Good News

Good News

12th November 2022 - 18th November 2022

Humanity just reached a big turning point. For the first time on record, global smoking prevalence has fallen, from 22.6% of people in 2007, to 19.6% in 2019. That's a hugely consequential shift in behaviour that has the potential to massively reduce harm. Tobacco use causes around 8.7 million deaths and approximately $2 trillion in economic damage every year. Tobacco Atlas

Uzbekistan says that 94% of girls aged 12-14 have received a dose of the human papillomavirus vaccine. This will have a big impact: cervical cancer ranks as the country's second-most common cancer among women, and studies have shown that widespread HPV vaccination drives down incidence by around 90%. Gavi

Europe's Child Guarantee is one of the EU's main social policy initiatives, and it's working. The proportion of children classified as 'severely deprived' has decreased from 22.8% in 2009 to 14.6% in 2021. The policy has been particularly successful in eastern Europe. Latvia, Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary have all seen declines of more than 20%. European Parliament

Visceral leishmaniasis is a horrible disease spread by sandflies, causing severe fever, weight loss, enlargement of the spleen and liver, and anaemia. In the last decade, global cases have decreased from 64,223 in 2011 to 11,689 in 2021, the lowest since 1998. The drop has been particularly noticeable in the WHO South East Asia Region - less than 1,500 cases in 2021, a decrease of 96%. WHO

The DRC's Indigenous Pygmy people have won a major human rights victory with a new law that recognizes  them as a distinct people with rights and access to free, prior and informed consent before the government or industry can exploit their land. We, a network of 45 Indigenous organizations, worked for 14 years to get these protections enshrined into law Mongabay

In what might be our favourite ballot initiative from the midterms, Colorado voters approved a measure to provide free meals for all the state's public school students. The measure will help schools pay for the meals by raising $100 million a year through increased taxes on those with incomes of more than $300,000 a year. NPR

The West African nation of Benin adopted one of the continent’s most liberal laws on reproductive rights last year after hearing testimony from gynaecologists about women dying from illegal abortions. A year later, this culturally conservative country, made up mostly of Christians and Muslims, has become one of the few in Africa where a woman's right to choose is broadly available. NYT

Angola is making steady progress in clearing its minefields. HALO, a British non-profit spearheading the effort, has cleared more than 10 million m2 since the end of the civil war in the 1990s. Much of that effort is being led by all-women teams - this photo essay about their work is amazing. NPR

Suicides by active duty members of the US military have decreased substantially over the past 18 months, thanks to increased attention by senior leaders, and the implementation of an array of new programs, ranging from required counselling visits to stress relief education and recreational outings. PBS

Mega-philanthropist MacKenzie Scott has revealed that in the last seven months she and her team have given almost $2 billion in donations to 343 organizations. "I needn’t ask those I care about what to say to them, or what to do for them. I can share what I have with them to stand behind them as they speak and act for themselves." Amen.

Paris, one of the world’s most expensive cities, is also one of the most progressive for low-cost housing. 25% of accommodation is accessible to people on lower incomes, and the French capital is now targeting 40% by 2035. That means a major expansion of public housing so that homes for low-income tenants make up a third of all units. Bloomberg

Lula says Brazil is back, and that climate change will be at the heart of his agenda as he cracks down on deforestation, tackles inequality and rolls out renewable energy. His highly successful Amazon Fund has just been reactivated, and Brazil also just joined Indonesia and the DRC to create a new funding mechanism to protect forests. Between them, the trio are home to half the world's rainforests.

The Global Mangrove Alliance has reported a decline in the overall rate of mangrove loss. More than 42% of the world’s mangroves are now protected, an increase of 17% since 2012. Indonesia holds one-fifth of the world’s total mangrove coverage with more than 2,000 km2 ripe for restoration. Mongabay

A new conservation project is blooming in Devon, aiming to create a network of flower-filled grasslands spanning 1,200 hectares of coastland by 2030. The first 200 acres have already been sown, using 31 seed varieties including yellow rattle and oxeye daisy. The new habitats will attract a wide range of wildlife including voles, bats, birds of prey and butterflies. Guardian

Tetiaroa Atoll, a 12-island paradise in French Polynesia, has been declared rodent free after years of conservation efforts. Scientists are now studying local flora, wildlife and marine environment to establish the world’s first pre-eradication baseline. Mongabay

Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools, one of Africa’s most renowned game-viewing destinations, has maintained a zero elephant poaching rate for the third year in a row - a staggering achievement given 12,000 were poached in the area in the past ten years. More funding for local rangers along with the introduction of tracking technology and smartphones has driven the change. Global Conservation

Since it was formed in 2010, the Global Alliance for Rights of Nature has turned an unorthodox legal theory into a thriving global movement. An estimated 400 initiatives are in progress and 39 countries have recognised the Rights of Nature in national legislation or local law to protect endangered ecosystems and wildlife. Inside Climate New

The Halda River in Bangladesh, the world’s only natural gene bank for several carp species, has made a comeback. At its peak in 1941, 4,000 kg of fish eggs were being harvested, but by 2016 that had dwindled to zero. Conservation efforts kicked off in 2018, and the river has started rebounding. Mongabay

After a disappointing few weeks for plastic recycling in Australia, the government has pledged to recycle or reuse 100% of plastic waste and end plastic pollution by 2040. The lucky country is going to need all the breaks it can get - only 16% of the one million tonnes of plastic in circulation is currently recycled. ABC

The largest fish in the Amazon, the pirarucu, has been saved from extinction thanks to a community campaign to impose strict fishing regulations. The controls have resulted in a population surge, with the number of pirarucu in the Carauari region alone exploding from 4,916 in 2011 to 46,839 in 2021. ABC

The Karuk Tribe in northern California has reignited its cultural practice of intermittent burns as part of a four-year project to prevent wildfires. Low-level and controlled burnings are an ancient and successful forest-management practice. “A cleared floor and less fine fuels such as leaves and ferns, makes it more difficult for wildfires to ignite and spread.” Mongabay

The start of burn practices by Indigenous people participating in a fire training event in October 2022. Images courtesy of the Karuk Tribe.

5th November 2022 - 11th November 2022

There has been an 11% decline in the number of homeless veterans in the United States since 2020, the biggest fall in more than five years.  Overall numbers have fallen by 55.3% since 2010 - and thanks to additional efforts launched in 2022, the government is on track to house every homeless veteran by the end of the year. HUD

Nearly 96% of US households are now banked, the highest rate since surveys began in 2009. Approximately 1.2 million households have gained access to banking services since 2019, with nearly half saying their decision to open an account was prompted by government support. FDIC

Minority groups in the United States have recorded huge health insurance coverage gains thanks to improved affordability and increased outreach efforts. Hispanic people saw a 53% jump in enrolment rates between 2020 and 2022, Black people 49% and Native Americans 32%. Not a single death panel in sight. WaPo

Deep in the bowels of the US 2020 Census lurks a quiet milestone: for the first time in modern American history, most White people live in mixed-race neighbourhoods - a tectonic shift from just a generation ago. In 1990, 78% of White people lived in neighbourhoods where at least four in five people were also White. In the 2020 Census, that’s plunged to 44%. WaPo

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the US. However - it's getting better. Since the 1960s, anti-tobacco initiatives and legislation have saved the lives of eight million Americans, and smoking rates have dropped from 42% to just 14% in 2020, and amongst 18–24 year olds to just over 7.4%. CDC

The prevalence of dementia in the United States amongst people aged 65 and older decreased from 12.2% in 2000 to 8.5% in 2016, most likely due to increased rates of educational attainment and lower smoking rates. Statistics telling a very different story here to 'vibes.' The Hill

Since 2014, people imprisoned at 18 facilities across eight western states in the United States have tended to over half a million sagebrush plants, feeding, watering, weeding and monitoring their health. “It’s all completely voluntary, and there’s usually a waitlist. They get so much peace of mind, stress relief, and the chance to work with, not against, their peers.” RTBC

States across the US are equalizing access to nutritious meals for all students. California, Maine and Colorado have all made their programs permanent, Vermont, Nevada and Massachusetts have extended them until the end of the year, and legislation has been introduced in Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, Maryland and North Carolina. NPR

Mike Blake/Reuters

There’s a new RSV vaccine, given to mothers to reduce disease in newborns, that's estimated to reduce severe disease by 82%, and that should be available by next year. That’s great! Worldwide, RSV leads to around 3.6 million hospital admissions and causes around 6% of all child deaths from lower respiratory disease worldwide. Vox

The overall proportion of people in India suffering from blindness and visual impairment have been reduced by 47.1% and 51.9% respectively since 2010. Amongst people aged 50 years and above, the prevalence of blindness has declined from 5.3% in 2001 to 3.6% in 2007, and to 1.9% in the latest survey, carried out in 2019. Times of India

RIP Samuel Katz, the US virologist who was part of the research team that created the measles vaccine. Before its invention, measles killed 2.6 million people a year - by 2020, that number was just over 60,000. Coverage of the vaccine fell by 4% during the pandemic, but a new initiative from the Global Vaccines Alliance is now underway to reach 85 million children before the end of next year. NYT

RIP Dilip Mahalanabis, the Indian physician who pioneered the use of oral rehydration therapy - a simple solution of glucose, salts and water designed to replace vital fluids during bouts of infectious disease. The Lancet called it “the most important medical discovery of the 20th century.’’ It's estimated the number of children saved by ORT between 1982 and 2019 is more than 70 million. FT

Amazing what a group of dedicated people can achieve. The Against Malaria Foundation has managed to raise $484 million since 2005, in large part thanks to the efforts of the effective altruist community. That's allowed them to distribute over 232 million bednets, and save the lives of around 90,000 people.

Credit: Against Malaria Foundation

Mexico has created a new fully protected marine area within the Islas Marías Biosphere Reserve. The reserve, which is centred around a unique archipelago flush with rich nutrients and marine life, covers 6,413 km2 and is now deemed a no-take area, meaning no fishing, mining, drilling or any other extractive activities. Nat Geo

Almost 4,000 hectares of koala habitat in Australia will be protected after the land was privately acquired for conservation. The habitat is home to more than 100 vertebrate species, including the endangered koala and 11 other animals listed as threatened. It's also surrounded on three sides by largely intact forest - allowing animals to move freely from place to place. Guardian

The Shuar Indigenous community of Ecuador has obtained national protections for part of its territory after decades of fighting off deforestation and pollution. Their 5,497-hectare ancestral Tiwi Nunka Forest will now be safe from future exploitation, including mining, cattle ranching and agricultural encroachment. Mongabay

After decades of hard fought for protections and restoration efforts, conservationists have reversed the collapse of California’s treasured Mono Lake. The lake, which is a crucial feeding stop for migratory birds, now offers inspiration for efforts to heal degraded and warming ecosystems around the world. Inside Climate News

The jaguar is making a comeback in the Mexico's Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, one of the biggest unbroken tropical forests in the Americas. The government has also tentatively agreed to expand the reserve from 726,000 to 1.3 million hectares, which would make it one of the largest protected areas in the world's tropics. NYT

Credit: Patryk_Kosmider/Getty Images

A non-profit organisation in the United States has raised nearly $200 million from more than 4,000 donors in an attempt to create a nature reserve on the great plains, a place where buffalo can roam once again. The overall goal is 3.2 million acres of intact grasslands - the size of Connecticut, or the Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks combined. CBS

The Millenium Forest, a two-decade reforestation project on the tropical island of St. Helena in the southern Atlantic Ocean, has not only restored trees found nowhere else in the world, but has also involved nearly every member of the island community in the effort. The revived forest is now attracting animal species to its habitat, including St. Helena’s only endemic bird. Mongabay

As of the 1st of November, people in the Australian state of New South Wales no longer have access to a range of single-use plastic items. Lightweight plastic bags have been prohibited since June, and now plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds have joined the list. Next up - South Australia in September 2023.

The UK’s two-wheeled revolution continues. Cycling levels over the most recent summer were 54% higher than pre-pandemic – and 11% higher than the summer of 2020, when people were told to avoid public transport. Another report has calculated that walking and cycling generated £36.5 billion for the UK economy in 2021, thanks to reduced congestion and improving public health. The Times

More than 6,000 hatchlings of endangered taricaya, charapa and teparo turtles have been released into Peru's Amazon basin to help them repopulate. The eggs were collected from natural sites and then allowed to incubate in protected areas. "With the release of these species at risk, it will be possible to repopulate the lagoons and rivers of the Amazon." France24

Birds, fish and flowers are returning to the Mapocho River in Santiago, Chile, after a decade-long effort has transformed it from a garbage filled 'dead river' with no vegetation, to an urban refuge for nature and wildlife. "It's been ten years that wastewater outlets don't go into the river, ten years of clean water flowing." Reuters

The Mapocho River flowing through the city during sunset, in Santiago, Chile, October 25, 2022. Credit: Reuters/Ivan Alvarado

29th October 2022 - 4th November 2022

Pakistan is making significant progress on tuberculosis. It has the fifth greatest TB burden in the world, but thanks to a concerted government strategy to find and treat hidden patients all over the country, the annual number of cases has fallen from 500,000 before the pandemic, to 340,000 in 2021. Gavi

In late 2020, Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province launched a universal health care scheme for all 30 million of its residents. It's been a huge success - millions of families are enrolled, public hospital utilization rates have increased ten fold, and similar efforts to expand universal coverage are now being rolled out in other provinces. Lancet

Liberia's community health worker scheme is working. There are now over 4,000 health workers, providing care for 80% of the country's rural population. Since the scheme's launch in 2016, the proportion of malaria cases treated in less than 24 hours has risen from 47% to 71%, and the number of detected pneumonia cases has nearly trebled. BBC

The development of COVID-19 vaccines was a scientific and humanitarian triumph. Researchers at Imperial College London have revealed they saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year - and helped rich and poor alike. Nearly as many deaths were prevented in countries supported by the COVAX scheme as in rich ones. Economist

Pandemic silver linings in Senegal, where improved access to oxygen is now helping pneumonia patients across the country. Paediatricians say there's been a notable increase in the availability of oxygen at health facilities, and are reporting that pneumonia deaths in children have declined over the past two years. Undark

Canada is planning a massive increase in immigration levels, with a goal of bringing in 500,000 people in 2025. It's a significant increase from the 405,000 immigrants that arrived last year, and comes after a recent census revealed the country is more diverse than ever - foreign born residents now account for 23% of the population, an all-time high. CBC

California has achieved extraordinary success in combating child poverty. The estimated share of children in poverty fell from 17.6% in 2019 to 9.0% in 2021, translating to about 770,000 fewer children in poverty. Even more striking was that safety net programs have moved nearly one in five, or 1.7 million children out of poverty. PPIC

The share of disabled adults working in the US has soared in the past two years, far surpassing pre-pandemic levels. People with disabilities report they are getting not only more job offers, but better ones, with higher pay, more flexibility and more openness to providing accommodations. “The new world we live in has opened the door a little bit more.” NYT

The last few years have been the most economically prosperous for America's bottom 50% in three decades. That’s not to say their lives are easy — they're not. But it's an improvement on the past: the net worth of the poorest half has doubled since Q1 2020 and is now higher than at any point in history, inflation notwithstanding. Intercept

St. Louis Federal Reserve and Josh Bivens, Economic Policy Institute

Europe's improved air quality has saved millions of lives in the last few decades. In the early 1990s, nearly a million premature deaths a year were caused by fine particulate pollution. By 2005, that number had been more than halved to 450,000, and in 2021 dropped to around 300,000. Still far too many - but another marked improvement on the past. Euro News

Pakistan's Senate has passed four human rights bills, including one that, for the first time, outlaws torture by security forces and police. While the country's Constitution prohibits the use of torture 'for extracting evidence' no domestic law until now has made it a criminal offense. Dawn

Ireland has passed new laws criminalizing incitement to hatred against transgender people and those with a disability. The laws were passed after a public consultation process which drew over 4,000 responses, and follow international best practice to enshrine protections for groups of people targeted for hate crime. Irish Times

The Mexican states of Gueterro and Tamaulipas have become the last two in the country to legalize same-sex marriage, meaning that for the first time, love is now legal everywhere in the 10th most populated nation in the world. “The whole of Mexico shines with a huge rainbow. Live the dignity and rights of all people. Love is love.” Mexico News Daily

Arturo Zaldívar, president of Mexico’s Supreme Court

Oslo will become the world's first capital city to have an all-electric public transport system by the end of 2023. In the city's most recent tender, electric buses came in at 5% cheaper than diesel equivalents. "The maintenance is cheaper, it's also cheaper for the operators of the electric buses. All in all, this is a win-win situation." Reuters

Cities around the world are ‘daylighting’ subterranean waterways that were built over during the 19th century, to mitigate rising temperatures and flooding. One of the biggest recovery projects, the Cheonggyecheon in Seoul, revitalised an entire neighbourhood. Paris, Madrid, Manchester, and New York all have similar projects underway. Timeout

Paris has pledged to make the Seine swimmable by the 2024 Summer Olympics, investing in a $1.6 billion stormwater holding tank to curb sewage pollution. The tank has a capacity a of 46,000 m² and will be entirely invisible at surface level. It’s part of a decade long mission to clean up a river that was declared biologically dead in the 1960s. Resilience

Taiwan is turning vacant metro spaces into underground vertical farms to grow sustainable, clean, and organic food. These smart farms use high-tech equipment to regulate light, temperature and nutrients. It’s an ingenious way to tackle food security in a country with a population of 23.57 million people and a surface area of only 36,197 km². Euro News

Monterrey, the second largest city in Mexico, is kicking off its ambitious Green Corridors plan with the Parque Lago project, which will add eight hectares of green public space. 18 other projects are planned, totalling 94 hectares of rehabilitated parks, with 73 kilometers of corridors and 20,000 native tree specimens. Fortune

Amsterdam’s rise to bicycle capital of the world didn’t happen by accident. It was a decades-long plan that began in the 1970s as a campaign against increasing traffic fatalities. At the heart of the city’s transformation is the idea that humans are "innately error-prone, so road design must be forgiving, minimizing the ill effects of mistakes.” Bloomberg

Melbourne has successfully enticed butterflies and bees back to its CBD, simply by working out which plants are most beneficial to wildlife and well, planting more of them. Over the last five years, native shrubs and perennial herbs with high yields of nectar and pollen have been planted along city streets resulting in a significant increase in the number of bee species and an abundance of butterflies. The Age

Seville is digging sustainable cooling - literally, building subterranean canals powered by renewable energy to help cool part of the city above. The Cartuja Qanat project brings technology that was used in ancient Persia to modern-day Spain. Vertical shafts pierced along the canals allow the cooler air to escape, reducing the increasingly sweltering air temperature above the surface.

Heard of sponge cities yet? If not, you soon will. By deploying thirsty green spaces and digging huge dirt bowls where water can gather and percolate into underlying aquifers, you can make rain something to be exploited instead of expelled. "Before, the city would see stormwater as a liability, but 11, 12 years ago, we kind of had a paradigm shift, and we started looking more at it as an asset.” Wired

A swale collects stormwater in Pittsburgh’s Hill District.

A new parking bill in California has lifted parking requirements on new developments that are close to public transport, and it’s good news for housing and the climate crisis. Research and market data show eliminating parking mandates help create walkable, affordable neighbourhoods and climate-resilient communities. Bloomberg

A new buoy-to-satellite system has been switched on in San Francisco Bay to alert ships to whales in the area, allowing them to avoid fatal collisions. The Whale Safe system has already been a success in the Santa Barbara Channel, where there have been no incidents of ships striking whales since it was installed a year ago. RTBC

Rio de Janeiro is creating the world’s largest community garden, “Hortas Cariocas” which will span several favelas, connected by a green strip of land and eventually end up the size of 15 soccer fields. It’s estimated over 100,000 families will benefit from the project every month, which aims to make organic food more affordable and accessible. Bloomberg

Vancouver is giving the Squamish Nation 11.7 acres in the middle of the city to do whatever they want. They are not required to follow municipal regulations, development processes, or seek municipal approval, because the land is within their jurisdiction, not the City of Vancouver. And what the Squamish Nation wants to do is to build a whole lot of really kickass, dense solarpunk-style housing.

September 2022 artistic rendering of the refined detailed design of Senakw: new public spaces between the towers. (Revery Architecture/Westbank/Squamish Nation)

8th October 2022 - 28th October 2022

Between 2000 and 2020, the global population with access to safely managed drinking water services has increased from 3.8 billion to 5.8 billion people. That means 90% of human beings now have access to either basic or safely managed drinking water services - the highest proportion in our species' history. WHO

Source: WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene

The UN is calling it a 'historic change.' Between 2005 and 2019, nearly 415 million people in India were lifted out of what is known as multidimensional poverty, a measure that includes health, education and standard of living. Children saw the fastest reduction, with child poverty falling from 34.7% to 21.8%. Economic Times

In the decade before the pandemic, 72 countries reduced poverty. One of those was Nepal, which reduced the proportion of people living in multi-dimensional poverty from 39.1% in 2010 to 17.7% in 2019. This was accompanied by the country's largest ever reduction in the proportion of people deprived of sanitation —from 60.6% in 2011 to 21.4% in 2019. Kathmandu Post

A new dengue vaccine that cuts the risk of fever by 61% and hospitalisation by 84% is on the cusp of being approved by the European Medicines Agency. Big news. Global dengue cases have almost doubled over the last three decades, and the only other vaccine we've tried wasn't safe. This new one is.

