generating almost as much electricity as an average household uses.

The University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences is pioneering the methods needed to make these ‘biosolar’ roofs a success – bringing various benefits to students, staff and biodiversity, including a herb garden.

Paris’ little green belt to provide oases for citizens – The New York Times (subscription required)

As Paris citizens struggle more and more with heat brought on by climate change, the city has turned to a disused rail line to provide relief.

Wildlife and greenery surround this set of train tracks that circle Paris. Known as the Little Belt, the city hopes that opening these spaces to the public will offer ‘cooler’ recreational spaces.

Ulster University supports zero-carbon future with new £15,000 scholarship – BBC

Ulster University has announced that one full-time student on its MSc energy storage course will be awarded a £15,000 scholarship, as well as a stipend.

The award, funded by Action Renewables, has been created to enhance education around climate change. Storing renewable energy plays a crucial part in the transition to net zero.

In government...

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak relaxes rules on building onshore wind farms – BBC

UK ministers have amended planning rules to make it easier to identify sites for new onshore wind farms and speed up the process.

Changes came amid pressure from Conservative MPs led by past COP26 president, Sir Alok Sharma.

US government cancels oil and gas leases in Alaska – Al Jazeera

The administration of US President Joe Biden has cancelled seven oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

The leases had been granted towards the final days of former president Donald Trump’s time in office.

Avoid, Shift, Improve: UN publishes plan to decarbonise construction – UNEP

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has published a report setting out recommendations to cut embodied carbon from construction via a three-pronged approach.

Working with the Yale Center for Ecosystems + Architecture (Yale CEA), the report offers solutions to avoid waste, shift to ethical and sustainable materials and improve decarbonisation of traditional resources.

California governor to sign mandatory climate disclosure bill in US first – Ogier

California Governor Gavin Newson has committed to signing a bill that will make it mandatory for companies operating in the state to disclose greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks from 2026.

Youth group from Portugal sue 32 countries over lack of climate action – Al Jazeera

A group of six young people has sued 32 countries over climate inaction, including all European Union member states, the United Kingdom, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and Russia.

The group, aged 11-24, argues that the lack of action on climate change risks their lives and health, and discriminates against young people.

US launches programme to train young people in fight against climate change – Al Jazeera

US President Joe Biden has announced the launch of the ‘climate corps’ work-training programme, which will train 20,000 young people in conservation, clean energy and climate resilience.

Sharing is caring: south-east Asian nations agree to share electricity – AP News

An urgent push to switch to clean energy in south-east Asia has led to an agreement to set up cross-border transmission lines across 10 countries.

In case you missed it...

Climate stories from August 2023.

  • Ana Bottle, digital content editor at ICE