The arrival of two vaccines for malaria portends a sea change for humanity's efforts to fight one of our greatest scourges. The first, Mosquirix, was approved by the WHO last year and will begin distribution in 2023. A more powerful vaccine with up to 80% efficacy, developed by a team at Oxford, is also just a year or two away. NYT

Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? Of course you do. Well, the FDA recently approved a new drug for Lou Gehrig's disease that was partially funded by those proceeds, and the ALS Association says the remaining funds are supporting funding 130 research projects in 12 different countries, as well as 40 potential treatments in development. NPR

Slovenia's parliament has passed an amendment allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt after a constitutional court ruling earlier this year made it the first country in Eastern Europe to do so. "With these changes, we are recognising the rights of same-sex couples that they should have had for a long time." Euro News

Earlier this month, the US federal government took a big step in repairing the harms of the War on Drugs, by pardoning thousands of people with federal offenses for marijuana possession, and initiating a review of its classification. The move lifts a burden on the roughly 6,500 people whose employment and housing chances are harmed by their past convictions. Reuters

Japan will change an archaic 19th-century law whereby a child born to a woman within 300 days of divorce is considered to be that of her former husband, even if she has remarried. The revised legislation will also end a ban on pregnant women remarrying within 100 days of divorce. Bloomberg

The past quarter century has witnessed an unprecedented decline in US child poverty. In 1993, more than one in four children lived in families living below the poverty threshold. 26 years later, that number has fallen to roughly one in 10. The magnitude of this decline - 59% - is unequalled in the history of poverty reduction efforts in the United States. Child Trends

Fewer teenage girls as a proportion of the global population are giving birth today than at any point in human history. Global adolescent birth rates have decreased from 64.5 births per 1,000 women at the beginning of the 21st century, to 42.5 births per 1,000 women in 2021. Every single region of the world has seen declines during this period. WHO

In September, India's Supreme Court delivered a landmark decision, giving the country's 73 million single women the right to choose. It's a human rights victory on a monumental scale - the first time a legal question about abortion in India has been approached from a women's perspective, and setting an example that could echo far beyond the sub-continent. Al Jazeera

The Mexican state of Quintana Roo has voted to decriminalise abortion, becoming the latest state in the country to ease restrictions, and joining the 'green wave' of reproductive rights victories across Latin America. Al Jazeera

Did you know Sri Lanka has a network of more than 7,000 midwives? They're the backbone of the country's public health system, bringing health and education to every front door, vaccinating 99.1% of the country's children, and helping maintain one of the lowest maternal and child mortality rates in Asia. Gavi

Public health midwife, PiliyandalaK. V. P. Susangika walking to meet a new mother in Gorakapitiya. Credit: Aanya Wipulasena

Oman has become the first country in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region to successfully eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. It's thanks to investments in primary health care, a high quality network of laboratories across the country, and a new electronic health system. Next milestone? Elimination of mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B. WHO

Pakistan has reduced malaria cases by approximately 45% since 2015, thanks to the provision of free-of-cost treatment and related facilities in the public and private health sectors, and nationwide efforts to distribute bed nets. The number of estimated cases fell from 992,605 in 2015 to 542,960 in 2020. Gavi

The number of homicides in Scotland in 2021 reached their lowest point since records began in 1976. This is in line with a significant downward trend in other categories - overall crime has fallen by a total of 43% since 2007. "There are thousands fewer victims in Scotland than there were 15 years ago." BBC

Basic income works. Pilot programs launched across the US and the rest of the world in the last few years have repeatedly shown that it pulls people out of poverty, improves health outcomes, and makes it easier for people to find jobs and take care of their children. The economic evidence is overwhelming. The political battle however, is only just beginning. WaPo

“The most astonishing and heartening coral rebirth the world has ever seen." In 2015/16, the strongest El Niño on record moved across the coral reefs of the Pacific Line Islands, killing half of them. Six years on the reefs are thriving, with more than 43 million colonies per square kilometre. Nature will recover if we let it. Nat Geo

The Republic of Congo will establish its first three marine reserves in the Atlantic. The reserves will cover 12% of the West African country’s ocean zone and protect breeding grounds used by humpback whales and leatherback turtles. The reserves will also cover areas inhabited by whale sharks, the world’s largest fish. Bloomberg

The endangered Galápagos Penguin has recorded its best breeding season on record. In 2010, conservationists began chiselling small holes out of lava for the birds after original nesting sites were taken over by feral predators. 12 years later, a quarter of the population are juveniles - a significant milestone for a species numbering less than 5,000 birds. Nat Geo

A rewilding project spanning 8,500 km² of Spain's Iberian highlands is reintroducing black vultures, lynx, and wild horses. A herd of tauros – cattle bred to fulfil the ecological role of ancient aurochs – has already been released along with 11 semi-wild horses. It's the tenth project from Rewilding Europe, and the first one in Spain. Guardian

Once the world’s most endangered cat, the Iberian lynx can now be found across Spain and Portugal. Staffan Widstrand/Rewilding Europe

A record-breaking 92 Saimaa ringed seal pups were born in the Saimaa Lake region of Finland this year, thanks to fishing restrictions introduced in the last few years. The population of the highly endangered species has increased by of 5.6% every year between 2015-20 due to reduced deaths from fish traps and nets. Yle

Switzerland has reversed the decline of endangered amphibians in the Aargau region. In 1999 the canton decided a mass conservation effort was needed to combat the loss of frogs, newts and toads. Authorities, non-profits, landowners and volunteers worked for 20 years to build 422 ponds - resulting in an increase in almost every pond-breeding amphibian species. BBC

New legislation in the EU will require USB-C to be the single charger standard for all new smartphones, tablets, and cameras from late 2024. The makers of laptops will have until early 2026. The move is expected to cut over a thousand tons of electronic waste every year. Tech Xplore

We might be slowly getting a handle on the food waste problem. In London, grocers have stopped putting expiry dates on fresh produce, in California and France supermarkets are now giving away unsold food, and South Korea’s tough-love approach is working: between 2010 and 2019 food waste in the country declined from 3,400 tons to 2,800 tons per day. NYT

Donated food being collected from a Trader Joe’s in Fresno, California, where, under a new law, grocery stores are required to donate “the maximum amount of edible food that would otherwise be disposed.” Andri Tambunan/NYT

A community-led initiative to expand the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve in Scotland has "achieved the impossible," securing enough funding to more than double the size of the reserve, which was created last year, to over 10,000 acres. “This is about a grassroots fightback against the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis, and helping to create a better future." The National

US air quality is improving. Since 1990, fine particulate matter pollution has declined by 41% and concentrations of O3, a precursor to smog, have declined by 22%. The result? 370,000 avoided premature deaths, 189,000 fewer hospital admissions for cardiac and respiratory illnesses, 147 million fewer acute respiratory symptoms, and 8.3 million fewer lost school days... every year. NRDC

Kenya is planning on growing five billion trees in five years and an additional ten billion by 2032, with the hope of restoring 10.6 million hectares of degraded lands. The government plans to immediately recruit an additional 2,700 forest rangers and 600 forest officers to support the program. Bloomberg

Six years ago, the US government created the world’s largest fully protected ocean reserve, the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in Hawaii. Now scientists have found that the vast reserve, which spans 1.5 million km2, is helping restore fish populations. Nearby catches of yellowfin tuna rose by 54% between 2016 and 2019, and bigeye tuna by 12%. Inside Climate News

Norway is planning to create ten new national parks along its western edge. Four of them will be brand new, while six will see currently designated conservation areas upgraded into full-blown national parks. It’s part of an effort to protect 30% of Norwegian land by 2030. Afar

The first commercial crop of the methane-busting seaweed Asparagopsis has been harvested off the coast of Western Australia. When added to cattle feed, a daily dose of 20 grams per animal can reduce methane output by up to 95%. While still in its infancy, the asparagopsis industry is forecast to be worth $100 million by 2025. ABC

Chile’s Atacama Desert, renowned for its clear skies and spectacular desert blooms, is set to be made into a national park. Earlier this month, Chilean president Gabriel Boric announced plans to protect the area from development and fund research into its ecosystems. Timeout

California has completed the cleanup of contaminated soil and groundwater in Mission Valley, the site of one of the state's biggest ever toxic fuel spills in the 1980s. Over $70 million gas been spent on the clean-up since 2005, removing almost a million kilograms of petroleum contamination. San Diego Union Tribune

Europe's decarbonisation continues to speed up. The bloc as a whole is now aiming to reach 82% clean energy by 2030, and a handful of nations - Portugal, Austria, the Netherlands and Denmark - are aiming even higher, looking to reach 100% clean power by the end of this decade. Euro News

In 2019, science journalist David Wallace Wells wrote a best-selling book called The Uninhabitable Earth. Three years later, he's in the New York Times with a piece entitled: "Beyond Catastrophe: A New Climate Reality Is Coming Into View." It's well worth a read. Things can (and do) change.

Amidst the justifiably scary talk of climate crisis, it's worth remembering tipping points aren’t just for desertification, ice sheets and coral bleaching. The same gradually-then-all-at-once dynamic also applies to decarbonization. 87 countries have now crossed the 5% tipping point for clean energy, and 19 countries have done it for electric vehicles (Canada, Australia and Spain are next). Bloomberg

The ambition for solar and wind in China continues to balloon. Early this year, analysts tallied up plans for 600 GW of additions in 2021-25, but have now had to revise that upwards to 870 GW. That equates to China adding a US-sized, instead of a German-sized amount of clean energy, every year. At this pace, China will hit peak emissions by 2025. Lauri Myllyvirta

The city of Chaozhou in China is building a wind farm in the Taiwan Strait so large it will be able to power 13 million homes, or more than all the power plants in Norway combined. Construction on the 43.3 GW offshore wind farm (can't even believe we're writing that number) will begin before 2025. Offshore Wind

US households are installing record numbers of solar panels on their rooftops, loosening ties to the power grid and the utilities that run it. About 5.3 GW will be installed this year, the most ever, and roughly equivalent to all the country's rooftop capacity in 2015. FT

Think solar is booming now? Wait until you see what's coming. China’s solar cell production capacity doubled in 2021, is projected to double again in 2022, and again in 2023. Total manufacturing capacity could break 1 terawatt per year by 2024, most of it high efficiency n-type cell technologies. Buckle up. PV Magazine

Want to see how quickly this technology can eat the world? Check out the energy interconnection queue for the United States. Absolutely astonishing shift in less than a decade, as the not-so-invisible hand of the market has really started to bite. Enough building for you, Marc Andreessen? MISO

Uruguay is doing it right: a low poverty rate, a rapidly increasing middle class and an electricity grid powered by 98% renewables. It’s also pulled off the remarkable feat of increasing annual beef production without any increase in emissions. “The true revolution is a different culture: learning to live with less waste and more time to enjoy freedom.” NYT

Coal has gone off a cliff in India. More than 606 GW of coal-fired power projects has been cancelled or shelved since 2010. The world's third largest energy-consuming country is now adding 4o GW of clean energy a year, on track to surpass its target of 50% of electricity from non-fossil fuel sources by the end of the decade. AP

Fantastic news from our home state, Victoria. Our government just jacked up our clean energy targets to a 95% share of renewables in the electricity grid by 2035 and a 75-80% reduction in emissions by the same date. “The coal generation companies are leaving. They have made their money and they are going." Renew Economy

Common misperceptions about the energy transition in Germany. No, it has not increased carbon emissions, no it has not replaced nuclear with coal, the Energiewende has not increased the country's reliance on Russia and no, renewable energy has not increased the risk of blackouts. Chad Vestor

China's year old ban on overseas coal plants has put a significant dent in the global pipeline. Cancellations since the ban was announced account for around a fifth of the 104 coal plants either planned or under construction. Half of those plants have not yet started construction either, making them prime candidates for cancellation. SCMP

New coal projects are becoming 'effectively uninsurable' outside China because so many insurance companies have ruled out support. 62% of the reinsurance market and 39% of the primary insurance market are now covered by coal exclusions, and there has also been a significant shift away from oil and gas, with more than a third of the reinsurance market now covered by exclusions. Insure our Future

The latest company to do so is the world’s largest reinsurer, Munich Re, which published an ambitious oil and gas exit policy earlier this month. The German reinsurer says that as of April 2023 it will not invest or insure projects involving new oil and gas fields or new midstream oil infrastructure.

Deutsche Bank, Germany's largest bank, has committed to reducing the emissions tied to its upstream corporate oil and gas sector loans by 23% by 2030, and by 90% by 2050. The bank also announced new targets for three other high-emitting sectors: power generation, automotive and steel. Reuters

The next time someone tells you lithium is bad for the environment, you might want to remind them that we extracted 4.2 billion tons of oil in 2021, or 1.6x as much as the world's most mined metal (iron ore) and 40,000 times more than all the lithium. EVs and renewables don't just stop global warming and air pollution - they reduce material extraction. Visual Capitalist

The lithium pile is so small you need the full resolution version to see it.

Germany will spend €6.3 billion over the next three years to expand its charging network for electric cars, with the eventual goal of a million public charge points by 2030. “We are not just any automotive location, but a leading one in the world. And that’s why it’s important to us that what we’re preparing succeeds.” Reuters

EV battery manufacturing in the United States is about to go nuts. Six gigafactories, worth around $5 billion, were announced between 2018 and 2020. Since the start of 2021, more than 15 new facilities or expansions have been announced, reflecting a potential investment of more than $40 billion. Enough building for you, Marc Andreessen? Dallas Fed

At the biggest trucking show in the world, held in Germany last month, the exhibition was dominated by electric trucks. Scepticism about the future of battery long-distance freight is gone. Reports said it was difficult to spot a single diesel model. "No noise, no vibrations, no emissions. This is the biggest transition we've ever seen." The Driven

24th September 2022 - 7th October 2022

There's been substantial progress in South America in eliminating river blindness, a severe, disfiguring parasitic skin disease. A program launched in the 1990s has eliminated it completely in Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Guatemala, and reduced the number of people at risk from over half a million to just 35,518, scattered across the Brazil-Venezuela border. WHO

In the past three years, the number of cancer survivors in the US has increased by a million, reaching over 18 million as of 2022. This is mostly due to progress against lung, colorectal, and breast cancer, whose age-adjusted death rates have decreased by 44%, 42%, and 53% respectively since the 1970s. AACR

The American Cancer Society says breast cancer death rates in the United States dropped by 43% between 1989 and 2020. As a result, 460,000 breast cancer deaths were averted in US women during this period. The average five year survival rate is now over 90% - up from around 70% back in the early 1980s.

Malawi has eliminated trachoma as a public health problem, the first country in southern Africa to do so, and the fourth country in Africa after Ghana, Gambia and Togo. In 2015, there were 7.6 million people at risk of infection. In just seven years, that number has fallen to zero. WHO

A healthcare worker in Malawi tests a patient's visual l fields using a technique called confrontation. Credit: Heiko Philippin

Vanuata has also eliminated trachoma, the first Pacific nation to reach this milestone. Eight years ago, 12% of children were infected, prompting the launch of a national programme. Trachoma is the second non-tropical disease to be eliminated from the 83 island nation, after lymphatic filariasis in 2016. WHO

The Serum Institute of India, the world's biggest vaccine maker, has developed a cervical cancer vaccine that costs less than $5, and is aiming for 200 million doses by 2024. Big news. Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women globally, causing an estimated 342,000 deaths a year, almost all in low and middle income countries. Reuters

Nigeria has recorded a significant decrease in child marriage, with the proportion of girls married before their 18th birthday falling from 44% in 2016 to 30% in 2021. There has also been considerable progress in child mortality, which has decreased from one in eight children dying before their fifth birthday in 2016, to one in ten in 2021. UNICEF

This is going to sound crazy, but did you know that global economic inequality has actually decreased since 2011? The size of the global middle class increased by around 68%, while the proportion of people earning less than $10K a year fell substantially. This reflects the growing prosperity of emerging economies in the last decade, a story most of us hardly ever hear about. Credit Suisse

Family planning is an unsung hero in the story of human progress. The number of women and girls using modern contraception in low and lower-middle income countries now stands at 357 million. In the last year alone, their use has averted 135 million unintended pregnancies, 28 million unsafe abortions, and 140,000 maternal deaths. UNFPA

India is on track to meet its SDG targets on child mortality. New figures released by the country's Registrar General show that between 2019 and 2020 there was a 8.6% decline in under five mortality, a 6.7% decline in infant mortality, and a 9.1% decline in neonatal mortality. Economic Times

You might remember that earlier this year we reported Hawaii has reached the milestone of having no girls in its only youth correctional facility — a first in state history. Here's a great story from NBC on how they pulled that off, and how it could be a model for other states to follow.

Violent crime continues to fall in the United States. Between 2012 and 2021, the rate of violent victimization (sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault) declined from 26.1 to 16.5 incidents per 1,000 people. Wouldn't it be nice if this data from Department of Justice appeared in any news outlet other than this one?

Five years after #MeToo went viral, seven in ten adults in the United States say that people who commit sexual harassment in the workplace are now more likely to be held responsible for their actions, and about six in ten say that those who report harassment or assault at work are more likely to be believed. Pew

India's Supreme Court has upheld the right of a woman to an abortion up to 24 weeks into pregnancy regardless of marital status, a decision widely hailed by women's rights activists. This overturns a law dating from 1971, which limited the procedure to married women, divorcees, widows, minors, 'disabled and mentally ill women' and survivors of sexual assault or rape. Reuters

The world's biggest trial of a four day work week, involving 70 firms giving 3,300 employees full pay for 80% of their normal hours, just reached its halfway point. 46% of firms say overall productivity has actually improved, and more than eight in ten say it's working so well they're going to keep on going once the trial ends. Gizmodo

Cubans have overwhelmingly approved gay marriage and adoption in a government-backed referendum that also boosts rights for women. 66.9% of voters said yes to a new family code that legalizes same-sex marriage and civil unions, allows same-sex couples to adopt children, and promotes equal sharing of domestic rights and responsibilities between men and women. Reuters

Impossible. Until it's done.

Poland has welcomed over two million Ukrainian refugees with open arms. Private citizens have spent $2.1 billion on aid, the government has spent $3.4 billion, and 1.2 million Ukrainians have been granted access to health care, education, and social benefits. Attitudes are changing too. 80% of the population now supports taking in refugees fleeing violence and war, up from 49% in 2018. Bloomberg

The Dominican Republic has passed legislation enshrining the rights of domestic workers. They will now have access to minimum wage, defined working hours, insurance coverage, workplace injury protection, survival and disability benefits and inclusion in state pension programs. Latina Republic

"No new extinctions." Australia has unveiled an ambitious ten-year recovery plan for threatened species, including the prevention of any new native animal or plant extinctions. The government has pledged $224.5 million towards the project, and committed to conserving 30% of the continent's land mass. Australian Geographic

Spain has become the first country in Europe to give personhood status to an environmental entity - legally recognising the rights of the Mar Menor lagoon to exist as an ecosystem and evolve naturally. More than 600,000 citizens backed the initiative after the lagoon suffered massive degradation from coastal development and local farming. Euro News

If you're looking for a definition of 'regenerative' how about this? As America’s coal industry recedes, it's leaving behind barren, acidified sites across Appalachia. Chestnut seedlings however, thrive in those soils, and conservationists are now planting tens of thousands of them on former mines across the region. NYT

Did you know last year's infrastructure bill, passed by the US government, contains more than $55 billion in funding for water projects? The first tranche of funding, totalling $7.4 billion, went out at the end of last year, and now another tranche of $1.3 billion has been awarded to 18 states. ENR

After seven years of lobbying, 661,416 hectares of wetland in Argentina has been declared as a new protected area, the Ansenuza National Park. It’s the largest wetland in South America and a crucial ecosystem for 66% of all migratory and shorebird species, including three species of flamingos. WHSRN

The Mar Chiquita wetland is one of the largest saline wetlands in the world, and includes a great diversity of habitats: the vast saline water lagoon, permanent and seasonal freshwater rivers and lagoons, muddy beaches, shrub and cactus thickets, dry Chaco-type forests and extensive flooded grasslands and savannas. Photo: Marcela Castellino

Multiple Indigenous nations across Canada are declaring protected areas based on their own sovereignty. The idea took off in 2018, following the publication of a report showing Indigenous-led conservation could help Canada reach its commitments on climate change and conservation. Half a million square kilometres of protected areas across the country have now been proposed. Narwhal

Europe has closed 87 sensitives zones to bottom trawling in the Atlantic, putting 16,419 km2 of waters below 400 metres off limits. This comes after a ban four years ago on bottom trawling below 800 metres, providing further protection for vulnerable marine ecosystems such as cold water reefs, sea mounts and sea pens. EC

New fishing regulations will ban bottom trawling in Kattegatt, a 30,000 km² sea area between Sweden & Denmark, which is home to porpoises and endangered Swedish shark species. Conservation groups have fought for the measures for over a decade and the new regulations are now the strongest in Europe. Greenpeace

As of Tuesday this week, plastic shopping bags are not allowed in Montreal. The regulations apply to all retail businesses and restaurants, the first of a series of moves designed to make Canada's second largest city zero waste by 2030. Next thing to go is single use plastic in restaurants, starting in March 2023. TVA Nouvelles

Paris is winning its war on cars. Since 1990, the proportion of car journeys has dropped by 45%, public transport use has risen by 30%, and cycling has increased tenfold. Next up: a new citywide speed limit of 30 km/h, car-free zones outside schools, and 'peaceful zones,' that make it illegal to drive through the city centre without stopping. RTBC

Poaching is less of a threat to sea turtles than it used to be, with a new analysis showing illegal poaching has dropped sharply around the world in the last decade. The numbers are reflected in anecdotal reports from conservationists too. In Lousiana, for example, hatchlings have been spotted on the uninhabited Chandeleur Islands for the first time in over 75 years. PBS

Conservationists are celebrating the recovery of the snail darter, a small freshwater fish native to the Tennessee river. In the 1970s, the fish became the focus of a Supreme Court ruling and an act of Congress when a proposed dam threatened its extinction. It was transplanted to the Hiwassee and Holston rivers and today can be found in several additional locations. Mirage

European populations of mammals and birds are bouncing back following decades of successful conservation initiatives. Most of the 50 species tracked for a new report, including bison, lynx, wolves, beavers and bears, are increasing in numbers and spreading to new areas across the continent. “It shows that, if you take measures, wild animals can recover.” Bloomberg

New animal welfare legislation in New Zealand will ban live animal exports by sea from April 2023. Although the country only exports animals for breeding, not slaughter, its remoteness means animals are at sea for extended periods, heightening welfare-associated risks. Guardian

After been hunted to extinction 400 years ago, Eurasian beavers have been declared a protected species in England, making it illegal to capture, kill, injure, or disturb them. Wildlife organisation have praised the move, saying beavers' dams help keep water clean and prevent flooding and drought. BBC


Based on the headlines, you'd expect the global energy crisis to have caused an increase in coal and gas in 2022. Except that's not what happened, at least in the electricity sector. In the first half of 2022, renewables and hydro met all of the growth in global electricity demand, preventing a 4% increase in fossil generation, avoiding $40 billion in fuel costs, and avoiding 230 Mt of CO2.

It's worth drilling down on the numbers for the world's four biggest emitters. In China, wind and solar additions caused fossil fuel power to fall 3%, rather than rise by 1%. In India, they slowed down the rise from 12% to 9%, and in the United States, from 7% down to 1%. In Europe, they prevented a major carbon bomb; without wind and solar, fossil fuel generation would have risen by 16% instead of 6%.

Why are we reporting this for the second time in a row? Because meeting additional global demand with clean electricity is the first step to stopping growth in fossil fuels. Only once we achieve that can we begin phasing dirty energy down. Huge, huge milestone for the global clean energy transition. Ember

What if the the US Senate passed an international climate treaty so powerful it could avert nearly 1°F of global warming, and nobody noticed? That's pretty much what happened last week. Fortunately, Robinson Meyer has it covered over at the Atlantic.

Utility scale solar is now a third cheaper than fossil gas in the United States, "presenting a deflationary opportunity for electric supply costs" (hello Inflation Reduction Act). That's why there is now a mind-bending amount of solar in the country's interconnection queues, 674 GW to be precise, 284 GW of which includes batteries. Bloomberg

A recent report from the IEA says that to meet global climate goals, the world needs to mobilize $90 billion in public funding for commercial-scale demonstration projects by 2026. Never going to happen right? Except it already has. Last week, 16 countries delivered $94 billion in funding, exceeding and achieving the goal four years early. Department of Energy

Loy Yang, Australia's most polluting power plant, is going to be shut ten years earlier than planned. Fantastic news! The giant brown coal station generates about 30% of the state of Victoria's power every year, and emits twice the amount of CO₂ as every gas power generator in the national electricity marker combined. SMH

It's been a good few weeks for the clean energy transition in Australia. Victoria announced a target of 6.3 GW of storage by 2035, enough to power half the state's homes at peak energy use, and Queensland, the heartland of Australia's coal industry, announced a plan to get 80% of its energy from renewables by 2035.

It's been a good few weeks for the energy transition in Germany. The country's largest coal power company, RWE, which owns more than a quarter of the remaining coal fleet, is bringing forward its phaseout date by eight years to 2030, and the largest coal miner, LEAG, is investing €10 billion to turn 33,000 hectares of its mining assets into Germany's largest green energy hub.

Portugal has raised its debut offshore wind power auction target to 10 GW, more than three times the target at the start of 2022. That kind of capacity should be able to produce around 45 TWh a year, equivalent to 90% of the country's 2021 national electricity consumption. In a single auction. Reuters

Beginning in April 2025, Tokyo the largest city in the world, will require all newly constructed homes to have solar panels. The regulation will make it the first prefecture in Japan to have such a requirement, and will affect a hefty percentage of all new buildings. ZME

In 2020, electric vehicles accounted for 5% of all new car sales in China. In 2021, the proportion had shot up to 13%, blowing every forecast out of the water. For 2022, electric cars are on track to hit more than the a quarter of all car sales. “We have reached a point where we’re competing on price, we’re competing on features. It’s not a subsidy thing. The market is taking over.” Exponential View

In Germany, electric cars aren't the future. They're the present. Plugin vehicles hit 28% market share in August, and Tesla isn't even in the top five brands by overall sales. The most registered passenger electric car in Germany so far this year? The Fiat 500 electric. Clean Technica

Can Europe decarbonize its heavy industry? The answer, increasingly, seems to be yes, thanks to tougher emissions targets, rising carbon prices, changing consumer demand and most importantly, low carbon technologies coming of age. More than 70 projects across the continent are now commercialising decarbonization in basic-materials industries. Economist

Ford's electric vehicle sales tripled in September, driving an increase of 16% in overall deliveries in the latest quarter. The company's increased the price of the electric F-15o twice in the last month. Also, responding to 'overwhelming demand,' the EPA is nearly doubling the money available to states to buy electric models of the iconic yellow school buses that millions of children ride every day.

New York is following in California’s footsteps with a new regulation that requires all new passenger cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs to be zero emissions by 2035. Oh, and electric vehicle charging sites now outnumber petrol stations in Manhattan by ten to one, and are fast approaching parity across all five boroughs. Autoblog

Another week, another electric plane. Or how about two? Swedish company Heart Aerospace has unveiled its ES-30, a regional hybrid-electric plane with a capacity of 30 passengers, and in Washington, US startup Eviation has completed the first test flight of its nine passenger prototype. “It’s an opportunity to build the future of aviation. It’s revolutionary.”

Impossible. Until it's done.

10th September 2022 - 23rd September 2022

The WHO says the end of the COVID-19 pandemic is officially in sight. Weekly reported deaths have fallen to their lowest level since March 2020 and attention is now turning towards helping countries 'finish the race'.

Over the past two decades the Global Fund has saved 44 million lives from three of the world’s deadliest epidemics, AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. One of the biggest drivers of the fund’s success is its community-led approach. It was one of the first international organisations to give community groups a voice and representation at board level.

Global AIDS deaths fell to 650,000 in 2021, down by more than 11% since 2019. While the fight is far from over and huge challenges still remain, it's an extraordinary achievement. The tens of thousands of activists, donors and healthcare workers who made it happen deserve more recognition (they sure aren't getting any from global media). UNAIDS

Leprosy has decreased from over five million cases a year in the 1980s to just 133,802 in 2021. In the past decade there has been a 42.5%  decrease in new global cases. Multidrug therapies and screening programs have been instrumental in reducing transmission and 14 countries have reported no new child cases for five consecutive years. WHO

Have you heard of the UNFPA Supplies Partnership? It's one of the most impactful, yet least known aid programs of all time, delivering contraceptives and maternal health medicine to adolescents and women around the world. Since 2008 it's prevented 89 million unintended pregnancies, 26.8 million unsafe abortions, 254,000 maternal deaths, and saved 1.6 million children.

Tanzania is one of the world's worst affected countries by malaria - but has made significant progress in the last decade thanks to bed nets, insecticides, and a new vaccine. Malaria-related deaths decreased by 71% between 2015 and 20121, and prevalence among primary school children has also nearly halved, falling from 21.6% in 2015 to 11.8% in 2021. Global Citizen

The poverty rate in America plummeted to 7.8% in 2021, the lowest level on record, cutting the number of children in poverty by nearly half. "Even temporary support can have lasting impact. There is a great literature that shows improvements in income, especially at early ages, have long-term payoffs for kids."

Youth crime has reached its lowest level on record in the United States. In 2020, there were an 424,300 arrests for violent crime involving persons younger than 18. That's 38% lower than the number of arrests in 2019, half the number of arrests from five years earlier, and 78% below the 1994 peak. Naturally, this story has been making headlines everywhere. OJJDP

Oklahoma, which once had the highest incarceration rate in the US, has achieved remarkable success in reducing prison populations. A series of bipartisan bills has led to a 21% decline in prison populations in the past five years — from 28,342 in 2017 to 22,341 in 2022. Among other achievements, the number imprisoned for felony offenses has fallen by a third, and for drug offenses by 62%.

Tess Harjo, left, embraces her grandmother, Sally Taylor, right, after being released from the Eddie Warrior Correctional Center in Taft, Oklahoma, November 2019. Sue Ogrocki/AP

Incredible thread summarising efforts in the US to reform bail. Hundreds of thousands more people are free and hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars have been saved, without any correlated increase in crime. Turns out people are less likely to commit crime if you let them return to their jobs and communities. "We can have more freedom, more fairness, and more safety all at once.”

El Salvador, once known as the 'murder capital of the world' has substantially reduced its murder rate since 2015. Seven years ago, the rate was 103 homicides per 100,000 people - the highest in the world. In 2021, that had dropped to 18 per 100,000, and the downward trend has continued into 2022. El Salvador Info

Equatorial Guinea, one of the world’s most authoritarian countries, has become the latest nation to get rid of the death penalty. Capital punishment has been 'totally abolished' in the central African country after the president signed a new penal code earlier this week. Guardian

After decades of advocacy by labour activists, Spain has passed a landmark law improving the rights of domestic workers. The new regulations, which enter into force on the 1st October 2022, will give over 370,000 domestic workers (almost all women) the right to unemployment benefits, appeal against unfair dismissal, and health and safety protections equivalent any other employed person. ILO

Poland has welcomed over two million Ukrainian refugees with open arms. Private citizens have spent $2.1 billion on aid, the government has spent $3.4 billion, and 1.2 million Ukrainians have been granted access to health care, education, and social benefits. The war is also changing attitudes. 8 in 10 Poles now support taking refugees that are fleeing violence and war, up from 49% in 2018. Bloomberg

Yvon Chouinard, the ‘existential dirtbag’ who founded Patagonia, has given away the entire company to a trust that will use future profits to fight the climate crisis. "Earth is now our only shareholder. Instead of extracting value from nature and transforming it into wealth for investors, we’ll use the wealth Patagonia creates to protect the source of all wealth." Guardian

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States has says that concentrations of CFCs, the harmful chemicals that damage the ozone layer, have now dropped by just over 50% compared to the 1980s. Scientists say it is a “significant milestone” on the path to recovery. Euro News

The US Senate has ratified the Kigali Amendment, a global climate treaty that formally phases down the use of HFCs, the industrial chemicals that replaced CFCs in the 1980s. Republicans supported the phase-down as being good for business, while Democrats and climate activists praised it as good climate policy. NYT

Chip Wilson, the founder of Lululemon, has pledged $75.8 million to acquire wilderness in British Columbia. It's one of the largest philanthropic gifts in Canadian history, and will be used to buy forests and repurchase mining, forestry and other resource licenses, turning huge tracts of land into parks managed by indigenous communities. Bloomberg

Two inspiring river stories for you. In the Netherlands rewilding experts are undoing 500 years of engineering on the Meuse River, a project described as Europe’s largest river restoration. In Canada, indigenous communities are co-leading an effort with the government to restore the estuary of the Squamish River, "reopening its lungs, and bringing back the natural being of it.”

Three great ocean conservation stories too. The Republic of the Congo has created its first ever marine protected areas, covering 4,000 km2 off the West African coast, Albania has declared its Porto-Palermo Bay as a nature park, and after a decade of work Canada has unveiled a blueprint for a vast network of marine protected areas across the northern third of its West Coast.

Make it four. 20 years ago, Indonesia's Raja Ampat archipelago was in trouble due to unsustainable fishing practices. In 2004 authorities incorporated it into a network of over 20,000 km2 of protected areas, and today fish populations have rebounded, coral is recovering and livelihoods for local communities have improved. Earlier this year it was given a Blue Parks Award. CNN

After a decade of efforts, Sweden has hit a new recycling record, collecting 552,600 tonnes of packaging in 2021, an increase of 6% since 2020. On average, each Swede handed in 53 kg of packaging including 23.2 kg of glass, 18.9 kg of paper and 9 kg of plastic. Warp

Over the past decade Bridgestone has invested more than $100 million into eco-tyres made from guayule, a drought-friendly shrub that produces a compound that's good enough for race tyres. The eco-tyres have been tested on Indy Cars for over a year and provide 'similar or better performance' than traditional rubber tyres. Ars Technica

A Firestone race tire made from guayule plants, pictured next to the little woody shrubs that made it possible.

Italy has officially banned the slaughter of male chicks to end the culling of up to 40 million young birds by the egg industry each year. It follows two years of campaigning by activists, starting with a petition in 2020. France and Germany have also banned culling and a similar petition in the US has exceeded 50,000 signatures. Plant Based News

The world’s largest shipping company, the Mediterranean Shipping Company, is rerouting its fleet to avoid collisions with endangered blue whales off the southern tip of Sri Lanka. The company is working with scientists and marine experts to modify its navigation guidance to reduce the risk of a ship striking a whale by 95%. Business Insider

After being driven to extinction in the United Kingdom in 1979, the large blue butterfly has just had its best year since record keeping began 150 years ago. The success is thanks to reintroduction efforts that began in 1983, and the establishment of multiple protected habitats across southwest England. Ecowatch

There has been a string of recent successes in rewilding the osprey across the UK. After being hunted to extinction in the 19th and early 20th centuries, there are now close to 300 breeding pairs across the British Isles. “It’s been a tremendous success. From a human perspective, we’re making good on what we destroyed." Guardian

The US federal duck stamp program is one of the most successful conservation programs ever created. Since 1934, it's raised $1.1 billion through sales of stamps, and helped conserve more than six million acres of habitat. Earlier this week the Interior Department announced another $105 million of funding to conserve or restore 116,305 acres of habitat for waterfowl and other birds in 18 states. Mirage

Two of the world's top universities have recently published research proving that saving Planet Earth really is cheaper than ruining it. Last month, Marc Jacobson and his team at Stanford showed that for 145 countries, a transition to 100% wind, water, solar and storage would pay for itself within six years, and create 28 million new jobs. 95% of the technologies needed are already fully commercial.

Now another study from Oxford has come to a similar conclusion, showing that switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy could save the world as much as $12 trillion by 2050. If solar, wind, batteries and electrolysers stay on their learning curves for another decade, we will achieve a near-net-zero emissions energy system within just 25 years.

Feels impossible, until it's done. Take California. For years, it clung to its contradictory status as both a climate leader and prolific fossil fuel producer. But no longer. Among the flurry of bills that's been passed in recent weeks are a set of extraordinary, once unthinkable restrictions on the state’s oil and gas industry. New Republic

Well that happened fast. Clean energy now provides more employment globally than fossil fuels, according to the International Energy Agency. Clean energy, which under IEA’s definition includes nuclear power, is now estimated to account for 40 million jobs, more than half of the 65 million energy sector jobs globally.

Contrary to the stories we've been getting from almost every media outlet in the world, Russia's invasion of Ukraine has reduced fossil fuels usage. While global power demand in the first half of 2022 grew by 2.5%, emissions fell by around 1%. Coal consumption by power plants dropped 1.2% and gas saw a small decline too, compared with a 17% jump in wind and solar output. Bloomberg

Installations of rooftop solar in Spain have increased ten-fold in 2022. Favourable rules and ample room for expansion, combined with soaring costs for other forms of energy, have accelerated what was already a very strong growth trend in the sun-drenched nation. Who's responsible? See above. Bloomberg

Nine nations bordering the North Sea have announced a massive increase in targets for offshore wind power in the coming decades. The numbers are insane. 76GW by 2030, 193 GW by 2040 and 260 GW by mid-century. To put this in perspective, current capacity in the region is less than 20GW. Time to build. AP

Samsung, one of Asia's biggest industrial giants, has committed to reaching net zero for its mobile, television and consumer electronics divisions by 2030, and across all global operations including semiconductors by 2050. Pepsi and agriculture giant ADM are partnering to implement regenerative agricultural practices on two million acres of American farmland by 2030.

Norway's sovereign wealth fund will require all companies it invests in to reach net zero by 2050. This might not sound like a big carbon coup, but it is. The fund is estimated to own around 1.3% of the global stock market, putting it in a position to exert genuine pressure on major companies to clean up their act. Reuters

Liaoning, a province in the northeast of China that was once one of the country's major coal and industrial hubs, has launched a $87 billion plan to expand clean energy production. The province is planning 60GW of renewables, nuclear and virtual power plants, enough combined generation to power all of Thailand. Bloomberg

Japan is forecasting a huge wave of power plant closures this decade. Its Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is now predicting over 43 GW of thermal capacity shutting by 2030. That's 50% higher than previous estimates, and represents a quarter of all the country's fossil fuels capacity. Bloomberg Japan

Electric vehicles are exploding across the United States. Market share in the southeast has doubled compared to last year, Hertz just announced plans to order 175,000 EVs from General Motors, Bloomberg has updated its forecasts to 50% market share by 2030, and none of the car companies can keep up. WSJ

Spain is getting serious about cleaning up its air. Due to legislation passed last year, all municipalities with 50,000 residents or more will have to implement low-emission zones within their borders in 2023. According to one Spanish news source, that’s nearly 150 Spanish municipalities. Clean Technica

That's part of a wider trend. The number of clean air zones across Europe has risen 40% since 2019. Low-emission zones have now been introduced in 320 European city regions, a figure expected to rise to 507 by 2025. All ten of the continent's most popular tourist cities now restrict petrol and diesel clunkers. C'mon Straya. Guardian

Thyssenkrupp, Germany’s largest flat steel manufacturer, has formally decided to begin the move away from coal at its flagship Duisburg plant due to customer demand for green steel. Starting in 2026, 2.5 million tonnes a year will be made using hydrogen-powered direct reduction, about 6% of all German steel production.

If exponential growth in solar and wind blew your mind... if you never saw the electric vehicle rocket coming... we've got news for you. Heat pumps are next. Switching to one is one of the few individual actions you can take to drastically reduce your climate impact. Wondering where to start? Try this.

Mercedes-Benz just unveiled its long haul trucking prototype. The engineering is incredible - 500 kilometres per charge, 10 ton payload, 1.2 million km battery life, no tail pipe pollution, hardly any noise and regenerative braking. A timely reminder that electric vehicles don't just replace combustion engine vehicles, they're actually better on multiple counts.

Volvo is launching three new massive electric truck models. Full scale production has begun on the the Volvo FM, Volvo FH, and Volvo FMX. Each weighs up to 44 tonnes, and designed to cover a wide range of applications including city distribution, refuse handling, regional transport, and construction work. Business Green

"Batteries will never be able to handle heavy-duty trucking."

21st August 2022 - 9th September 2022

Countries in southeast Asia have made substantial progress towards eliminating measles, with 5 out of 11 achieving elimination in the last two decades. Measles cases declined by 92% between 2002 and 2020, and the death rate decreased by 97% - saving an estimated 9.3 million lives during this period. WHO

Maternal mortality rates in Zimbabwe declined from 657 deaths per 100,000 births in 2007, to 217 per 100,000 births in 2019. Significant improvements in maternal, neonatal and child health as well as interventions to reduce HIV, malaria and TB are working. Egypt and South Africa have also seen declines. BMJ

A malaria vaccine with 'world-changing' potential has been developed by scientists at Oxford, who expect to roll it out next year after trials showed up to 80% protection from the world's deadly animal. A deal has already been reached to manufacture 100 million doses a year. The charity Malaria No More says it might mean children dying from malaria could end "in our lifetimes". BBC

Togo has become the first country to eliminate four neglected tropical diseases: dracunculiasis, lymphatic filariasis, human African trypanosomiasis and trachoma. All four were eliminated in just eleven years. These diseases are symptoms of extreme poverty, and lifting their burden will lead to social and economic benefits. WHO

This is an outstanding achievement and a gift not only for the people of Togo today but for generations to come.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General
WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti (left) and WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (right), congratulate Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbé during the 72nd Session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa, in Lomé, on the 22nd August 2022.

Iran is on the cusp of eradicating illiteracy, with the rate now surpassing 98%, a huge leap from just 48% in the 1970s. The country has also closed its literacy gender gap from 23% in 1976 to less than 6.1% in 2020. Meanwhile, government efforts in Cambodia have increased the literacy rate among adults from 77.6% in 2008 to 87.8% in 2020.

In its 75 years since independence, India has made astounding progress in public healthcare: eradicating both polio and smallpox, decreasing HIV and malaria, and reducing the infant mortality rate from a harrowing 200/1,000 births in the 1940s to just over 27 per 1,000 births today. Healthcare efforts have more than doubled average life expectancy from 32 years in 1947 to 70 years in 2022. Times Now

Fewer families in India are using prenatal testing to ensure the birth of sons rather than daughters. The imbalance of boys to girls peaked in 2011, with 111 boys per 100 girls. Government efforts to curb sex selection and cultural shifts over the past decade are starting to normalise the balance with 108 boys per 100 girls recorded in 2021. Pew

India’s ambitious Jal Jeevan Mission, which aims to connect piped water to 192 million households by 2024, is over halfway to meeting its goal, having reached a 100 million homes. The initiative is already reaping huge benefits in public health, with a 66% decline in water-borne diseases in areas provided with clean drinking water. Hindustan Times

A little girl and her grandmother smile as they fill their bottles with running tap water in a remote village in Leh, India. The photograph was taken in Umla - a village where residents used to have to travel long distances for access to clean water earlier. Today, however, every household has assured tap water supply even in sub-zero temperatures.

Singapore's controversial 377A law has been repealed, effectively decriminalizing homosexuality. While there is still a long way to go in fighting discrimination, the landmark decision marks a significant shift in attitude for a country where LGBTQ+ rights were completely taboo a few decades ago. BBC

After years of advocacy, Vietnam has taken a big step forward in LGBTQ+ rights, with the government declaring that being gay, bisexual, or transgender is not a disease and urging practitioners to end discrimination in medical care. Meanwhile Canada has joined the UK, Ireland, and the Netherlands in creating a national LGBTQ+ action plan, pledging $100 million to support community groups.

Historic legislation in Spain with the passing of the 'only yes means yes' law. Its the result of one woman's campaign after she was raped by five men during the 2016 bull-running festival in Pamplona. Under the new law, sexual consent must be affirmative and cannot be assumed by default or silence. Guardian

The tides of public opinion are shifting in America, with 66% of voters now supporting a woman's right to choose, up from 55% in March. Approval of interracial marriage continues to climb too. According to Gallup, it's reached a new high of 94% - up from just 4% when the  poll was first taken in 1958.

Attitudes can and do change, sometimes in less than a generation.

Smoking in the United States has reached its lowest levels ever, with just 11% of people saying they now smoke cigarettes. Good news, because smoking is the cause of about 20% of all cancers, and lung cancer is the leading cause of all cancer deaths. The decline in smoking is one of the main reasons cancer deaths have fallen by 27% in the last two decades.

Japan’s roads are now among the safest in the world, recording less than 3,000 fatalities in 2021- a more than five fold decrease since the 1970s. The dramatic decline is attributed to the country’s innovative approach to public transport, including the world’s first bullet trains, no on-street parking in neighbourhoods and the introduction of microcars. Bloomberg

Did you know that the Inflation Reduction Act contains the largest single round of funding for conservation in the history of the United States? Audubon

  • $4 billion for drought resilience and water conservation in the American West.
  • $2 billion for wildfire risk reduction, including funds for nature-based solutions like beavers, to restore natural hydrology and reconnect river systems.
  • $450 million to help private landowners manage forests and to provide incentives to conserve more forest ecosystems.
  • $220 million for tribal climate resilience and $550 million for disadvantaged communities to plan, design, and build water projects that create or improve reliable access to water.
  • $2 billion for forest management to make national forests more resilient to climate change, and to provide important bird habitat and ecosystem services like water quality, flood control, and carbon storage.
  • $1.5 billion in grants for urban and community forestry.
  • Hundreds of millions of dollars for wetland conservation and restoration.
  • $121 million for rebuilding and restoring parts of the National Wildlife Refuge System and state wildlife areas.
  • $2 billion for forest management to make national forests more resilient to stressors like climate change, and provide important bird habitat and ecosystem services like water quality, flood control, and carbon storage.
  • $2.6 billion dollars for coastal protection and restoration.
  • $20 billion for voluntary conservation programs on private lands throughout the United States.
  • Not bad huh?
Bald Eagle. Photo: Rajan Desai/Audubon Photography Awards

Two years ago, the US Congress passed the Great American Outdoors Act, a bipartisan victory decades in the making. Since then, more than 220 repair projects across nine national parks from Alcatraz to Yosemite have been funded to upgrade trails and amenities, contributing $3.8 billion to economic output and creating over 36,000 jobs. NPCA

Florida has acquired nearly 20,000 acres of land for conservation, rounding off the Florida Wildlife Corridor, a recently designated network of connected lands that provide crucial habitat for wildlife. South Carolina is linking ecologically significant landscapes across its Hampton and Jasper counties to create a 12,000 acre stretch of protected land, and in New Mexico, a collaboration between private landowners, government, and conservationists has protected over 54,000 acres.

A 30-year marine conservation effort in the Virgin Islands has helped recover the red hind, a species of grouper in the Caribbean. Fishing restrictions and seasonal closures of spawning sites have resulted in a 35% increase in average fish size and recovered the population to a sustainable benchmark. Phys

In the 19th century, puffins were hunted to extinction on islands off the coast of Maine. In 1981, conservationists started the world’s first restoration of a seabird to habitats where humans had killed it off. Today, there are more than 1,300 pairs of puffins across several islands - the only state in the US where the bird breeds. EHN

Biologist Linda Welch places a puffin back inside one of the “condos” she built to promote successful breeding. Credit: Derrick Z. Jackson

Indonesia has pledged to increase its marine protected areas by from 284,000 km2 to 325,000  km2 by 2030. The country is home to some of the most diverse marine life on the planet, especially its corals and reef fish. By 2045, the government plans to triple coverage to 975,000 km2. Mongabay

362,000 hectares of national park and freehold land in Queensland’s Cape York have been returned to its traditional owners, heralding a “new era” for the peninsula. Over the past 27 years the Queensland government has handed back over 4.3 million hectares of land, an area the size of Switzerland. Guardian

Farmers and landowners across England are leading a ‘once in a generation’ landscape recovery scheme to revive biodiversity in 22 areas, while still producing food. Collectively, the project aims to restore nearly 700km of rivers across farmed and rural landscapes and revive 263 species including water vole, otter, pine marten, lapwing, great crested newt, European eel, and marsh fritillary. Guardian

The key is this is a collaboration with farmers. What I find really encouraging is farmers, landowners and environmental NGOs working together on solutions that work at a local landscape level so we can design something that’s fit for purpose and fit for the future.
Jake Fiennes, Conservation Director, Holkham Estate

In the past decade, Gabon has increased its elephant population by over a third to 95,000 animals. The success is attributed to tough penalties for poachers and smugglers and legislation to protect Gabon’s equatorial rainforest, which boasts the largest populations of gorillas and forest elephants in the world. Times

16 Indigenous communities in drought-stricken parts of Mexico have created over 579 water infrastructure projects, including absorption wells and water pans, to help manage and harvest water locally. Initiated by a handful of women in 2005, the projects are capturing enough water to regenerate soils for crops and boosting the return of wild fauna and flora. Mongabay

In 1986, the last remaining 22 Californian condors were captured from the wild in a drastic attempt to save them from rodenticide and environmental toxins. In this case, human intervention paid off. Thanks to the collaboration of government agencies, scientists, and indigenous tribes, 537 birds now soar over North America today, 334 of them in the wild. RTBC

New York’s waterways are the cleanest they’ve been in over a century and the animals are coming back. Significant numbers of humpback, fin and right whales have started appearing along with bottlenose dolphins, spinner and hammerhead sharks, seals, blue crabs, seahorses, and oysters which vanished decades ago. Economist

“A massive victory for the planet.” A South African court has banned Shell from searching for oil and gas reserves along the country’s Wild Coast. Conservation groups took the oil giant to court after the government renewed exploration rights in 2021. 6,000 km of coastline is now protected, which is good news for humpback whales that migrate to the waters each year to mate and rear calves. Euro News

One of the hallmarks of the global clean energy revolution is the consistent inability of most journalists to predict its speed. Case in point: the polysilicon sector is now betting on annual sales of 940GW of solar by 2025. That's 5.8% of global electricity demand, every year, or the equivalent of the world’s entire fleet of 438 nuclear plants every 20 months. Bloomberg

It's not just that journalists underestimate clean energy, it's that they consistently overestimate coal too. Remember the US coal surge last year? It's already finished. And in China, coal consumption fell for 12 straight months between June 2021 and June 2022, before ticking up in July and August due to extreme weather. Guess what people hear about? Carbon Brief

California, the world’s fifth-largest economy, just passed its most aggressive ever climate change legislation. Lawmakers approved a record $54 billion in climate spending and passed sweeping new restrictions on oil and gas drilling as well as a mandate that California stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by 2045. NYT

California regulators have also officially put in place a plan to ban the sale of gasoline-powered cars by 2035. This is big. Not only is California the largest auto market in the United States, but more than a dozen other states typically follow its lead when setting standards. Officials in New York, Washington, Oregon and Rhode Island already say they're planning to implement similar regulations. CNN

In the aftermath of the Inflation Reduction Act, analysts are now predicting 'staggering' amounts of clean energy coming online in the United States. Wind, solar and batteries account for over 95% of capacity in interconnection queues, and check out the new forecasts for coal plant retirements too. Ouch. S&P

Global offshore wind is on a tear. Almost 7GW went into operation in the first half of this year, a close to five fold increase on last year. 33 offshore farms started operations, almost all of them in China, plus a few in Vietnam and Europe. China now has 24.9GW of installed capacity. Renew Biz

Europe's doing its best to catch up. Eight EU countries bordering the Baltic Sea have agreed to increase their offshore wind power generation capacity seven-fold by 2030 in order to reduce dependency on Russian energy. Chalk up another one for everyone's favourite climate hero in the Kremlin. Reuters

Solar installations in India rose by 59% in the first half of this year, to a record 7.2 GW, bringing the country's total installed capacity to 57 GW. "Even with mounting challenges from supply constraints and rising costs, India had its best quarter and first half ever for solar." Economic Times

Solar is now regularly outcompeting coal on the Australian grid in winter, and it's happening earlier every year. In the process, the country's coal fleet has been revealed as neither cheap nor reliable. Next big milestone should arrive in a few years, when wind and solar are producing 100% of grid demand at any one time. RE

Europe has smashed all its solar records this summer, generating a record 12% of electricity between May and August, up from 9% during the same period last year. Those solar panels saved the continent €29bn in fossil gas imports. The numbers are astonishing - since 2018, Poland has increased solar generation by a factor of 26, and Finland and Hungary have seen five-fold increases. Ember

Four more global insurance providers have ruled out support for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, bringing the total number to 12. The pipeline poses a threat not just to climate goals, but to ecosystems in east Africa too. This move is significant, because it won't go ahead without substantial levels of international insurance. StopEACOP

France has become the first country in the world to ban fossil fuel advertising. Under new rules, supermarkets cannot run ads for cheap petrol, for instance, and ads for natural gas will be banned too. Activists say it doesn't go far enough - but we would argue that the symbolism is really what matters here, showing that fossil fuels are heading the same way as big tobacco. Euronews

Electric vehicle batteries are lasting far longer than predicted, meaning there's plenty of life after use as backup storage in big solar arrays. The big worry was that all the batteries would end up in landfill, but it now looks like the opposite problem is taking shape - there's more recycling capacity coming online than there is battery scrap available. Bloomberg

A total of $15 billion of investment into four US gigafactories has been announced in the last two months, enough to more than double the country's entire current production capacity. The announcements, from Panasonic, Honda and Toyota, will increase forecast US battery production capacity by 60% by 2025.

EV adoption in the US is happening for quicker than anyone predicted, with sales projections for 2030 more than doubling to 53%. Ford, for example, has seen a four-fold increase in EV sales, and cannot keep up with demand for its F-150 electric trucks, which are being sold, on average, eight days after hitting dealerships, the fastest for any current Ford vehicle.

Volkswagen, the only legacy carmaker in the top 12 for global EV sales, has a new CEO, Oliver Blume. Here's what he says about the company's electrification plans. "I am a fan of e-mobility and I stand by this path. We will keep the current pace and, where possible, increase it." Reuters

6th August 2022 - 20th August 2022

World population growth has fallen to 1%, its slowest rate since 1950. The main cause? A decline in fertility. The latest projections suggests a peak around 10.4 billion in the 2080s. That means we have 78 years to figure out how to provide 11 billion people with a good standard of sustainable living. The Week

The WHO says the global child mortality rate has dropped by 60% over the past three decades, with the number of annual under-5 deaths plummeting from 12.6 million in 1990 to five million in 2020. The leading causes of death are birth complications, pneumonia, diarrhoea, and malaria, all of which are now being treated with affordable interventions in health and sanitation.

Children are leading the fight against dengue in Rio de Janeiro by breeding mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia - a bacteria that blocks the transmission of dengue to humans. Cases have fallen by 95% since 2015. Similar efforts in Indonesia and Colombia have reduced cases by up to 89%, and programs are now being rolled out across Mexico, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Fiji, Kiribati, New Caledonia, and Vanuatu.

Cervical cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in Rwanda. Thanks to rapidly expanding testing facilities, the deployment of tens of thousands of community health workers, and a successful HPV vaccination programme for 12 year old girls, officials believe it is on track to become the first country in the world to eliminate the disease. Guardian

Here's one of the least celebrated stories of human progress. Teenage pregnancies are declining across the world, with only a third of all women bearing children in adolescence compared to 50% sixty years ago. The decline is contributing to a positive change in girls' education, and infant and maternal mortality rates. ORF

Healthy life expectancy (the number of years spent in a good state of health) increased in Africa by an average of ten years per person over the last two decades, from 46 years in 2000 to 56 years in 2019. Improved access to health services and progress in the fight against infectious diseases have played a big role. Relief Web

The sharp rise in healthy life expectancy during the past two decades is a testament to the region’s drive for improved health and it means that more people are living healthier, longer lives, with fewer threats of infectious diseases and with better access to care and disease prevention services.
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa

Global leaders and African heads of state have managed to rally over $4 billion of funding towards the global effort to end malaria and neglected tropical diseases. It's welcome news after years of warnings about a slowdown in funding. Relief Web

Zambia has become the latest country to commit to abolishing the death penalty. While a moratorium has been in place since 1997, this is the first time the measure has been approved by its legislature. It joins a growing list of African nations to have abolished the practice - Guinea in 2016, followed by Chad in 2020, Sierra Leone in 2021, and the Central African Republic earlier this year. UN

A non-profit group, RIP Medical Debts, has relieved 3.6 million low-income patients in the United States of their healthcare debts. The initiative, developed by two former debt collectors, involves the company buying bundles of delinquent hospital bills but instead of profiting from customers, clearing their debt. NPR

Scotland has become the first country to offer tampons and pads for free nationally. Thanks to legislation approved in 2020, free menstrual products will be available in pharmacies and community centres for anyone who needs them. New Zealand, Kenya and the states of New York, Virginia and Oregon currently distribute products for free in public schools. NPR

New legislation in Colorado will stop sales tax on all diapers and menstrual products, saving consumers around $9.1 million annually. Nationally, one in four American teenagers report missing school due to no access to period products and one in three American families can’t afford diapers. Gazette

An epic 18-day health campaign carried out in Somalia in May 2022 distributed preventative worm medicine to around 2.48 million school-aged children and adults. Officials say that country is on track to eliminate schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminth infections as public health problems by 2025. WHO

School-aged children receive essential medicines to tackle schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminth infections. It's the fourth mass drug administration campaign for NTDs in Somalia since 2017. WHO Somalia/Khurram Sajjad.

In the past seven years, India’s digital revolution has increased the number of people connected to the internet from 19% to 60% of its 1.3 billion population. The government launched Digital India in 2015 with a mission to make India a trillion-dollar digital economy by 2025. BBC

After a decade of efforts to reform the juvenile system in Hawaii, for the first time ever, there are no girls at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility in Kailua. Incarceration rates for girls dropped 42% from 2018 to 2022 due to significant reforms including the decriminalization of prostitution for minors and the addition of trauma-informed care. Hawaii News Now

It’s about how can systems collaborate and work together to position interventions earlier, and to make sure that we’re responding with healing and support instead of punishment.
Hannah Green, Vera Institute of Justice’s Initiative to End Girls’ Incarceration

A victory for LGBTQ+ rights, with Pennsylvania banning conversion therapy. Steady progress has been made across America with 20 states completely banning the practice and five others enforcing partial bans. LGBTQ+ youth who experience conversion therapy are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide than youth who don’t. NBC

Schoolchildren across California will be eligible for free breakfast and lunch when they return to class in September, regardless of their family’s immigration status or income level. It's the first state in the US to implement the program for any student requesting a meal. Several cities including New York, Boston, and Chicago, also have free meal initiatives in place. USA Today

Leuven, a city of 150,000 people in Belgium, has officially banned cars from its centre. Cycling is now the preferred mode of transit, with public transport coming in second and cars third. Similar trends are accelerating across the continent, and across the Channel too - cycling in London is up by 25% from pre-pandemic levels.

Credit: Oh Leuven

Although it’s attracted little attention, the bipartisan CHIPS Act, signed into law just a few days before the IRA, contains an estimated $67 billion for clean energy R&D and climate resilience. On its own, that makes it one of the largest climate bills ever passed by Congress. Vibe shift anyone? Atlantic

Since we are all apparently incapable of feeling good about things, you've probably heard that Joe Manchin shoved in some clauses about oil and gas leases. Thing is, they negate less than 2% of the bill's carbon effectiveness, and even if the government does auction those leases, it doesn't look like the fossil fuel companies want to buy them. Grist

Thanks to a lawsuit brought by environmental activists, a US federal judge has revived a nationwide Obama-era ban on new coal leases that was tossed during the Trump administration, saying a thorough environmental assessment is needed before the moratorium can be lifted. Reuters

Under new regulations, China's steel industry will be required to reach peak CO2 emissions by 2025. Difficult to understate the importance of this (and baffling it hasn't been picked up by global news organizations). China produces more than half of the world's steel, and over 60% of the industry's global carbon emissions. Yicai Global

India has officially updated its climate change pledges. In 2015 it committed to 40% of electricity from non-fossil sources by 2030, and to reducing emissions intensity by 35% compared to 2005. Those targets have now been increased to 50% clean electricity and a 45% reduction in emissions intensity by 2030. Reuters

The Phillipines has confirmed that the moratorium on new coal power plants announced in October 2020 by the Duterte administration will remain in place under the new Marcos administration. Apparently insurers do not want to support new coal projects, and investors are “finding it difficult.” Indeed. Manila Bulletin

Transmission, transmission, transmission. The three sexiest words in energy. State Grid Corp. of China, the world's largest utility, just announced $22 billion in funding for new power lines for clean energy, and MISO, the operator of the US Midwest's electrical grid, has approved a $10.3 billion upgrade across nine states.

Massachusetts has a major new climate law boosting offshore wind and solar, and - in a first for the state - allowing cities and towns to ban fossil fuels in new buildings and renovations. “It really bolsters the offshore wind industry. It sends a signal to the world that Massachusetts will be a significant player in the space.” Boston Globe

The world's biggest battery maker, CATL, is investing $7.6 billion into building a factory in Hungary. It's the single largest investment in Hungary's history. As we've said many times: if you thought the digital revolution was a big deal, wait until the clean energy revolution gets going. Bloomberg

Business time

Conservation goals in Cuba! Almost 19% of the country’s wilderness is now officially protected. The country had a huge boom in the number of protected areas in 2021 with the addition of 26 new sites, bringing the national tally to 144. Cuba News

A landmark legal battle has saved Tasmania’s Tarkine rainforest from the construction of a dam to store toxic mining waste. Forest defenders fought against the proposal, blocking the road to the site for 550 days - and for good reason. The forest is crucial habitat for 60 rare and endangered species including the Tasmanian devil and the masked owl. Euro News

Ten years after an ambitious pest eradication project Macquarie Island, off the coast of Tasmania, has become a shining beacon of grand-scale environmental recovery. Once on the brink of collapse, the island has sprung back to life with giant tussock grass, mega herbs, and orchards and the return of birds like blue and grey petrelsand Antarctic prions. Guardian

A landmark conservation agreement between Indigenous communities, NGOs, and governments in Pastaza, Ecuador, will protect the country’s largest and most biodiverse forest from mining. The agreement recognises the integral role Indigenous communities play in the fight against climate change  Pastaza’s forests capture a whopping 858 million tonnes of carbon annually. Euro News

The Gitxsan Nation of northwest British Columbia has just declared the entirety of its 1,700 square km2 territory in the upper Skeena River watershed as protected. It's vital habitat for the likes of mountain goats, wolverines, grizzlies and wild salmon."What Gwininitxw did was based on laws that are way older than Canada.” Narwhal

Pakistan has increased mangrove coverage in the past three decades from 476 km2 in 1990 to an impressive 1,463 km2 in 2020. What began as a series of small,
piecemeal efforts has grown into one of the most ambitious reforestation campaigns in the world. The success is credited to a scientific approach, government commitment, and strong support from local communities. RTBC

“It surely represents a blueprint for how other degraded mangroves around the world could be revived.” 

Conservation efforts in Scotland are turning the tide on land ownership, with a group of villagers in Langholm fundraising enough to buy 2,100 hectares to add to an existing nature reserve the same size they purchased last year. The grassroots effort aims to restore local wildlife and peatland while creating a flourishing nature-based economy. Euro News

Australia is phasing out battery eggs, after a lengthy battle between the egg industry and animal welfare groups. The reforms, announced yesterday, state that egg producers must phase out the use of conventional layer hen cages over the next 10 to 15 years, and by 2036 at the latest, depending on the age of their current infrastructure. Guardian

Single-use plastic bag use in England has fallen by 20% after an increase in price from 5p to 10p last year. The average person now buys around three single-use carrier bags a year compared with 140 bags in 2014. Since charges were first introduced in 2015, total usage in England has decreased by 97%. BBC

The population of saiga antelope in Kazakhstan has rebounded 10-fold after a fatal disease killed half the population seven years ago. 1.3 million saiga now roam the grasslands, a huge leap from the 130,000 left in 2015. The huge success is thanks to government protection of nearly 5 million ha to support wildlife rehabilitation. New Scientist

Georgia's endangered loggerhead sea turtles are multiplying in record numbers, with conservationists counting 3,966 nests this year, a new record. Biologists and volunteers have worked since the 1990s to boost the population, which has increased by 4% every year. CNN

The number of wolf packs in the Alps has jumped more than 25% in just one year, from 250 in 2021 to over 300. Wolves were nearly eradicated in Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries and activists have worked for decades to revive populations. "The wolf is here to stay." DW

A female wolf and her cubs in the Dolomites. Source: BBC

25th July 2022 - 5th August 2022

Humanity is making steady progress towards eliminating mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B. By 2020, 190 of 194 WHO member states had introduced a universal infant HepB vaccination, compared with 186 in 2016, and 110 states now provide a birth dose to all newborns, a 10% increase from 100 in 2016. WHO

South Nigeria has successfully eliminated maternal and neonatal tetanus. thanks to increased vaccination rates and skilled birth attendees. It's usually caused by unclean abortion or delivery and infections during the first 28 days of life. South-East and South-West Nigeria achieved elimination in 2017 and 2019, respectively. WHO

Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi will expand their rollout of a malaria vaccine for children, thanks to newly announced funding of nearly US$160 million. The three countries were part of a pilot in 2019 that saw 1.3 million children protected, resulting in a substantial drop in hospitalization and child deaths. WHO

A landmark ruling in India has expanded the scope of the country's abortion laws to allow single women to end a 24 week pregnancy if they are a minor, or survivors of sexual violence. India currently allows abortion for all women until 20 weeks of pregnancy. Independent

Secondary school dropout rates among 11-14 year old girls in India have declined to their lowest level ever, from 18.4% in 2017 to 13.7% in 2021. That means almost two million more girls staying in school each year, thanks to a government scheme offering free uniforms and textbooks, sanitary pads and self-defence training. The Print

Credit: Manisha Mondal

Despite COVID disruptions, Chad has increased its vaccination coverage, with the number of children receiving vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis increasing from 50% in 2019 to 58% in 2021. It’s an incredible feat, considering in 2017 Chad had one of the lowest levels of vaccination in the region. Gavi

Cambodia’s poverty rate has plummeted over the past two decades from nearly 40% in 2009 to 17.8% in 2020, driven by rising wages and earnings. The country’s COVID-19 cash transfer programme also helped, assisting 2.8 million people from poor and vulnerable households. Vietnam Plus

Andorra has approved a new family code that eliminates legal differences between married heterosexual couples and gay and lesbian couples in civil partnerships, and the Caribbean nations of Antigua and Barbuda have decriminalized gay sex, removing a colonial era law.

After decades of advocacy, a big victory for LGBTQ+ rights in Michigan. The state has amended its civil rights legislation to ban discrimination in housing, employment, education, and public accommodation against people because of their sexual orientation.

OK you probably did hear about this one. A huge win for womens rights in Kansas with the state voting to protect abortion in this week’s referendum. Kansas is the first state to put abortion rights to a vote since the overturning of Roe vs. Wade and will now remain a safe haven for abortion in the Midwest. Guardian

Nearly half of the state’s registered voters turned out in first electoral test of US abortion rights. Photograph: Travis Heying/AP

British Columbia has become the first Canadian province to end immigration detention in jails. Over the past five years, hundreds of immigrants have been incarcerated in BC with no legal limit on duration. The victory is thanks to the human rights campaign #WelcomeToCanada that launched last October. HRW

Today’s decision is a momentous step. This is a true human rights victory, one which upholds the dignity and rights of people who come to Canada in search of safety or a better life.
Ketty Nivyabandi, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada

The number of Americans living without health insurance has hit a record low of 8%. Since 2020, 5.2 million more people have received coverage, with the biggest uptake by people below the federal poverty line. The welcome news is thanks to extra federal funding during the pandemic and efforts to expand the Affordable Healthcare act. Fierce Healthcare

After a decade of debate, Brazil’s Drink-Driving Law is fully constitutional, and all drivers must now have a blood-alcohol content of zero. Alcohol has been attributed to nearly 10% of all road deaths, which are the leading killer of children aged 5 and 14. This legislation will make a big difference. WHO

Numerous European countries are experimenting with free public transport. Spain, Germany, Estonia, and Luxembourg are already on the bandwagon while Ireland, Italy and Austria have reduced fares or introduced vouchers for lower-income workers. It’s an interesting idea - one day public transport could be a basic human right. Wired

The difference between crime rates in New York and its residents' perception of them has never been wider. Widespread anxiety obscures the fact that crime is actually at decades-long lows. The reason for the mismatch? Views on crime are influenced more by what people see in the news than by hard numbers. Bloomberg

A milestone five decades in the making, the UN General Assembly has declared access to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment to be a universal human right. This is a profound shift in the way we see ourselves, and a crucial part of the moral framework we need if our species is going to succesfully make it out of our industrial phase.

From a foothold in the 1972 Stockholm Declaration, the right has been integrated into constitutions, national laws and regional agreements. Today’s decision elevates the right to where it belongs: universal recognition.
Inger Andersen, United Nations Environment Chief

A new electricity law in Bosnia has banned the construction of small hydroelectric power plants, saving the country’s 244 rivers from over 350 planned projects. The victory comes after a decade of court battles and protests by Balkan activists to protect Europe’s last wild rivers. ABC

Meat consumption has fallen by 12% in Germany in the last decade, from 63 kg per person in 2011, to 55 kg today. Understanding the causes behind Germany's newfound love for plant-based food could be critical in figuring out how to slow climate change - meat and dairy account for around 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Vox

Colombia has launched a $245-million initiative to support the creation, expansion, and improvement of 32 million hectares of protected areas in the next decade. The country contains around 10% of the world’s biodiversity and the project aims to create over 3 million hectares of new protected areas and biological corridors, and 15 million hectares of marine protected areas. Mongabay

Covering almost 4.3 million hectares, Colombia's Chiribiquete National Park works as a powerful barrier against deforestation in the northern Amazon, is crucial for the survival of indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation, and provides ecosystem services to neighboring indigenous and rural communities. Credit: Cesar David Martínez

The US government will plant one billion trees over the next decade to revitalize millions of acres of burned and damaged forests across the American West. Wildfires have devastated woodlands in recent years creating a reforestation backlog of 4.1 million acres. Over the next few years planting will increase from 60,000 to 400,000 acres of trees each year. Smithsonian

Tigers are having a good year. Officials in Nepal just announced that numbers have more than doubled in a bit more than a decade, and last week, a wildlife group reported there are as many as 5,500 tigers prowling jungles and swamps across Asia, a 40% jump from its 2015 assessment. WaPo

Jaguars have been born in an Argentine wetland 70 years after they went extinct from the area, and in Brazil, the Spix's macaw has made its return to the wild, two decades after it was last seen in nature. These kind of reintroduction efforts aren't just symbolic - the other animals and plants that live in the associated conservation areas also benefit.

A conservation program in Cambodia is bringing gibbons back to the iconic Angkor Wat temple, decades after poachers destroyed populations. Since 2013, four different pairs of gibbons have returned to breed, along with 40 other species including silvered langurs, muntjac deers, smooth-coated otters, leopard cats, civets, wreathed hornbills, and green peafowl. Taipei Times

Iguanas are reproducing on Santiago, one of the Galapagos islands, more than a century after they disappeared. In 2019, 3,000 iguanas were reintroduced from a nearby island to restore the island’s ecosystem and they have been hard at work since: removing soil, dispersing seeds and even providing food for other animals. ABC

Bighorn sheep have returned to Nebraska’s high plains a century after they were wiped out by overhunting and disease. Scientists and conservationists started reintroducing bighorn in 1981 and the 40 year program has resulted in a flourishing population of 320 sheep today. Yale360

After 22 years of restoration, a 1,600 acre glen in southern Scotland called Carrifran has transformed a once overgrazed barren landscape into a thriving ecosystem with the return of foxes, badgers and otters and tree species that existed in the area thousands of years ago. Independent

Farmers and scientists in Mexico City are working together to save 6,000 acres of Indigenous agricultural wetlands that are a source of local food production and home to the critically endangered axolotl. The waterways of Mexico are the only natural habitat of the axolotl, whose extraordinary regenerative abilities to grow new limbs could hold the biological secrets to renewing human tissue. Undark

Non-profit organisation The Ocean Cleanup has officially removed more than 100,000 kg of plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The milestone is thanks to Jenny, a device that has swept over 3000 km2 of ocean, capturing plastic and funnelling it into a net. A 1,000 Jennys, and the Garbage Patch is gone.

Central California will halt new oil and gas leases across more than one million acres of public lands until the potential health and environmental risks are assessed. The moratorium comes after several years of legal challenges from environmental groups and local communities.

Central Valley residents and grassroots activists work every day to make their communities healthy, and today they got a win in the fight against air and groundwater pollution from oil and gas development.
Daniel Rossman, The Wilderness Society

Proving that religion and conservation can go hand in hand, India's temples are playing a critical role in protecting the country's fauna and flora, with an estimated 100,000-150,000 sacred groves across the country, preserving biodiversity and the habitats of endangered species. BBC

Scientists say religious worship and cultural traditions are playing a critical role in boosting conservation efforts and increasing green cover in India. Credit: Getty

The big news in energy circles right now is obviously the possibility of a climate deal in the United States. We're holding off on the celebrations until it passes Congress, but if it does, we'll have to issue a mea culpa on our last edition. We're very, very hopeful, we just don't want to be disappointed again.

In the meantime, did you hear lawmakers in Germany just approved their own version of a Green New Deal? $180 billion to be spent between 2023 and 2026 to accelerate the shift to an economy that’s cleaner and less dependent on Russia for energy supplies. Bloomberg

Solar in Germany generated a new record in July 2022, accounting for roughly a fifth of the country’s electricity generation and also marking the third record month in a row. Only coal plants now generate more electricity, accounting for 21.9%. Total renewables share reached 50.6% in July. Clean Energy Wire

Global coal plant construction peaked in 2015 at 107 GW. By last year, it had dropped to 45 GW, and in the first six months of 2021 only 13.8 GW has been built. 11.4 GW has been retired during the same period, meaning the world has only added 2.4 GW of coal capacity this year. On current trends, humanity will start reducing total coal-fired capacity in 2023. Global Coal Plant Tracker

Spain's energy minister says Europe is close to a game-changing overhaul of its power market that separates the pricing of dirty energy and clean energy, Ireland has reached a deal with its farmers to cut agricultural emissions by 25% by 2030, and in Greece, solar energy is transforming the country's coal-laden 'Valley of Tears.'

Somewhere in the North Sea, the world's first commercial installation of a wind turbine with recyclable blades has just been completed. The 81 metre long blades are made by Siemens, and will also be available in 108 metre and 115 metre versions.

We’ve brought the technology to market in only ten months: from launch in September 2021 to installation at RWE’s Kaskasi project in July 2022.
Marc Becker, CEO, Siemens Gamesa Offshore Business Unit

China built nearly 31 GW of new solar power capacity in the first half of this year, up 137% from a year earlier, with full-year installations on course to smash all previous records. The country's total solar power capacity is now 340 GW, up by a quarter compared to last year. Reuters

Big news on industrial emissions in China. Companies in seven key sectors with annual revenues over $2.9 million have been ordered to reduce energy consumption by 13.5% by 2025 compared to 2020 levels. This kind of thing wasn't supposed to happen for at least another decade - until very recently industrial emissions were considered 'the hard stuff'. SCMP

It gets better. China’s new emissions trading system is already the world’s largest carbon market, three times bigger than Europe's. It's about to grow another 70% under plans to add heavy industry, making it the single largest global climate policy, covering more emissions than the rest of the world's carbon markets put together. Forbes

Wouldn't it be great if India did something like that as well?! Oh, would you look at that. It appears an announcement is imminent on an ETS for major emitters in the country's energy, steel and cement industries. That would mean carbon markets in three out of four of the world's four largest carbon culprits. Bloomberg

In case you missed it, green hydrogen now costs less than fossil gas in eight European countries. You have to hand it to Putin - his determination to speed up humanity's decarbonization efforts knows no bounds. WSJ

A green hydrogen plant in Puertollano, Spain. Creidt: Angel Garcia/Bloomberg

German steel producer Salzgitter has committed $723 million to the first stage of decarbonizing its business — representing 1% of Germany’s carbon emissions — by 2033. It's the largest investment in green steel to date (larger investments have been announced by rival steelmakers LKAB, SSAB and ArcelorMittal, but that funding has yet to be approved). Recharge

India's state-run energy transition company is planning a $10 billion tender for 50,000 electric buses to help the world's third largest emitter decarbonize public transport. Its managing director, Mahua Acharya, says the country could electrify all its two-wheelers and public buses within the next seven years. Bloomberg

Porsche says that its electric cars will be as profitable as its conventional cars within two years. Automakers have long lamented the thin profit margins on EVs, which have always been more expensive to make and held less appeal to customers. Now though, with manufacturing facilities scaling up and consumer interest on the rise, things are starting to change. Yale360

In Norway, new car registrations are now 89.9% fully electric and 11.2% hybrid (and plugin vehicles are covering more ground than ICE counterparts). In the Netherlands, plugins now account for 34% of all new car sales, and Volvo says plugins accounted for 31% of sales in 2Q 2022, up from 24% last year.

China sold 565,000 new plugin vehicles in June this year - 28% of market share. Fully electric vehicles alone accounted for 22% of new auto sales. If electrification continues at this pace, sales of new cars in the largest automotive market in the world will be majority electric within the next three years. Clean Technica

Take a moment to let that one sink in.

The second most popular electric vehicle in China in June 2022 - the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV

2nd July 2022 - 24th July 2022

Global electricity access rose markedly between 2010 and 2020, from 83% to 91% of the world's population, with the number of unserved falling from 1.2 billion to 733 million during that period. The pace of growth was faster than in previous decades, although it did slow between 2018 and 2020, because of the difficulty in reaching unserved populations and the impact of COVID-19. UN

Botswana may become the first African country to eliminate mother-to-child HIV transmission after a ‘ground-breaking’ drop in rates from 40% in 1999 to 1% in 2021.  It’s astonishing progress for the county that used to have the highest rate of HIV in the world and is thanks to an increase in testing rates and access to antiretroviral therapy. Guardian

When a newborn baby tests HIV negative, we’re very much part of this victory against the virus. We celebrate the news with the mother and are celebrated by the community for the role we do.
Dr Kaite Mashini, Central District’s Health Team, Botswana

After 45 years of public health efforts, Niger is on the verge of becoming the first country in Africa to end onchocerciasis, also known as river blindness. The fight against the disease gained momentum in the 1990s thanks to mass administration of the drug Mectizan. Gates Foundation

Indonesia is one of the most spectacular development successes of the last two decades. With 274 million people, it's the fourth largest country on Earth - yet between 2000 and 2021, reduced the share of people living below the national poverty line from 20% to 10% - lifting around 25 million out of poverty.

Despite the financial turbulence of the past year, The World Bank's Global Findex Database 2021 has offered some positive news on the growth of account ownership and uptake of financial services. Some highlights:

  • Account ownership in developing economies increased from 63% to 71%.
  • The gender gap in account ownership narrowed for the first time in the last decade, decreasing in developing countries by 3%.
  • The pandemic accelerated digital adoption of financial services with around 720 million adults in developing economies making a digital merchant payment for the first time.
  • Around half of adults in developing economies can now access emergency money within 30 days if faced with an unexpected expense.

A record 181 women  (one third of all candidates) are running in Japan’s upper house election this weekend, a big step up from 77 in 2019. The increase is attributed to a commitment by parties ensure more gender equality after the country ranked 163rd out of 190 countries for women in politics. Guardian

A top court in Slovenia has ruled that imposing bans on same-sex couples getting married and adopting children is unconstitutional and has ordered its parliament to amend the law within six months. The ruling makes Slovenia the 18th European country and 31st country worldwide to legalize same-sex marriage. Gay Times

Sierra Leone is on the cusp of decriminalizing abortion after the government's unanimous backing of the 'risk-free motherhood' bill. The provisions of the bill also cover other aspects of maternal health, expanding access to contraceptives, post-abortion care and other reproductive health services. Guardian

At a time in the world when sexual and reproductive health rights for the women are either being overturned or threatened, we are proud that Sierra Leone can once again lead with progressive reform. I want it to be a norm that as an African man, an African leader, I can and should speak freely and publicly about menstruation, because there is no shame in menstruation.
President Julius Maada Bio

It's not just Sierra Leone. Abortion legislation across Africa is slowly becoming more progressive, with Tunisia, South Africa, Cape Verde, Mozambique, and Benin all legalising abortions. The city of Lagos, home to 15 million people, is also pioneering plans to offer them in public hospitals. DW

A landmark ruling in Kenya will see the Indigenous Ogiek people paid reparations for decades of illegal evictions from their ancestral land in the Mau Forest. It’s the first time a court has ruled in favour of both material and moral damages and the decision could set a precedent for other Indigenous peoples in East Africa. Grist

Argentina has approved a groundbreaking law to reduce discrimination against people living with HIV, viral hepatitis, TB and other sexually transmitted infections. The legislation prohibits mandatory testing for HIV and STIs by employers or educational institutions. Mirage News

Doctors in the UK say we could see a cure for haemophilia B happen with the next few years, after a successful trial of a 'transformational' therapy consisting of an engineered virus that corrects the genetic defect that leaves people's blood struggling to clot. 9 out of 10 patients who took part in the trial no longer needed clotting injections. BBC

California - the fifth largest economy on the planet - just announced it's going to manufacture its own insulin. This will make it significantly more affordable for millions of residents of the state, and push down prices nationwide. More than eight million Americans with diabetes depend on the drug. CNN

Pfizer is extending its donation of the antibiotic Zithromax for trachoma until 2030. The company’s 23-year commitment has played a crucial role in the prevention of the world's most common eye disease, with a 91% decrease in cases in the past decade. WHO

A simple, but important observation. On almost every single social issue, from womens rights to racial tolerance, minority rights, immigration, religion, gun ownership and abortion, Americans are more tolerant today than they have been at any point in their history. It's just that their governing and legal institutions have been captured by a fringe minority who are not. Globe & Mail

A new study has shown the global oil and gas industry has extracted $2.8 billion in profits from humanity every day for the last 50 years. That's an insane amount of money - you can buy every politician in the world with that. The recent collapse of Build Back Better in the US is just the latest example of how the industry continues to wield that kind of power.

So what comes next? Well, if this part of the newsletter has a consistent message, it's that when it comes to solving climate change, politics is overrated, and technology and economics are underrated. As Noah Smith points out, climate activists keep on insisting we can't rely on technology to save us, even as hard-working technologists continue to save us.

Case in point: the Supreme Court's ruling on the EPA's ability to regulate emissions has come too late for Joe Manchin and friends. S&P, a financial services firm, estimates 145 GW of coal capacity will retire in the US this decade, with coal’s share falling from the current 22% to 5% in 2030. Thanks technology. EE News

And despite supply chain challenges, the US energy transition continues to accelerate: renewables have generated at least 25% of electricity on 59 days this year – versus just three times in 2019. As of the 15th June, wind, solar and hydro have generated 23% of US electricity, topping both coal and nuclear. IEEFA

It's not just power generation. Bloomberg says EV sales have crossed the 5% tipping point in America, and is now predicting a quarter of all new cars will be electric by 2025, several years earlier than expected. Reminder: transportation is responsible for more emissions than electricity in the US.

And guess which states have had the highest EV growth since 2014?? California and New York aren't even in the top five. Leading the pack is Mississippi, followed by Hawaii, Utah, Maryland and Wyoming. Climate change might be partisan, but buying a better car is as American as apple pie. Deseret

That's why the car companies aren't waiting around for the politicians to get their act into gear. Ford just cut 8,000 jobs from its ICE operations to fund further investments into EVs, and says it's on track to hit annual EV production of 600,000 by 2023, and over two million by 2026. "We are putting the industrial system in place to scale quickly."

And finally, remember that America only accounts for around 13% of global emissions. The failure of Build Back Better has received endless coverage in English language media - unlike China's announcement of 570GW of wind and solar in its latest Five Year Plan. That's 10X Africa, 1X Asia (excluding China) 1X the EU, 1X North America and 2X South America... all by 2025. Carbon Brief

Total installed wind and solar capacity by country at the end of 2020, in comparison with China’s planned expansion from 2020 to 2025. Source: Carbon Brief

Did you hear about the £15 billion of new offshore wind farms announced at record-low power prices in the UK? Unless you're on Energy Twitter, then probably not. Here are some highlights:

  • 11GW of renewables, in the government's biggest ever round of its flagship renewables auction scheme.
  • 7GW of offshore wind, 2.2GW of solar, around 1GW of onshore wind, and for the first time ever, successful bids for tidal stream and floating offshore wind.
  • A total of 93 projects across England, Scotland and Wales - more than in all three previous rounds combined.
  • The newly awarded projects will generate around 42 TWh of electricity, roughly 13% of current UK demand, at prices four times below the current cost of gas.
  • That's enough to power around 12 million British homes with clean, affordable, homegrown energy, helping to reduce exposure to volatile fossil fuel prices.
  • All of it will be online by 2026/27 - around the same time as the Hinkley Point C nuclear reactor, which will generate electricity for two to three times the price. Carbon Brief

The IEA says high prices for natural gas and supply fears due to the war in Ukraine will slow growth in demand in the coming years. Global demand is now predicted to rise by 140 billion cubic meters between 2021 and 2025, less than half the increase of 370 bcm seen in the previous five-year period, which included the pandemic downturn. AP

In more 'Vladimir Putin, Climate Hero' news, the transformation of Europe's residential heating sector — the continent's largest source of gas consumption — is accelerating. More and more countries are introducing end dates. "Every gas boiler we get rid of is another step out of dependency on Russian gas," SP Global

The Romanian government has published an emergency law to phase out coal by 2030, which is expected to be approved within a month. It accelerates the country’s original coal exit by two years, and clears the way for the country to exploit its enormous solar and wind energy potential. Beyond Coal

Only two countries in Africa are now building coal plants – Zimbabwe and South Africa  – and the pipeline of new capacity is collapsing after China's pledge to end overseas support. Meanwhile, wind and solar are already the cheapest way to generate electricity across almost every part of the continent. IEA

The AFT is the second largest teacher's union in the US, with 1.7 million members, whose combined pensions are worth $5.8 trillion, as large as the federal budget. $255 billion used to be invested in fossil fuel corporations, until this week.

Two weeks ago, 35 faith institutions in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, the UK and the US announced they were divesting from fossil fuels. That was quickly followed by the news that the 1.7 million United Presbyterians had voted to divest from the five big oil companies. Religion News

Colombia has become the first country in the western hemisphere to protect 30% of its ocean, with fishing and oil exploration banned in four protected marine areas. The country recently joined forces with the US, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Canada, Panama and Costa Rica to collaborate and work faster to protect ocean areas. Axios

In a landmark decision, the EU has banned the imports of crops using two bee-killing, neonicotinoid pesticides. The ban follows a report from the EFSA identifying 'high acute risk' to honeybees from certain neonicotinoid chemicals and the moratorium will commence before December this year. Eco Watch

Disruptions to food supply chains in Mexico City during the pandemic resulted in a revival of Aztec-era island farms known as 'chinampas.' The shallow lake farms produce beans, corn, squashes, and greens, and when lockdowns stopped produce flows to the city, customers reconnected with local chinamperos, rebooting a 1,300 year-old agricultural legacy. Nat Geo

The sun sets on an historic urban oasis—the chinampas and canals in Xochimilco.

Indigenous peoples in Colombia’s Amazon are closer to self-governance after a court ordered the registration of 14 indigenous territorial entity (ITE) applications. The creation of the ITEs will allow communities to self-govern and ensure the protection of up to 10 million hectares of native forest. The first three ITEs are expected to be formalised by early 2023. Mongabay

The Amazon exists as it is because of Indigenous peoples, and their knowledge. They are not part of the solution just because they have forests. They are part of the solution because they know how the Amazon has to be governed, understood and managed.
Juan Carlos Preciado, Legal Counsel, Gaia Amazonas

A reforestation program in Burundi is restoring communities as well as nature with formerly warring factions working together to help boost the country’s forests. The initiative launched in 2018 after a brutal civil war, and in just four years has planted 150 million trees across 50,000 hectares. Mongabay

A federal judge in Northern California has restored a large number of protections for endangered and threatened species that were removed by the Trump administration. Environmental groups have applauded the move which will speed up protections and critical habitat designations for threatened species, including salmon in the Pacific Northwest. AP

38,052 acres of private timberlands in Montana have become part of the Lost Trail Conservation Area. The easement is a critical puzzle piece in the Lost Trail project, that will protect 100,000 acres of ecologically rich habitat, critical for grizzly bears and Canada lynx. Flat Head Beacon

Indigenous tribes across America have brought bison populations back from the brink of extinction over the last decade. Today 76 tribes across 20 states manage more than 20,000 bison - an incredible achievement considering the population sat below 1,000 in the early 1900s. It's also a victory for local ecosystems, with a flourishing of native grasses, animals, and insects wherever they roam. WaPo

As we look to the future, any assistance or effort that tribes are making to restore buffalo back to their lands is going to be beneficial for everybody, because it is a climate-smart, holistic idea of the relationship with nature.

Troy Heinert, Executive Director of the InterTribal Buffalo Council
Credit: Guardian

The population of Atlantic cod is showing signs of a comeback thanks to strict catch limits imposed in New England, where the fish was central to building the region’s economy. The 'class of ‘2019' includes at least a million young fish - with three or four more like it, cod could follow in the steps of haddock, a close relative, which recovered 15 years ago. The Public's Radio

Over the past ten years the Mikoko Pamoja project in Kenya has conserved over 100 hectares of mangroves and planted an additional 4,000 new mangroves along the coastline each year. The project has led to an increase in local livelihoods and  inspired similar efforts in Mozambique Madagascar, Gambia, and Senegal. AP

ver the past 20 years global tree cover has increased by 130.9 million hectares - an area larger than Peru. 36 countries are now gaining more trees than they’re losing, including Ireland, Poland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. WRI

An ecological revolution in Wellington, New Zealand is underway, as the return of native bird species, and close encounters with orca and whales fuel a volunteer conservation movement. The city is seeing an explosion in wildlife thanks to the presence of Zealandia, the world’s first fully fenced urban ecosanctuary located 10 minutes from downtown. Bloomberg

Louisiana has banned the ninth US state to ban the sale of any cosmetics tested on animals. It follows the lead of California, Nevada, Illinois, Virginia, Maryland, Maine, Hawaii, and New Jersey where similar bans are already in place. Humane Society

Over 200 kilometres of rivers and streams in northern New Mexico have the state’s highest water quality protections to safeguard waterways from anything that harms water quality, pollutes, drops heavy metals, increases temperature, or clouds water. Source NM

After a 200 year absence, the Mitchell’s hopping mouse has returned to Australia, with scientists hoping to bolster the population from 150 mice in a protected area that is cat and fox free. It’s part of a state-wide project to return the wild populations of more than 20 locally extinct species that suffered from habitat loss and feral animals. SMH

40 years after being declared locally extinct, rhinos are once again roaming the bush in Mozambique thanks to a translocation effort from South Africa. The black and white rhinos are being transported over 1,610 km to Zinave National Park, already home to more than 2,300 other reintroduced animals. Reuters

18th June 2022 - 1st July 2022

COVID vaccines prevented 19.8 million deaths during their first year of rollout, according to a new study in The Lancet. The research covered 185 countries and is the first major analysis since the first jab was administered in December 2020. India averted the most deaths at 4.2 million, followed by the US at 1.9 million and Brazil at just over a million.

Global efforts to fight malaria have yielded impressive results. An estimated 10.6 million malaria deaths and 1.7 billion cases were averted between 2000 to 2020. Twenty-six countries reported fewer than 100 cases in 2020, up from just six in 2000. Since 2015, nine countries have been certified as malaria-free. WHO

At the front of the pack is India, where malaria cases have fallen by an astonishing 86% since 2015 thanks to an increase in government resources and the tireless efforts of NGOs. Meanwhile trials of a new malaria vaccine in Burkina Faso have delivered 77% efficacy, exceeding the WHO target of 75%. At least 200 million doses will now be rolled out across another four African countries.

With a fair wind, the 2030s could see the reduction of malaria from a major killer … to a more localised minor cause of mortality.
Adrian Hill, Director of the Jenner Institute

A health worker sprays a fogging machine to prevent spreading malaria in the flood affected Morigaon district of Assam on May 23, 2022. | Photo Credit: RITU RAJ KONWAR

The WHO says there has also been substantial progress in the fight against neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). 46 countries have now eliminated at least one NTD and between 2015 and 2019, more than a billion people were treated every year for one or more NTDs. In the period between 2010 to 2020, the number of people requiring an NTD intervention was reduced by 600 million.

Equatorial Guinea has successfully eliminated human African trypanosomiasis, also known as sleeping sickness. Global public health efforts over the past decade have drastically reduced cases by 95% with Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, and Uganda recently eliminating the disease as well. WHO

Voters in Kazakhstan have overwhelmingly approved constitutional reforms for a 'New Kazakhstan' that will dismantle the super-presidential system that has reigned for three decades. Over half the voting population participated in the referendum and 77.17% backed the reform. DW

A step in the right direction for LGBTQI+ rights in Tokyo with local authorities recognising same-sex partnerships, making it easier for couples to access local services. While 100 municipalities in Japan now recognise same-sex partnerships, it's still the only G-7 nation yet to legalise same-sex marriage or civil unions. Bloomberg

Colombia has passed a landmark road safety law that will help prevent thousands of road crashes, the country’s second largest killer of people aged 10-45 years old. The new law will upgrade vehicle safety standards, infrastructure, speed limits and licensing to meet global recommendations. WHO

This crucial new law should help save thousands of lives. It is a major step forwards for Colombia in setting up the robust legislative framework that we need to ensure safe mobility for everyone, and establishing a proven, life-saving safe systems approach to road safety.
Gina Tambini, WHO-PAHO

Also, did you know that the rate of road deaths has been falling steadily in the OECD for the last few decades? All 38 member states have steadily reduced their rates of accidents and fatalities since the 1970s, except for one (no prizes for guessing who). OECD

The global fertility rate - the average number of children per women - has been steadily declining since the 1970s. The reasons? Women's empowerment in education and the workforce, lower child mortality and the increased cost of raising children. WEF

California has become the first state to provide undocumented residents over the age of 55 with state-subsidized food benefits. The assistance will feed around 75,000 people by 2025 and the pressure is now on to extend the benefits to younger people who are struggling with high rates of food insecurity. Fresno Bee

California has also become the first state to guarantee free health care for all low-income immigrants, regardless of legal status. The Medi-Cal coverage will protect around 700,000 undocumented Californians aged between 26-49 and could lead to the largest drop in the rate of uninsured Californians in a decade. Daily Kos

California is building a more universal, efficient, and equitable health care system for all who call California home. Health care is a human right, and our health system is stronger when everyone is included.
Jose Torres, Policy, and Legislative Advocate at Health Access California

In a landmark deal for gender equality, the EU has agreed to mandatory quotas to ensure women occupy at least 40% of seats on corporate boards by mid-2026. The directive applies to companies with at least 250 employees and fines may be issued for failure to comply. Euro News

Paid leave for parents is steadily improving. In the last decade 38 countries have increased the duration of their paid maternity leave, and 22 now guarantee at least 14 weeks. Reforms on leave for fathers have likewise gained popularity, with 37 countries introducing paid paternity leave since 2011. World Bank

Surgical abortions are no longer the norm in the United States. The majority (54%) are now done via medication - approved for up to ten weeks by the FDA, and often mailed to patients after an online or telehealth consultation. Politicians might want to police control over women’s bodies, but science and medicine have other ideas. Guttmacher Institute

Since 1980 at least 59 countries have expanded abortion access, and only 11 countries have restricted it. The US is now in some pretty illustrious company (see below). Elsewhere, progress continues. Israel just removed its requirement that women appear in front of a committee in order to receive an abortion, and Germany is moving to decriminalize a women's right to choose.

Source: Foreign Policy

Canada is banning the manufacturing and import of a number of single-use plastics including checkout bags, utensils, food-service products, ring carriers, stir sticks, and straws. The ban will save 15 billion bags per year, and prevent 16 million straws a day ending up in landfill. Sales will be prohibited from December 2023. WaPo

Landmark legislation in California will reduce single-use plastic by 25% over the next ten years. The ambitious law requires at least 30% of plastic items sold or bought in California are recyclable by 2028 and economic responsibility falls to producers. It’s the first state in the US to approve such sweeping restrictions. Guardian

54,000 acres of private ranch land in New Mexico will be added to the existing 4,000-acre Marquez Wildlife Management Area, making it the largest state-owned recreational property in the state. The land contains important cultural sites for tribal communities and critical habitat for black bears, migratory birds, and cougars. ABQ Journal

The Cofán community in the Ecuadorian Amazon have successfully saved 32,000 hectares of their ancestral land from 52 mining projects after winning a series of landmark cases. The community established Ecuador's first indigenous guard to defend their land in 2017 and the government must now consult them before greenlighting any proposals that threaten their way of life. Long Reads

One in five councils in the UK have now launched rewilding schemes or are planning to do so. Councils are among the largest landowners in the country, and their participation plays a significant role in the current push to rewild 5% of the land. Not bad for a movement that's only a few years old. Guardian

Argentina has  pioneered a private to public rewilding model that has successfully restored over 800,000 hectares of damaged land and reintroduced multiple species. Since the 1990s the Tompkins Conservation foundation has been buying private land to restore ecosystems and then donating the protected areas back to federal and local governments. Guardian

The Kawawana conservation area in Senegal was created a decade ago by a group of Indigenous Jola fishers. Today, it's entirely governed, managed and maintained by local communities, who have succeeded in restoring an area where biodiversity had all but disappeared. There are now twice as many fish species, and the reserve has recently been expanded to 20,000 hectares. Mongabay

A ban on bullfighting in Mexico City has been extended indefinitely, signalling the end of the 500 year tradition in the country. Since 2013 the states of Sinaloa, Sonora, Guerrero, Coahuila and Quintana Roohave have all banned bull fights - this however, is the death knell for the 'sport.' ABC

The European Commission has tabled a new Nature Restoration Law to repair 80% of impacted habitats and restore all ecosystems, from forest and agricultural land to marine, freshwater, and urban areas by 2050. It’s the first-ever legislation to explicitly target the restoration of Europe’s nature.

In the past 35 years, farmers in Niger, the least developed country in the world, have added a staggering 200 million trees across 12 million acres of arid land without planting a single sapling. Local farmers let nature take the lead, allowing cut trees to regrow in their fields rather than clear them. As a result, soils in the area are more fertile and crop yields are up. Nat Geo

Since its establishment in 2001, the International Dark Sky Association has recognized more than 190 sites, protecting over 110,000 km² of dark places around the globe, including dark sky reserves, communities, islands and sanctuaries. As the benefits of dark skies become better known, many more rural areas are now seeking recognition. BBC

A starry night sky at Porthgwara Beach in Cornwall (Credit: Chris Colyer)

In one of the largest transfers made to First Nations people in the US, the state of New York has returned 1,000 acres of forest to Onondaga Nation. The transfer is the first time land has been returned to a New York tribe and is part of the decades-long clean-up of Onondaga Lake. Syracuse

Launched at last year’s G7 Leaders’ Summit, the Blue Planet Fund is already helping developing countries and coastal communities adapt to climate change. The £500 million fund has backed a wave of new projects aimed at bolstering the economies of small islands and developing nations as well as protecting ocean and coastline biodiversity. Industry Update

And in other good news - the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States just launched the world’s first global alliance to combat illegal, unregulated, and unregistered fishing, which threaten marine ecosystems, coastal communities, and global fish stocks. Global Fishing Watch

The American government has entered a historic agreement with five Native American tribes to co-manage Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument. The agreement comes after decades of lobbying and marks the first time in the history of federal land management that the government will treat tribes as equals and experts. Outside Online

Arch Canyon, a 12-mile-long box canyon in Bears Ears National Monument, includes many pre-Columbian cliff dwellings. | Photo by Scott T Smith

Japan is ending the financing of coal projects in Bangladesh and Indonesia. This is a critically important move. Almost all the new coal plants built across South and southeast Asia in the last decade have relied on massive capital subsidies from Japan, Korea and China. Great to see Japan finally implementing their no new coal financing pledge of 2020. Bloomberg

Sompo, one of the top three Japanese non-life insurers, has become the first Asian insurer to rule out insurance and investment in companies involved in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Sompo has also committed to rule out underwriting and investment in coal companies without transition plans by 2025. Insure our Future

The Catholic Theological Society of America, the world's largest organization of theologians, just announced it's divesting its financial funds from fossil fuels, a move great in moral weight and one backers hope is rich with potential to inspire similar actions at its members' institutions. NCR

In 1990, China generated less than 1/600th of the renewable power of the United States. Fast forward to 2021, and it's rocketed past both the US and Europe, adding almost 290 terawatt-hours of renewable electricity generation in a single year. Japan and India aren't far behind now either, generating a combined 302 terawatt-hours. Bloomberg

China is also tightening its environmental regulations, with a new ban on new steel, coking, oil refining, cement, and glass projects in already polluted areas. The country is also aiming for electric vehicles to make up 50% of total sales by 2030 and is prioritising the development of biomass, geothermal or solar energy for heating. Reuters

The global pipeline of offshore wind has almost doubled in the past 12 months from 429 GW a year ago to 846 GW today. Absolutely staggering growth. China has the biggest pipeline at 98 GW, the UK is in second place at 91 GW (up from 55 GW a year ago) the US is third with 80GW, and Germany is fourth at 57 GW. Renewable UK

The total capacity of proposed renewable generation and storage projects in Australia has reached 150GW. Not all of this will be built - but most of it will, as the country's energy market operator is now saying that the switch to a renewables-based grid is 'complex, rapid and irreversible.'

Canadians looking to make their home more energy efficient and environmentally friendly can now get an interest-free loan of up to $40,000 from the federal government. Last month, the scheme opened to eligible people planning green upgrades to their property. C'mon Straya. Storeys

"The site is charged with controlling the flow of electricity to 18 million people in eastern and northern Germany. Today the screens show 28% of that flow coming from wind farms and 24% from solar panels. A decade ago the custodians of the grids which keep the rich world’s lights on would have told you this was impossible." Economist


Meanwhile, in Europe, "a long but good day for climate action" after environment ministers from 27 states struck a deal to approve a raft of measures to combat climate change in the early hours of Wednesday morning. It's particularly good news in the transport sector. DW

Staying in Europe, a new report looking at the cost of ownership of electric and diesel trucks has shown that electric trucks have already reached cost parity in six cities: Berlin, Paris, Rome, London, Warsaw, and Amsterdam. That's way ahead of predictions, and yet another example of how the energy crisis is speeding up decarbonization across the continent. RAP

In the United States, heavy duty transportation, one of the hardest sectors to decarbonize, suddenly looks like it's going to makes the transition towards zero emission vehicles in years, not decades. In the next few months, the country's fleet of HD ZEVs will increase 45 fold.

The notorious lentil-eating, greenie snowflakes at the Texas Department of Transportation are planning to add enough charging stations throughout the state to support a million EVs in the next five years, starting with the main transportation corridors, and then moving to rural areas. The plan is to have a charging station every 50 miles along most interstate routes. Tribune

Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer BYD is selling cars at such a furious pace it's become the second biggest carmaker in China. Sales have surged almost 350% to more than half a million during the first five months of 2022. We've said it before, we'll say it again. EVs are coming far quicker than even the most optimistic forecasts predicted. Asia Financial

Ferrari says three out of every five vehicles sold will be either electric or hybrid within the next four years, and 80% of it cars will be electrified by 2030. CEO Benedetto Vigna: "not only it is required by emissions regulations, but most importantly, we believe we can use the electric engine to enhance the performance of our cars." Forbes

Ferrari's first hybrid was the SF90 Stradale, with a twin-turbo V8 and three electric motors. It was joined this year by the 296 GTB, and a flood of electrified Ferraris are now on the way. David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

And finally, who just said this?

"By 2040, every new passenger car sold in the world will be electric."

You guessed it, renowned environmentalist, Darren Woods, CEO of Exxon Mobil. CNBC

28th May 2022 - 17th June 2022

Togo has become the third country in Africa to eliminate trachoma, the world’s leading cause of preventable blindness. Significant progress has been made across the continent, with infection rates falling from 189 million in 2014 to 116 million in 2021. WHO

The Central African Republic has officially abolished the death penalty, and Malaysia has banned it too, handing judges discretion to use a range of substitute sentences for serious crimes. 170 countries have now abolished or restricted the use of capital punishment.

Between 2013 and 2020 China’s air pollution dropped by 40%, which means the country reduced the same amount of pollution in seven years as America did in three decades. Since air pollution is the largest killer of people worldwide, this achievement equates to millions of lives saved. Bloomberg

The UN says every person on earth will be covered by early warning systems for extreme weather events within the next five years. Issuing a warning 24 hours before a storm or heatwave has been shown to reduce damage and loss of life by an average of up to 30%. EuroNews

A landmark ruling in Mexico has banned random immigration checks that target Indigenous or Afro-Mexicans who are often detained, harassed, or wrongfully deported.  It’s an important victory for human rights groups who have spent years in court fighting for the change. HRW

Spain’s parliament has approved a bill that will make consent a determining factor in rape cases. The proposed legislation known as 'only yes means yes,' will free survivors of sexual assault from having to prove violence. The law includes measures such as creating a network of 24-hour crisis centres for survivors of sexual assault and their families. Guardian

From today, Spain is a freer, safer country for all women. We are going to swap violence for freedom, we are going to swap fear for desire.
Irene Montero, Spanish Minister for Equality

America’s inequality problem has improved for the first time in a generation. The poorest half of Americans now hold a bigger share of the nation’s wealth than they have at any point in the last 20 years. Some welcome news for 6.2 million workers in Germany too, who will receive up to €400 extra per month thanks to a national increase in the minimum wage.

Over the past decade Houston, the fourth largest city in the US, has reduced its homeless rate by 63% thanks to a radical 'housing first' approach that moves people into permanent accommodation rather than shelters. The city now has a $100 million plan in the works to cut homelessness by a further 50% by 2025. NYT

Thailand has become the first Asian country to legalise medicinal marijuana and allow people to grow the plant at home. While recreational use of the drug remains illegal, the government hopes the new law will boost the wellness and tourism industries. ABC

In the wake of the Uvalde shooting in Texas, Canada has implemented a national freeze on the sale and purchase of handguns. The new legislation is part of a gun control package that will also limit magazine capacities. While Canada’s gun homicide rate is less than a fifth of the US, it is higher than other wealthy countries. Reuters

For the first time in 60 years, China’s population is about to decrease. Over the past four decades the population swelled from 660 million to 1.4 billion, but in 2021 it increased by a record-low of 480,000, and is now on course to shrink in 2022. BBC

The number of young people being prosecuted in adult courts in the US has dropped from 8% in 2010 to 1% in 2020, giving tens of thousands of teens a second chance to turn their lives around. The 'raise the age' movement has contributed to the shift which deals with offenders under 18 years old through the juvenile justice system and community-based programs. AP

Regardless of what young offenders are charged with, what works is community-based intervention and letting communities lead reform efforts.
Naomi Smoot Evans, Executive Director of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice in Washington

Did you know that same sex marriage just took a big step closer to being legalized in both Thailand and Czech Republic?

Activists and MPs celebrate after Thai lawmakers gave initial approval to legalising same-sex unions.

A community-led effort to protect turtles in Mohéli, one of the islands of the Indian Ocean nation of Comoros, has inspired the expansion of Comoros’s protected areas from one to six, including three new marine protected areas (MPAs). The country’s first MPA was created in 2001 and is now one of the largest nesting sites for green sea turtles in the Indian Ocean. Mongabay

Oil drilling in the Arctic’s National Wildlife Refuge is officially bad for business with three major oil companies cancelling leases and five of America’s big banks refusing to fund projects there. The 20 million-acre reserve provides critical habitat for the Southern Beaufort Sea’s remaining polar bears. WaPo

The ocean off Gaza is ‘crystal blue’ for the first time in years, after sewage treating facilities stepped up operations to stop untreated sewage flowing directly into the water. It’s good news for the 2.3 million Palestinians who can finally enjoy a swim this summer. Euro News

The Pacific Island state of Niue is creating a marine park to protect 100% of its ocean, an area the size of Vietnam spanning 317,500 km2. The island’s waters are a birthing ground for humpback whales and boast the world’s highest population of grey reef sharks and the katuali sea snake. Niue follows the lead of the Cook Islands which has also committed to 100% protection. Guardian

The ocean is everything to us. It’s what defines us. We have to ensure our reefs and corals remain to provide a healthy ecosystem and continue to create a food source for our people.
Dalton Tagelagi, Premier of Niue

It's all protected now

The global war on waste is ramping up. India is about to kick off the largest plastic ban in the world, America just announced it will phase out single-use plastic in national parks by 2032, saving 14 million tonnes of plastic from ending up in the ocean, and in Australia, efforts to minimise plastic over the past six years have reduced coastal litter by 29%.

Living Lands and Waters, a 23-year old environmental non-profit in the United States, collected over half a million pounds of trash across seven rivers throughout the USA last year. 63% of that waste came out of the Ohio River, a main source of drinking water for more than five million Americans. Ground Truth Project

Big environmental win in California with the end of state-run pesticide programs on public, agricultural, wild lands, and private properties. The government has also announced a $40 million award to support regional initiatives that repurpose agricultural land in an effort to reduce water demand.

Five major nature recovery projects are underway in the UK to restore a whooping 99,000 hectares of land across the West Midlands, Cambridgeshire, the Peak District, Norfolk, and Somerset. The projects aim to tackle wildlife loss, climate change and improve people’s access to nature, especially in city areas. Guardian

Queensland will invest over $24 million into protecting koala populations and habitats.The koala is an endangered species in Queensland, New South Wales, and the Australian Capital Territory, mainly due to habitat loss. Guardian

A 25-year study of the monarch butterfly in North America, the largest and most comprehensive assessment of the breeding population to date, has overturned everyone’s worst fears and revealed that the species is actually doing alright, after an average annual increase of 1.36% per year. Global Change Biology

The endangered Bali mynah bird is making a comeback thanks to a surprising partnership between conservationists and local bird sellers. For the past decade approved breeders have been given licenses to breed and sell 90% of mynah offspring if the remaining birds are released at West Bali National Park. AP

A victory for wolverines in Montana, with a court reinstating additional protections for the species under the Endangered Species Act. Like other snow-dependent species, wolverines are facing habitat losses due global warming and the protections will help focus resources to save them. Biological Diversity

Today’s decision gives us hope that wolverines could once again roam Colorado’s high country, where high elevation, snowy habitat could help these elusive and fascinating animals survive in the face of climate change.
Megan Mueller, Conservation Biologist, Rocky Mountain Wild

A landmark ban on ivory in the UK has gone into effect. The Ivory Act is one of the toughest in the world, with offenders facing an unlimited fine or up to five years jail. It’s hoped the ban will help end the global ivory trade, which slaughters an estimated 20,000 elephants each year. UK Gov

New York has passed a bill that bans pet stores from selling animals supplied by abusive breeders or 'puppy mills.' Under the new law, pet shops are required to collaborate with animal shelters and encourage people to adopt rather than buy pets. California passed a similar law in 2017. NY Post

Brazil’s iconic golden lion tamarin, found only in the Atlantic Forest, has been saved from extinction with the population rebounding from 200 in 1977 to over 2,000 today. Local conservationists have worked tirelessly for 50 years to protect natural habitat and bolster the population through breeding programs. Work is now underway to protect the other three species — the black lion tamarin, golden-headed lion tamarin, and black-faced lion tamarin. Mongabay

René Mensen (CC BY 2.0)

Vladimir Putin has arguably done more to accelerate the clean energy transition than anyone in history. 19 European governments have now accelerated their decarbonisation plans, and under the latest national commitments, EU countries are aiming for 63% of renewables in electricity generation by 2030, up from 55% under previous commitments. Ember

The Greek government has adopted the country's first national climate protection law, requiring all coal fired generation be closed by 2028, and renewables to account for up to 70% of electricity generation by 2030. This is insanely ambitious. The current share is around 40%. Renewables Now

Amidst the sound and fury surrounding the global conversation on energy, most journalists are still missing the most important point: solar, wind and batteries are on learning curves, and coal, oil, gas and nuclear aren't. A new analysis of wind and solar farms in the United States for example, has shown that each time the total amount of wind installed doubles, the cost comes down by 15%, and for solar, by 24%.

Incredible things are quickly normalized by this kind of exponential growth. This battery storage site in Texas would have been by far the world’s largest five years ago. Today it’s just another project. It's why almost nobody in America is building fossil fuel power plants any more...

...and why nobody in the world wants to insure them either.

It's why it's no longer newsworthy that an industrialised nation just produced 100% of its electricity from wind for two days in a row. Or that another one has set the most ambitious climate goal in the world, aiming to reach net zero by 2035, and net negative – absorbing more CO2 than it emits – by 2040.

Samsung, South Korea’s largest conglomerate, is requiring all its financial subsidiaries to stop investing in coal companies, and Sompo, one of Japan's biggest insurers, says it will stop underwriting new and existing coal around the world. Two really big market signals from where it matters most, southeast Asia.

Next Era, the largest power company in the United States, just announced a plan to achieve 'real-zero' by 2045, by building huge amounts of solar and hydrogen. No other utility to date has committed to near-total decarbonization without the use of offsets or carbon capture technology. WSJ

While everyone's attention has been on the US federal government's inability to pass climate legislation, states and governors have quietly notched up an astonishing list of energy and environment wins across the country. A powerful antidote to despair. LCV

China's biggest dam builder says the nation will start construction on more than 200 pumped hydro stations with a combined capacity of 270GW by 2025. That's more than the capacity of all the power plants in Japan, and will be enough to meet about 23% of China's peak demand. Straits Times

Carbon Brief has a new report showing China’s carbon emissions fell by 1.4% in the first three months of 2022, making it the third quarter in a row of falling emissions. That's the longest emissions decline in China for a decade. Previous declines have been followed by rapid rebounds, but this time could be different...

... because China is now building the equivalent of one coal plant of wind and solar every week. The country is on track to install 108GW of solar alone this year, almost double the 54 GW installed in 2021. Combined with 50GW of wind, that would generate the same amount of electricity as 52 coal plants. Bloomberg

Austria just passed legislation requiring all new or replacement heating systems to be renewable from next year. By 2035, all oil and coal heating systems must be replaced by renewable ones, and by 2040 all gas heating systems must also be replaced. People with low incomes will receive 100% of the costs. Kleine Zeitung

Vietnam, a country of almost 100 million people, is undergoing one of the biggest and fastest energy transitions in the world. In the four years to 2021, the share of solar increased from zero to nearly 11%, making it the world's 10th largest solar power producer. Petrotimes

And the next time someone complains about the coming wave of toxic materials from solar panels, or says "what about recycling?" send them this.

Volvo has become the world's first manufacturer to deliver a construction machine built using fossil-free steel to a customer. This articulated hauler was handed over on the 1st June 2022  - just nine months after the company unveiled the world’s first vehicle concept using fossil-free steel. Aggnet

Lawmakers in the European Parliament have voted to ban internal combustion engines in all new cars and vans by 2035. The legislation requires carmakers to reduce their fleetwide emission averages by 100% from 2035, with interim steps in 2025 and 2030. Politico

Buick, the iconic American automaker, says it will only sell electric vehicles by the end of this decade. And Chevy just slashed the starting price of its Bolt EV by 27% to $26,595, making it the cheapest electric vehicle in North America.

2023 Chevy Bolt EV: range: 414km | 0-100km/h in 6.5 seconds | 200hp | charging time: 160km in 30 minutes. Same price as a Honda Accord.

17th May 2022 - 27th May 2022

Ebola has been defeated. Jean-Jacques Muyembe, the Congolese doctor who first discovered the virus 40 years ago, says that the fight is now over, thanks to vaccines and effective clinical treatments. "For 40 years I have been a witness and a player in the fight against this terrifying and deadly disease and I can say today: it is defeated, it is preventable and curable." France24

Three African countries, Benin, Uganda, and Rwanda, have successfully eliminated trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) another big milestone for a global public health campaign that began in 2001. Togo and Côte d’Ivoire were the first countries to eliminate the disease in 2020. WHO

In the past three decades, suicides involving guns have steadily fallen around the world. Data from 204 countries shows that between 1990 and 2019, the global rate of firearm suicide decreased by an average of 2% per year. The reason? Stricter gun controls. Only one country is an outlier. New Scientist

A new study has revealed a surprising decline in teenage drinking around the world, especially in northern European and English-speaking countries. The trend started in the early 2000s and has continued steadily over the past two decades. Addiction

A big win for the LGBTQ community in Greece, after the country banned conversion therapy, adding itself to an ever-growing list of countries that have outlawed the practice. Meanwhile Canada has finally lifted its restrictions on gay men donating blood, and in the United Kingdom, the Church of Scotland will now allow clergy to conduct same-sex marriages in church.

The global impact of terrorism continues to decline. In 2021, deaths fell to 7,142, despite the overall number of attacks increasing, highlighting that terrorism is becoming less lethal. Mozambique had the largest drop, with deaths falling by 82%. Attacks the West also declined significantly, dropping by 68% in 2021. Relief Web

A watershed moment for Moroccan labour rights, with the government extending paid paternity leave from 3 to 15 days. The new measure is part of a 'social pact to improve working conditions for Morocco’s working class which includes an increase to the minimum wage and family allowances. Morocco World News

India's Supreme Court has ruled that the country's police should neither interfere nor take criminal action against consenting sex workers. It's a major win for the country's human rights campaigners, who have long argued that sex workers should be entitled to dignity and equal protection under the law. India Today

New South Wales has become the final state in Australia to introduce assisted dying laws. The legislation, which comes 20 years after the issue was first debated in state parliament, allows it for terminally ill people with a prognosis of six months, or 12 months for people with a neurodegenerative condition. SMH

Childcare in the US state of New Mexico is now free for those on low-incomes, with the government covering costs to help people get back to work after COVID. The initiative is funded by taxes on oil and gas and is the first in the country to cover a broad range of incomes, with families earning up to 400% of the federal poverty level eligible. WaPo

The US government has launched a $45 billion initiative to provide affordable, reliable high-speed internet to all Americans by the end of this decade. The program aims to eliminate the digital divide, focusing on the inclusion of communities of colour, rural communities, and older Americans. Department of Commerce

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, around 16 million people have been enfranchised into the Brazilian financial system. An astounding 85% of Brazilians now have access to financial services, marking one of the highest increases in the banked population in decades. WEF

The IEA says renewables’ growth so far this year has been much faster than expected. China is leading the way as usual, but expansion is also accelerating in Europe, India and Latin America: global new solar capacity is currently on track to smash all records in 2022.

China tripled investments into solar power in the first four months of this year, putting the nation on track to install record amounts of new clean energy in 2022. Investment in solar was $4.3 billion from January through April, about 204% higher than in the same period a year earlier. Bloomberg

Major fossil fuel exit by BBRI, the largest public company in Indonesia, which serves 43% of the population. The bank's CEO has announced it will stop financing 'harmful' energy commodities such as coal and oil. "If the world wants to live another 1,000 years, it has to take 100 years of medicine." Bisnis

Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium just announced a plan to install a monstrous 150GW of offshore wind in the North Sea by 2050 - half of all the offshore wind necessary to get the EU to net zero. To put that in perspective, total installed capacity worldwide at the moment is 25GW. Wild. Business Green

Renewables aren't immune to supply chain gyrations, but compared to fossil fuels, there's just no comparison. Even before the war in Ukraine, coal and gas in the EU was a lot more expensive than solar, but now it's getting ridiculous. Transition Zero

Europe is putting its shoulder hard to the wheel. The European Commission just unveiled a €300 billion plan to become independent of Russian energy imports by 2030. It includes a provision to make solar panels mandatory on all buildings. "We must now reduce as rapidly as possible our reliance on Russia in energy. We can." Independent

Vietnam is planning an aggressive switch from coal, to wind and solar to decarbonize its power sector and meet rising demand. Its new national power plan says no new coal-fired power plants will be built from now on, and aims instead for a 50.7% share of the generation stack for wind and solar by 2045. IHS Markit

Texas burns more coal than any other state in the United States. However, no other state has as much renewable energy either, and there's now enough wind and solar in the pipeline to almost completely replace all of the state’s coal generation. The big bottleneck isn't projects any more, it's transmission lines. PV Magazine

California's Senate just passed the California Fossil Fuel Divestment Act, which would require CalPERS and CalSTRS, the two largest public pension funds in the US, to divest from fossil fuels. “This is a great step in the right direction. State pension funds should be invested in the future of the state, not in a dark and deadly fossil fuel past." Fossil Free California

One of the most undertold stories in all of energy is how Kenya is rapidly decarbonizing thanks to geothermal. The country just hit a new peak for electricity demand - and the largest share, around 40%, came from geothermal power plants. The next biggest power source? Hydropower. Kengen

Officials from the G7 wealthy nations just announced they will aim for 'predominantly decarbonized power sectors by 2035.' That's a big step up, especially for Japan. 12 months ago, the same meeting ended with the aim of 'overwhelmingly decarbonized power sectors by the 2030s'. DW

The Netherlands will ban gas boilers and make hybrid heat pumps the standard for heating homes from 2026. The government has increased the subsidy for the purchase of heat pumps to an average of 30% from this year. The United Kingdom is also planning to ban gas boilers in new homes after 2025. Energy Live News

Volvo will be the world's first truck maker to use fossil-free steel. The steel is produced by the Swedish steel company SSAB using hydrogen, and will initially be used in the trucks' frame rails and vehicle backbones where other components are mounted. Production will begin in the third quarter of 2022. Greenbiz

In China, the world's biggest car market, EV sales are rocketing. In the first four months of 2022, the number of plugin vehicles more than doubled from a year earlier to 1.49 million. Clean energy vehicles accounted for 23% of China's passenger car market, whole overall vehicle sales fell 12%, reflecting a steep decline in demand for gasoline cars. Reuters

In the United States, the world's second largest car market, an electric car is now cheaper on a monthly basis than a comparable gasoline car in almost every state (once financing, taxes, maintenance and fuel costs are included). Bloomberg

A new analysis of trucking in California and New York has shown that 65% of medium-duty trucks and 49% of heavy-duty trucks are driving short enough routes that they could be replaced with electric models that are on the market right now. RMI

Electric vehicles of all types are already displacing about 1.5 million barrels of oil a day worldwide. Most of that is from electric two and three-wheelers and electric buses in China. Thanks to all those batteries, 3.4% of global transport oil demand is now gone. Bloomberg

Last month, the Global Environment Facility announced a record round of new funding of $5.25 billion, covering the next four years. This represents a 30% increase over the previous funding period for one of the world’s largest and most influential environmental grantmakers.

A new 'super reserve' in the UK will knit together six protected sites spanning 15,000 acres of wetland in Somerset. The project is designed to boost populations of the avocet, marsh harrier, skylark, and hairy dragonfly. The announcement coincides with the 70th anniversary of England’s first six national reserves, which have since increased in number to 219.

California has a new park for the first time in 13 years. Once used as dairy pastures and almond orchards, Dos Rios Ranch is a 2,100-acre riverfront property and will provide restored habitats for endangered animals like the sandhill crane, riparian brush rabbit and Chinook salmon. It's California's 280th state park. SF Gate

If this isn’t a story of hope, we don’t know what is. A 45-acre junkyard of rusting cars and thousands of barrels of toxic chemicals has been added to Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Over the past 16 years, the site has been transformed into a wetland teeming with birds and plants thanks to one of the National Park Service's most extensive and expensive rehabilitation projects. Nat Geo

Here’s a twist … London’s new Elizabeth underground line will benefit birds as well as commuters. A sanctuary has been created out of the 3.5 million tonnes of earth dug up during construction. The Jubilee Marsh spans over 160 ha and tens of thousands of migratory birds have already taken up residence including avocets, spoonbills, black-tailed godwits, and little egrets. Guardian

Europe removed a record-breaking 239 dams in 2021. With wind and solar outcompeting hydroelectricity, more dams are likely to be made redundant, and a key element of the European Union Biodiversity Strategy is to restore at least 25,000km of rivers to a free-flowing state by 2030. Dam Removal EU

A big milestone for the greater one-horned rhino, with the population in Assam, India reaching 4,014, an increase of 274 since last count thanks to a baby boom during the pandemic. This is an incredible recovery for a species that once numbered fewer than 100 individuals.

Meanwhile, conservationists in South Africa have translocated four young black rhinos to the Bonamanzi Game Reserve to help preserve population genetics. Black rhino populations fell to just 2,400 in the early 90s due to poaching but protection measures have helped boost populations to around 5,600 today. Mongabay

12 years of conservation efforts in Bangladesh have helped halt the decline in vulture populations. Populations fell by 95% last decade and the red-headed species was declared locally extinct. However since 2015 numbers have remained stable thanks to a ban on harmful veterinary drugs and the creation of “vulture safe zones” across the country. Mongabay

The vulture has also inspired a communally managed forest project, Nuevo Bécal, Mexico. Encouraged by the positive results of a king vulture sanctuary established in 2012, the Ejidatarios people have conserved a further 2,284 ha of their territory, making it the largest voluntary conservation project in Mexico. Mongabay

The largest private conservation project in Canada has just been unveiled - 1,450 km2 of boreal forest in northern Ontario. The protected land is more than twice the size of Toronto, and home to more than 100 lakes and 1,300 kilometres of rivers, streams, and shorelines, including habitat vital to freshwater quality and native fish species. Weather Network

In the last five years, a restoration project in Brazil has recovered 5,000 ha of forest cover in a watershed serving São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, with plans to reforest another 1.5 million ha by 2030. The program was inspired by a smaller conservation project in Extrema, which has planted more than 2 million native trees since 2005. Mongabay

Some of the world’s biggest mining companies, including Rio Tinto, Anglo American and Vale, have withdrawn requests to extract minerals on Indigenous lands in the Amazon, despite efforts by Jair Bolsonaro. Brazil’s Constitution states mining can only take place on Indigenous lands with consent. AP

America’s waning appetite for meat has resulted in a 35% decrease in greenhouse emissions. New research has found daily beef consumption plummeted by an average 40% per person between 2003 and 2018, and there’s also been steady shift away from dairy, eggs, chicken, and pork. Anthropocene

26 years after San Francisco pioneered city-wide composting, it’s now collecting over 500 tonnes of compost from green bins every day, diverting 80% of the city’s waste from landfill and turning it into high-quality compost in 60 days. Inspired by the city’s success, California will enact state-wide composting to reduce landfilling of compostable materials by 75% by 2025. RTBC

Europe’s conservation projects are paying off, with a dramatic increase in mammal populations facing extinction 50 years ago. Compared to 1960, there are 30 times the number of bison, twice as many bears, three times more elk and five times the population of deer. The most remarkable recovery however, is beaver populations, which have increased by an estimated 140-fold. OWD

The most magnificent green buildings around the world. Some proper eye candy here - including this incredible winery in Georgia. Euronews

Shilda winery in Kakheti, Georgia. 

16th April 2022 - 16th May 2022

In 2020, India approved Pneumosil, a vaccine for pneumococcal disease. It's a been a huge success story, produced in India, by an Indian company, and now being distributed globally to other low- and middle-income countries for S$2 per dose. Gavi, the international vaccine alliance, estimates it will prevent the deaths of around 50,000 Indian children each year.

Over one million children in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi have now received one or more doses of the world’s first malaria vaccine. The rollout began as a pilot program in Malawi in 2019 and once widely deployed, could save the lives of up to an additional 80 000 children each year. WHO

Remember COVID-19? We’ve come a long way… as of the 15th May 2022, we're down to 0.23 deaths per 1 million people worldwide, a level last reached on March 25, 2020. Although new variants are increasing the number of cases, the extraordinary global vaccination efforts is helping reduce hospitalisations as well as fatalities. OWD

Nearly half a million Kenyans were lifted out of extreme poverty last year as the country bounced back from the pandemic. The World Bank says the number of people living on less than $1.90 a day fell from 19.2 million or 35.7% of the population in 2020, to 18.8 million or 34.3% in 2021, and will fall further to 18.7 million by the end of 2022. Business Daily Africa

Vietnam has made significant progress on poverty in the last decade. The poverty rate fell from 16.8% to 5% between 2010 and 2020, lifting over 10 million people out of poverty. Although progress was stalled during the pandemic, it did not reverse, and the poverty rate is now falling again. World Bank

Bangladesh and Canada have both recorded declines in poverty in the past two years. Poverty in Bangladesh decreased from 12.5% in 2020 to 11.9% in 2021, making the country a role model for poverty reduction in the developing world. Meanwhile 1.4 million people in Canada were lifted out of poverty in 2020 thanks to substantial government supports during the pandemic.

The reduction in motor vehicle deaths in the United States is one of the country's most substantial public health acheivements. In 2000, car accidents were responsible for 13,049 deaths among young people (13.62 per 100,000 persons). Twenty years later, there has been a nearly 40% decrease, with 8,234 deaths (8.31 per 100,000 persons) recorded in 2020. NEJM

A new global study on type 2 diabetes has shown disease management and education programs are working, with a decline in death rates across 16 high-income countries. "There is still a long way to go to control the many risks, but these findings provide promising evidence that we are moving in the right direction." Medical Xpress

The fight against diabetes continues in Mexico, where the implementation of a soda tax has helped decrease consumption of soft drinks. Diabetes used to be the country's leading cause of death between 2000-2006, but a group of advocates and politicians challenged the industry and passed a federal soda tax there in 2013. Fewer Mexicans are drinking soda as a result. Civil Eats

Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada, with estimates showing that 43% of the population will receive a diagnosis in their lifetime. Good news then - even though overall numbers are up, due to an ageing population - the age related mortality rate has dropped to its lowest level ever recorded. CMAJ

Age-standardized mortality rates for selected cancers in Canada, 1984–2022, by sex. Note: Shading indicates projected data.

A huge victory for LGBTQI+ rights in South Korea with a landmark judgement reversing the conviction of two soldiers who were jailed for consensual same-sex sexual acts while off duty. The military has a long history of violating same-sex rights and the ruling will hopefully pave the way for military personnel to live and love without the threat of prosecution. Amnesty

New Mexico recently established the most extensive tuition-free scholarship program in the US, and Maine has proposed making two years of community college free for high school graduates. This would bring the total number of states with free-college programs to 30, i.e 60% of all US states would have free tuition opportunities. CNBC

Spain is finalizing a draft law that guarantees the right to abortion, and scraps a requirement for 16 and 17-year-olds to obtain parental consent for the procedure. The new government is also introducing up to five days of medical leave for women suffering from severe period pain, and has made it a criminal offence for anyone to harass women attending clinics to voluntarily terminate pregnancies.

Since 1994, 59 countries around the world have expanded the rights of women to choose what to do with their bodies. Only four countries, Poland, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and the United States, have tightened abortion laws during that period. The moral arc of history does bend towards progress - even if it's not always a straight line. NYT

Allianz, one of the world’s biggest oil and gas insurers, just committed to stop insuring and investing in new oil and gas fields, new oil power plants, projects in the Arctic, and new midstream oil infrastructure as of January 2023, and will not renew existing contracts as of July 1, 2023. In case it wasn't obvious, this is a really big one. Insure Our Future

BlackRock, the world's largest private equity firm, and still the largest investor in coal developers, is now projecting that by 2030, three quarters of the investments in its portfolio will be tied to a requirement to cut net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, up from 25% currently. Reuters

Quebec has become the first jurisdiction in the world to explicitly ban oil and gas development in its territory, following decades of environmental and grassroots campaigning. It's a pretty radical move - Canada is among the top five oil producers worldwide; the new law ends all petroleum exploration and production as well as the public financing of those activities in Quebec. National Observer

96% of all new electricity capacity added in the US in the first two months of this year was either wind or solar, and in April 2022 the country reached a major milestone, with wind and solar accounting for 20% of all electricity production. Ember

The change is being predominantly driven by a wind boom across Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas. "I love the sound of wind turbines in the morning - it's the sound of money." And California just set an extraordinary new record: on the 30th April, 99.87% of the state's electricity load was served by renewables. Desert Sun

The US Bureau of Land Management is planning 39 utility scale solar projects totalling 29GW of capacity on federal lands within the next three years. That’s China-scale stuff, more than twice France’s entire installed solar capacity, and five times larger than the record-breaking US wind power auction held earlier this year. Recharge News

After years of dithering, American utilities are finally getting with the program. In the next two years they will spend $280 billion on upgrading the country's ageing grids. It's the largest overhaul of energy infrastructure since the 1970s, and will make the transition to renewable energy possible, and prepare the influx of electric vehicles. WSJ

Just in time too. The pipeline of solar, wind, and storage projects in interconnection queues across the United States has soared to a record 1,300GW. “The sheer volume of clean energy capacity in the queues is remarkable.” By contrast, there's only 75GW of fossil gas is in the queue, and less than 1GW of coal. Berkeley Lab

Hello energy transition!

Capacity in interconnection queues in the United States as of the end of 2021.

According to Bloomberg, China is on track to install 140GW of wind and solar power this year. That's more than the entire world installed in 2020. Oh, and and IRENA just reported that in 2021, 81% of all new energy generation capacity added around the world was renewable - 88% of that from wind and solar.

China's momentous 2021 pledge to end support for new overseas coal power plants has led to 15 projects being shelved or cancelled, with another 32 on the chopping block. Meanwhile, Inner Mongolia, the country's second largest coal-producing region, is planning to add 135GW of renewables by 2025 in an effort to meet Beijing’s goal of peak emissions by 2030. Bloomberg

The Chinese Academy of Engineering has joined a chorus of researchers who think the country will hit peak emissions before 2030. The state-linked think tank is is projecting that emissions will top out in 2027, and that more than 80% of China's power will come from non-fossil fuel sources by around 2045. Bloomberg

How's this for a sign of the times. More than a decade after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima rendered large swaths of farmland unusable, some of those fields are now home to sprawling solar arrays. Around 40% of the prefecture's power now comes from renewables, with plans underway to spend $2.75 billion to get to 100% by 2040. France24

13 April 2014 (left) vs 31 March 2022 (right). Click to enlarge

Carbon dioxide removal has been on the fringe for years, but in the last few weeks, almost $2 billion of funding and government has been announced, indicating the start of a new era.

  • Climeworks has raised $600 million in the biggest carbon removal startup deal ever.
  • Stripe, Alphabet, Meta, Shopify, and McKinsey have teamed up to launch Frontier Climate and catalyze the carbon removals market with nearly $1 billion of advanced commitments.
  • Lowercarbon Capital has pulled the wraps off a $350 million in new CDR-exclusive venture fund.
  • The US Department of Energy is investing $14 million in pilot projects to scale up direct air capture and storage technologies.

We've been saying this for a while - wait until the Germans get going on electric vehicles. Mercedes is now taking the fight to Tesla with their EQXX prototype, which has a 1,000 km range, well above the range of any petrol or diesel-powered vehicle, and 40% more energy efficient than a Tesla Model 3.

The 2022 Our Ocean Conference has just finished, and secured 410 new commitments worth over $16 billion for improving the health, productivity and protection of the world’s oceans. This includes $700 million to protect the Great Barrier Reef. To date, the event has protected at least 13 million km2 of ocean. Mongabay

The Biden administration has just signed an executive order strengthening the protection of the country’s old-growth forests, conservation organizations in Maine say they now have more than 20,000 acres under management, and a remote wilderness in Michigan is expanding after been gifted 1,300 acres of neighbouring property.

After a monumental effort to rid Lord Howe of an estimated 210,000 rats, the island’s ecosystem is thriving. “What is unfolding is an ecological renaissance, since the rodents have gone, the catchphrase is: ‘I’ve never seen that before’.” Among the animals bouncing back is one of Australia’s rarest birds, the flightless Woodhen, whose population has doubled to 565 in the past three years. SMH

The team from the NSW Government’s Saving Our Species program and the Australian Museum spent more than 400 painstaking hours looking for the tiny snails at 200 survey sites on the remote island.

Greyhound racing is essentially dead in the United States. By the end of this year, there will only be two tracks left in the country. To put this in perspective - in the 1980s there were more than 50 tracks, but concerns about how dogs were treated have now nearly eliminated a sport that gained widespread appeal a century ago. Nat Geo

The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund is adding an additional 796 km2 to its community led conservation programs in the DRC, in an effort to repeat its success with mountain gorillas for lowland dwelling Grauer gorillas. The move means that 2,379 km2 are now being watched over by about 20 families. AP

Construction has begun on the world’s largest wildlife crossing for animals caught in Southern California’s urban sprawl. The bridge will stretch 61 meters over the US 101, giving big cats, coyotes, deer and other wildlife a safe path to the nearby Santa Monica Mountains. “This crossing could not have come at a better time. It is truly a game changer.” AP

The NOAA has designated a large swathe of Alaskan coastline, roughly the size of Texas, as critical habitat for nayiit and makliit (ringed and bearded seals). It’s a preventative measure to protect populations in the wake of melting sea ice. and new restrictions on oil missions, commercial fishing, and federal military activities have also been enforced. Kyuk

The Magpie River in Quebec has been granted legal personhood as the ‘rights of nature movement’ gains global momentum. The rights were advocated by the Innu First Nation people to combat the impact of dams, and include the right to flow, maintain biodiversity, be pollution-free, and to sue.  Many of the world’s rivers have now been granted legal rights, most notably the Amazon in 2018. Nat Geo

We need to see that as humans we are not above the water or the animals. We are part of a whole. When we heal the earth, we heal ourselves, too.
Uapukun Mestokosho, a member of the Mutehekau Shipu Alliance

The Magpie River. Credit: Peter Holcombe

California’s coastal kelp forests are making a comeback, with the area of several sites now increasing. The forests had receded by more than 95% due to global warming and an explosion in purple sea urchins that local conservatists removed by hand. Kelp forests play a crucial role as carbon sinks, sequestering three to five times more carbon than similar size tropical forests. Discovery

A rewilding project in Dorset is close to establishing a breeding population of ospreys in the British Isles for the first time since the Middle Ages. The project began in 2017 with the transfer of six week-old chicks from Scotland and recently a male and female returned safely from their migration to Africa. Conservationists have their fingers crossed for the pitter-patter of osprey claws. BBC

Researchers in Greece are experimenting with farming metal from shrubs. The plants, known as 'hyperaccumulators' thrive in toxic metal-rich soils by drawing the metal out of the ground and storing it in their leaves and stems. As well as providing a source for rare metals like nickel, zinc, aluminium and even gold, these plants sequester carbon in their roots, regenerating the soil for other crops. Guardian

Humans have sought out deposits of rare metals for thousands of years and developed ever-more violent ways of accessing them, but these plants have found more equitable and regenerative ways of doing much the same thing. Perhaps we have something to learn from them.
James Bridle, Author of Ways of Being: Beyond Human Intelligence

The famous blue latex of the New Caledonian tree Pycnandra acuminata, containing 25% nickel.

27th March 2022 - 15th April 2022

Two amazing vaccine stories to kick things off. Nepal has introduced the typhoid vaccine into its routine immunisation programme, aiming to reach 95% of the country's 7.5 million children. And in Bangladesh, a three day COVID-19 vaccination campaign reached a staggering 12 million people, bringing the proportion of the vaccinated population to 72%.

Drones in Rwanda have made over 265,000 commercial deliveries of medical supplies, and account for three quarters of blood donations delivered outside Kigali. The blood arrives an average of 90 minutes earlier than by road, and there's been a 67% decrease in blood product expiration after the drone delivery programme was put in place. The Lancet

A new report from the UK's Health Security Agency shows there has been considerable progress towards eliminating hepatitis C as a public health problem in England. The prevalence of chronic hepatitis C declined to around 81,000 in 2020 (compared to 129,000 in 2015) – a 37% fall amongst the general population. UKHSA

The US Centre for Disease Control and Detection has released new data showing that cancer, the country's second leading cause of mortality, has seen historic drops in death rates in the last two decades. Between 2001 to 2020, cancer death rates fell by 27%, from 196.5 deaths per 100,000 people, to to 144.1 per 100,000. "The goal is now to turn cancer into a chronic disease rather than a fatal one."

*Deaths per 100,000 standard population. Source: CDC

Remember how someone once proposed building a wall to divide Texas and Mexico? Well thanks to a grassroots collaboration between the border towns of Laredo and Nuevo Laredo, a binational river park will be created instead. The joint restoration project will span approximately 10 km and focus on the conservation of the Rio Grande River. Dezeen

Over 460 acres of ancestral land has been returned to the Rappahannock Tribe at Fornes Cliffs in Virginia. The land is also home to one of the largest nesting populations of bald eagles on the Atlantic coast and the tribe plan to create a replica 16th-century village to educate visitors about their history, and train tribal youth in traditional river knowledge. Smithsonian

One of Massachusetts' oldest prisons is shutting down, thanks to reduced incarceration rates and high maintenance costs.The prison is operating at only 68% capacity, because the state now has the lowest proportion of people in jail in 35 years. WBUR

The fruit of that work — the lowest level of incarceration in decades — was achieved by providing at-risk individuals with pathways to positive life choices, creating new re-entry services, and empowering returning citizens to rebuild their lives in meaningful ways.
Terrence Reidy, Public Safety and Security Secretary, Massachussets

Six years after deliberations first began, Indonesia has passed a landmark bill to tackle sexual violence, providing a legal framework for victims to seek justice. A majority of lawmakers backed the bill in parliament, successfully overcoming conservative opposition in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country. "This is surely a step forward." Al Jazeera

Indonesian activists celebrate parliament's passing of the sexual violence bill in Jakarta, Indonesia, on April 12.

The number of women dying during pregnancy or in childbirth across India continues to fall. Government figures published last month revealed that the maternal mortality rate dropped from 122 per 100,000 births in 2015, to 103 per 100,000 in 2019. Experts say India is now on track to hit the UN’s target of less than 70 deaths per 100,000 births by 2030. Telegraph

According to the IMF, India has almost eradicated extreme poverty and brought down consumption inequality to its lowest levels in 40 years. The proportion of people living in extreme poverty is now less than 1%, and has remained steady even during the pandemic on the back of 'in-kind' subsidies, especially food rations. Hindustan Times

Following Iceland’s success, 60 organisations in the United Kingdom have signed up for the world’s biggest four-day week trial. Starting in June, the trial will measure the impact of reduced hours on productivity, environment, and gender equality. 3,000 workers will take part, working one day less for their usual pay. Euro News

An international fundraising event in Warsaw last Saturday managed to raise over $10 billion from governments, companies and foundations for humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, completely filling the UN Refugee Agency’s funding gap. That makes it the most successful charity event in human history. Global Citizen

Check out this analysis from Kingsmill Bond, an energy strategist, who predicts that Putin’s aggression will drive a faster shift to clean energy, catalyzing market conditions and political appetite for renewables to displace fossil fuels. Canary

In more 'Vladimir Putin, Strategic Genius' news, both Japan and the European Union have announced they will be phasing out their imports of Russian coal. That will affect more than a quarter of all Russian coal exports, amounting to around €8 billion loss of revenue per year for Russia.

Russia's ambitions in the Arctic are dead in the water too. Novatek and Gazprom, the country's two biggest fossil gas companies, are fully dependent on western technology, and the latest round of sanctions from the EU have effectively crippled their Arctic operations. With the halt in LNG projects, Russia will not be able to achieve its dreams of a Northern Sea Route either. Barent Observer

Germany's new government just released its 'Easter Agreement,' the most ambitious clean energy target among all industrialised nations. It's the country's biggest energy reform in decades, a new policy that frees up land for clean energy production, speeds up permit procedures, and aims to achieve a 100% renewable power supply by 2035. Deutsche Welle

Portugal is accelerating its energy transition, with a new goal to increase the share of renewables in electricity production to 80% by 2026, four years earlier than previously planned. "Portugal has already taken very significant measures in the energy transition, but the evolution and duration of the war in Ukraine must necessarily imply new measures.” PV Tech

Up to 75% of the electricity flowing into the Irish grid can now come from variable renewable sources. It's the first national power system in the world  to reach this level, overcoming 'major technical challenges' to succesfully integrate electricity from wind farms, solar farms and interconnectors linking it with other countries. ReNews

Making electricity grids sexy again. Credit: EirGrid

Buoyed by a surge in investment and new projects, wind power has become Spain's main source of electricity generation, and just in time, as Europe seeks to curb its energy imports from Russia. The country now plans to become the 'energy breadbasket' of Europe, aiming to generate 74% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030. TechXplore

The Philippines is massively ramping up its solar capacity, with planned projects growing 10-fold in the last year. As of March 2022, the country has 13 GW of solar in the pipeline, up from a paltry 1.3 GW in March 2021, with wind power also growing substantially. PV Tech

Taiwan is planning a massive clean energy spending spree, in an effort to accelerate its energy transition. Government and state-owned companies will spend about $32 billion between 2022 and 2030 on renewable technologies, grid infrastructure and energy storage. Bloomberg

Good news: 83% of all new power capacity added in the United States in 2021 was renewable, while fossil gas additions were down 50% compared to 2019. The US also set a major renewable energy milestone earlier this month: wind power was the country's second-highest source of electricity, edging out nuclear and coal for the first time since the EIA began gathering the data. CNN

Maryland has become the latest US state to mandate an end to carbon emissions on a net basis economy-wide by the middle of the century. The package, which includes substantial environmental-justice provisions, has instantly become one of the country’s most aggressive climate change laws. Canary

Japan's three largest banks, amongst the largest remaining financiers of coal in the world, have announced they will stop financing new thermal coal mining. The three institutions are thought to have billions of dollars in outstanding loans to the coal mining industry, a tally expected to decline gradually with the end of new financing. Nikkei

Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, one of the largest private domestic banks in the Philippines, says it will stop providing financial support for existing coal plants by 2031. In December 2020, it became the first Philippines bank to announce it would no longer provide financial support for new coal power projects. Business Mirror

Consumers in the United Kingdom bought more electric cars in March 2021 than in whole of 2019, despite the overall car market being down by 14% year on year. “At the current rate, sales of new electric vehicles will overtake both traditional petrol and diesel sales by 2025." Guardian

Canada just joined the ranks of countries and states planning to ban sales of combustion engine cars, requiring all new passenger car sales to be zero-emissions by 2035. The government will gradually ramp up pressure on automakers, requiring at least 20% zero-emissions sales by 2026 and 60% by 2030. Engadget

A picture from the future: over 90% of vehicles sold in Norway last month were electric. Yes, it's a small country, yes incentives, but this shows what's possible, and how the switch is likely to happen sooner than many expect. What's particularly encouraging is seeing how EVs are starting to eat into overall distance travelled by all cars. Clean Technica

The world is about to pass another important milestone in electric vehicle adoption. Bloomberg is estimating that 20 million plug-in vehicles will be on the road globally by June 2022. That’s remarkable growth from only one million in 2016, and way, way faster than anyone (including BNEF) predicted even a year ago.

Australia has just created a 744,000 km2 marine park around Christmas Island and the Cocos-Keeling atoll, south of Indonesia. Bigger than Texas, and over twice the size of the Great Barrier Reef marine park, it joins a network of 60 others around the country, spanning more than four million km2 — a staggering 45% of Australia's waters. ABC

Australia is expanding its Indigenous Rangers Program, which will see a substantial increase in First Nations people involved in various 'caring for Country' activities, from protecting marine turtles to monitoring illegal fishing and conducting low-intensity burns. Over the next six years, $636.4 million will fund over 1,000 new rangers and 88 new ranger groups across the country. SMH

Ranger Aaron Morgan at the Budj Bim Indigenous Protection Area inspects a fish trap at Lake Condah. 

An indigenous community on the southwest coast of Colombia has helped establish a new marine protected area, conserving one of the country’s most undisturbed ecosystems. The Isla Ají MPA will cover 9,425 hectares of coastal ecosystems and 15,174 hectares of marine ecosystems, and is the result of more than two decades of negotiations. WCS

The US non-profit Rainforest Trust has protected over one million acres of habitat across Belize, Ecuador, Guatemala, Bangladesh, and Myanmar in 2022 alone. Since inception the trust has protected 38 million acres of habitat with 99% of forest area still standing post-protection. The trust is well on its way to achieving its pledge of an additional 125 million acres by 2025.

Nepal’s first official bird sanctuary, the Ghodaghodi Lake Complex, will protect over 360 bird species, including the endangered great hornbill, the lesser adjutant stork, and Indian spotted eagle. Spanning 2,563 hecta, the complex is one of the world’s most important wetlands, providing a critical wildlife corridor for animals like the Bengal tiger and red-crowned roofed turtle. Mongabay

Scotland’s forests are expanding at breakneck speed: the share of the country that is forested has increased from just under 6% at the beginning of the 20th century, to around 18% today. Scotland now has nearly as much forest as it did 1,000 years ago, and the government has set a target for 21% by 2032. New Statesman

Data from OurWorldinData, photo by Ian Rutherford / Alamy

The state of Victoria, Australia is restoring an area five times the size of Melbourne, with plans to spend $31 million to revegetate parcels of land, capturing carbon and creating habitat for endangered wildlife. The scheme, known as BushBank, includes $7 million in grants for traditional owner corporations for restoration on country. Guardian

Starbucks has joined a growing global movement to eliminate PFAS, a group of chemicals widely used in everyday products, and linked to a range of health problems, from cancer to thyroid and immune issues. The coffee giant will remove all PFAS in its packaging by the end of 2023. Burger King, McDonalds and Taco Bell have also committed to ending PFAS packaging by 2025. EHN

A scheme to reintroduce brown bears to the Pyrenees in Spain has achieved remarkable success, with 70 individuals identified in 2021, the highest number for a century. There have been 15 pups born over the course of last year, and 114 newborns since the scheme was launched in 1996. Guardian

The populations of two of the world’s most iconic animals – gorillas and rhinos - are benefiting from a new understanding that conservation can serve a dual goal of protecting wildlife and enhancing human livelihoods. In Assam, India, more than 400 poachers were offered salaries to become wildlife rangers, and as a result the population of the one-horned rhinoceros has registered an increase of 200. In Uganda, endangered mountain gorilla families hace welcomed at least 34 new babies during the pandemic, thanks to work of ranger/community groups established to mediate human-gorilla conflicts.

The one-horned rhinoceros was once driven to the verge of extinction, with less than 200 left by the end of the 19th century. Conservation efforts have revived the species and brought their worldwide numbers to around 3,000 now — the bulk of them in Kaziranga, Assam and Chitwan, Nepal. Photo: Dhritiman Mukherjee

Californian rice farmers and ecologists have joined forces to restore Chinook salmon runs by flooding rice fields with water from the Sacramento River, mimicking the region’s original ecological rhythms. Inspired by traditional methods from Asia, the 'salmon-rice project' has recorded an 80% survival rate for juveniles, which are growing five times faster due to lush zooplankton from decomposed rice straws.

Svalbard's walruses are back. In 1952, they were almost extinct, thanks to more than 300 years of ivory hunting. So the Norwegian government banned commercial hunting of these endangered creatures, and they began to rebound. In 2006, there were 2,629 walruses in Svalbard. Today, that number is at 5,503. Smithsonian

There is a welcome and wonderful sight appearing on beaches in the Seychelles. The endangered green turtle is making a comeback, after several decades of protection and monitoring. More than 15,000 annual clutches are now appearing, up from 3,000 in the 1960s. "This is just the beginning. There's potential for this population to double, triple, we're not even sure." The Week

South Australia's endangered sea lion population has been given a chance to bounce back after a decade-long marine conservation program substantially reduced their deaths in fishing nets. Researchers say there's been 98% reduction in sea lion bycatch mortality in gillnet fisheries since the strategy was implemented. ABC

Photo by @rosie.leaney

12th March 2022 - 26th March 2022

The WHO just released new data on humanity's efforts to eliminate one of the world's leading causes of death for newborns, maternal and neonatal tetanus. It's quite a dataset. Between 2000 and 2020, 52 out of the WHO's 59 priority countries achieved elimination, global cases decreased by 88%, and deaths decreased by 92%, from 170,829 in 2000 to just 14,230 in 2019.

This is one of those stories that should be everywhere, but instead always ends up relegated to internet purgatory. In the past decade, a global network of organisations called the Clean Cooking Alliance has helped over 400 million people access clean cooking fuels and technology, saving an estimated 4.6 million lives from premature deaths linked to household air pollution.

A new study in The Lancet has reported some unexpected benefits of COVID-19 restrictions, with 720,000 fewer cases of dengue recorded globally since April 2020. Restrictions on movement have provided researchers with new insights into the spread of the disease, especially in public places. "We found really unexpected benefits that are going to help us better fight dengue in the future." NYT

The feminist movement in Pakistan is gaining momentum, after the inaugural Women’s March in 2018 evolved into a sustained campaign. Collective action is shaking up the male-dominated social order in the Muslim-majority nation and rewriting narratives around gender-based violence, body politics, sexuality and consent. New Frame

South Africa has stepped up its protection for women and children, passing three new laws on gender-based violence. Under the new legislation, all sexual offenders will be listed on a national register and survivors will be able to access protection orders online. The new laws have also significantly expanded the definition of ‘domestic violence’. Global Citizen

Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott had donated $436 million to Habitat for Humanity, and $275 million to Planned Parenthood, the largest gift from a single donor in the organization's more than 100-year history. Since last June, Scott has donated more than $3.8 billion to 465 non-profit organizations. Reuters

Credit: Leah Hogsten/AP

The first same-sex couples have married in Chile, after a landmark law passed late last year came into effect. Chile's LGBT community campaigned for marriage equality for years, and the new law also paves the way for more same-sex couples to adopt and share parental legal rights and responsibilities. BBC

Black business ownership in America is 30% higher than pre-pandemic levels and women are driving most of that growth. In April 2020, the number of Black-owned businesses dropped by 41% but numbers rebounded as Black women took the lead, launching and pivoting businesses and banding together with local communities to keep their doors open. NPR

One of China’s biggest coal-producing regions, the Shaanxi Province, achieved national air quality standards for the first time in 2021, with a 14.3% reduction of PM2.5 from 2020. The region logged a total of 295.4 ‘good air quality’ days, 10.3 days more than the goal set by China after making a targeted effort to reduce coal consumption and penalise environmental offences. Xinhua

The Nigerian state of Zamfara is close to eliminating lead poisoning cases among children linked to hazardous gold mining in the region. In 2010, over 600 children died and hundreds were left with brain damage and physical disabilities. Thanks to screening programs, chelation therapy and safer mining practices however, there have been no child deaths from lead poisoning since October 2021. Guardian

Arnold Schwarzenegger has posted a 9 minute video appeal to the Russian people, warning them they are being fed misinformation about their country's assault on Ukraine. It's a masterpiece of storytelling, cutting through in a way no other politician or public figure has been able to. The video has been viewed more than 55 million times in Russia. BBC

Panama has enacted a Rights of Nature law as part of a growing global movement to give nature unique legal rights to fight ecological harm. It joins Bolivia, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico as countries that have also enacted similar legislation in the last few years. Inside Climate News

Oregon lawmakers just passed legislation to conserve 33,000 hectares of the Elliott State Forest for research, protecting it against logging and future threats. The site contains significant old-growth forest and supports 20% of the wild Oregon Coast coho salmon population. The assembly also allocated $7 million for the creation of wildlife crossing structures. Oregon Wild

Landmark legislation in Western Australia will end native logging and secure 400,000 hectares of one of the most diverse native forests on earth. Activists campaigned for 50 years to protect these forests, containing rare tingle, jarrah, karri, marri, tuart, and wandoo trees which have been radically depleted by logging since the 1800s. ABC

The Sentinel Landscapes Partnership will conserve 3.1 million hectares of forests, farms, and wildlife habitat around the Eglin Airforce Base in northwest Florida. The partnership is a unique collaboration between all levels of government, environmental groups, and landowners to advance sustainable practices around military installations. Defenders of Wildlife

A court in Montana has invalidated hundreds of oil and gas leases sold by the Trump administration, to protect the habitat of the iconic sage-grouse. After populations plummeted in recent decades, activists and government officials enacted a conservation plan in 2015. Although the plan was 'reinterpreted' by the last administration, these new measures will ensure the bird’s future protection. Earth Justice

The Biden administration has protected three million acres of critical habitat for the northern spotted owl, after striking down a Trump-era plan to open the area to logging. The owl’s population has been in serious decline for decades and with 70% of its habitat already lost, biologists feared further reduction would lead to extinction. Guardian

Image credit: NYT

Sustainable fishing practices in Abu Dhabi have surged from 8.9 % in 2018 to 62.3% in 2021, putting the Emirates on track to recover 70% of stocks by 2030. A report in 2019 revealed the populations of over 200 species had rapidly declined due to unregulated fishing but authorities swung into action, establishing marine reserves, seasonal fishing bans and regulating minimum catch sizes. NUAE

China has extended fishing bans on the Yellow River, with a total fishing ban on the upper reaches of the river until the end of 2025. The previous three-month moratorium helped restore some of the river’s ecosystem and it’s hoped the extension will further enhance biodiversity conservation. SCMP

An indigenous community in the Brazilian Amazon have boosted the population of pirarucu, a giant freshwater fish, by 425% in 11 years. The Deni community regained control of their 1.5 million ha territory in 2003 and divided their lakes into the three categories: for community use, for managed pirarucu fishing, and lakes where no fishing is allowed. Climate Change News

A rewilding project in Argentina has returned jaguars to the Iberá wetlands for the first time in 70 years and the macaw for the first time since the 1800s. The project, founded in 1998, turns private land into national parks and has successfully reintroduced regionally extinct species like the pampas deer, giant anteaters, collared peccaries and coypus. Getaway

Belgium has officially ended its fur trade, closing all 17 remaining fur farms a year ahead of its 2023 deadline. The victory follows decades of work from animal rights organisations and reflects major shifts in consumer demand. Belgium joins Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Italy, Luxembourg, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Slovenia, and the UK who have also ended the practice. PETA

The Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation has allocated an additional $300 million toward its Andes-Amazon Initiative to fund conservation until 2031. In the past 20 years the initiative has conserved 400 million ha, 50% of its original plan, and is on track to reach 70%. Funding will go toward ensuring that 50 million ha of Indigenous and local community territories, and another 50 million ha of freshwater and forest ecosystems, are effectively managed. Mongabay

Clouds reflected in a blackwater oxbow lake in the Peruvian Amazon. Credit: Mongabay

Will Russia's invasion of Ukraine accelerate Europe's energy transition? You bet. Here's a running tally from the past two weeks:

  • The Netherlands will significantly ramp up the building of offshore wind farms in coming years, doubling the planned capacity by 2030.
  • Austria has set the goal of completely converting its electricity generation to renewables by 2030, announced an additional €250 million in funding. "Each solar power plant brings us closer to energy independence"
  • Germany has U-turned and will now support action to end sales of ICE vehicles within the next 13 years. "The new German government fully supports the end of the internal combustion engine by 2035." Clean Energy Wire
  • Italy says it will cease using Russian gas by 2025, and has approved six new windfarms instead. The country's largest utility Enel, will exit its Russia operations in a “matter of months."
  • France will end government subsidies for residential gas heaters and boost support for fossil fuel free heat pumps instead. France wants to end its imports of Russian gas and oil by 2027.
  • The UK government says a massive expansion of wind farms is now needed as a matter of national security, rather than a way of fighting climate change. The country's offshore wind pipeline is now 86GW, a 60% increase in the past 12 months, and more than eight times current operational capacity.
  • Belgium will extend the lifespan of its nuclear plants by another decade, and plans to spend €1.1 billion to finance its transition to climate neutrality. “This should strengthen our country’s independence from fossil fuels in a chaotic geopolitical context."
  • The European Commission has doubled its objective for home-grown biomethane production to 35 billion cubic metres per year by 2030 as part of efforts to bolster the bloc against future energy crises.
  • The EU will impose the world's first carbon dioxide emissions tariff on imports of steel, cement, fertilisers, aluminium and electricity from 2026.

Also, Europe has a fair bit of that good ol' freedom energy up and running already.

Source: Dominic Reo

China's two main trade policy banks made no new overseas energy finance commitments in 2021 for the first time this century, a sign that Beijing's pledge to stop investing in foreign coal plants is already in effect. It means that 99% of global development financing is now committed to the clean energy transition. Reuters

Mumbai, India's financial centre and home to south Asia's biggest corporations, has announced detailed plans to reach net zero by 2050, with exhaustive changes to the way it manages energy, water, air, waste, green spaces and transport for its 19 million residents. This is two decades ahead of India's national goal and makes Mumbai the first city in South Asia to set a timeline. Straits Times

Just weeks after the EPA began enforcing strict new limits on HFCs, the agency has already blocked imports equal to the emissions from 1.2 million barrels of oil. The new limits will reduce domestic production and consumption of HFCs by 85% over the next 14 years and are expected to prevent up to 0.5°C of warming by 2100. Inside Climate News

The clean energy transition is going to require a LOT of wind turbines, and eventually, those turbine blades have to go somewhere. Good news then from General Electric, which just announced the successful production of its first 100% recyclable wind turbine blade. The 62 metre blade was made using a special resin that can be depolymerized and separate from the fiber, which can be reused again.

Another week, another insane announcement from China. This time, it's an 8,000 km2, 50GW offshore wind farm off the coast of Zhangzhou. A little bit of context: the entire wind energy capacity of the United States is around 120GW. So this is the equivalent of over 40% of all US wind... in a single project. 风电行业垂直门户网站

In Thailand’s northeastern province of Ubon Ratchathani, a reservoir has been transformed into a shimmering network of solar panels, the first of 15 floating 'hydro-solar' farms farms planned to be built over the next 15 years. Once completed, the farms will supply 30% of the country's annual power needs. Euro News

"There are 144,000 solar panels here. One panel is two square metres, so the whole farm is equivalent to 70 football fields. And yet we've used only 0.3% of the dam's surface area."

Standard Bank, Africa’s largest lender, has ruled out financing new coal plants or expanding existing coal plants, and will also stop providing financial support to companies that provide critical services to the coal sector, such as construction and operation contractors. News24

HSBC is phasing down its financing of the fossil fuel industry, sending a warning to its oil and gas clients as the bank works toward its target of net-zero emissions. That's a serious shift by one of the world's biggest remaining funders of oil and gas. Among European banks, only Barclays has assisted in underwriting more debt for fossil fuels since 2015. Bloomberg

MAPFRE, the largest non-life insurer in Latin America, just announced it will not cover or invest in fossil fuel companies that do not have a plan to keep temperature rise below 1.5C. This is a big one - clients include Pemex and Petrobras, Mexico and Brazil's state oil companies respectively, two of the biggest polluters in the world.

Swiss Re, the world's second largest reinsurer, just unveiled its new policy on oil and gas,. From July next year, it will no longer provide cover for companies responsible for the world's 10% most carbon-intensive fossil-fuel production. It will also stop reinsuring any new oil and gas projects that receive the go-ahead from parent companies after 2022. Market Watch

The EPA has reinstated California’s authority under the Clean Air Act to implement its own emission standards for cars and light trucks. This paves the way for both California and 15 other states to use more aggressive tailpipe emission and fuel economy standards.

France's car market is going electric way quicker than anyone predicted. Despite the overall market dropping off a cliff (down 31% compared to February 2020), the share of EVs continues to rise. 40% of all passenger cars sold in France last month had some form of electrification, more than the share of petrol at 38%, the leading fossil fuel powertrain. Clean Technica

Surprise, surprise, surprise. Volkswagen says its EV operations are going to be profitable a lot earlier than expected. Several electric models, including the Porsche Taycan, are already sold out for 2022 and consumer demand is only increasing. “We see better scale, we see better margins, we see high customer demand." CNBC

Oh, and check out the search interest in electric cars in the United States this month...

8th February 2022 - 11th March 2022

Saudi Arabia has become the fourth country in the WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region to eliminate trachoma, the leading infectious cause of blindness. It remains endemic in five countries in the region, but progress has substantially reduced the number of people requiring antibiotic treatment, from 39 million in 2013 to 11 million in 2020. WHO

Japan’s ten year cancer survival rate has increased to 58.9%. This is a disease that was once said to be incurable, but the survival rate has steadily increased alongside medical advances. Prostate cancer in Japan now has the highest survival rate at 99.2%, followed by female breast cancer at 87.5%, colorectal cancer at 69.7% and stomach cancer at 67.3%. Nippon

If you're not from Africa you've probably never heard of bilharzia, the world's most common parasitic infection. It's a debilitating disease caused by a freshwater worm, leading to chronic ill health. New data shows that in 2010, 51 million of sub-Saharan Africa's 223 million school children were infected. By 2019, that number had dropped to 28 million out of 288 million. WHO

Figures (A–C) show the prevalence of Schistosoma haematobium, the major agent of bilharzia, which resides within the small intestine. Figures (D–F) show the prevalence of Schistosoma mansoni, which lives in the veins leading to the genitals or draining the pelvis.

Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a bill raising the age of sexual consent in the Phillipines from 12 to 16. A ‘Romeo and Juliet’ clause will protect young, genuine lovers and the law will close loopholes such as an exemption in cases where victims agreed to marry their abuser. SCMP

A landmark ruling for human rights in the Middle East, with a court in Kuwait overturning legislation used to prosecute transgender people. The 2007 law, allowed authorities to arrest people whose appearance did not match the gender on their ID card. It's a rare advance in a region where being gay or transgender, if not expressly against the law, is usually treated as such. Irish Times

Colombia has decriminalized abortion procedures up to 24 weeks of gestation. The progress is thanks to the feminist 'green wave' sweeping Latin America with pro-choice advocates sporting green bandanas. Abortion was recently decriminalized in Argentina and Mexico, and Ecuador has decriminalized the procedure in cases of rape. Al Jazeera

It’s an awakening of women’s rights. We’ve arrived at a moment in which we were tired of being left behind and just started reclaiming our rights. For many years we were just waiting.
Paula Avila-Guillen, Executive Director of the Women’s Equality Centre

Women celebrate Colombia's constitutional court decision to decriminalise abortion until 24 weeks of gestation, in Bogota, Colombia [Luisa Gonzalez/Reuters]

After a long history of conflict (how's that for an understatement), several Arab countries are welcoming Jewish people back to their countries. In the UAE a government-led effort has resulted in kosher restaurants, a Jewish centre and a state-financed synagogue, and in 2020 the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco all agreed to normalise relations with Israel. Economist

US immigration authorities have released new policies making it easier for children who are victims of abuse to qualify for green cards, finalizing changes first proposed more than a decade ago. Since 2010, more than 130,000 applications have been approved. These new policies will lead to even more vulnerable children being granted residency status. Reuters

The UK has pardoned all gay and bisexual men convicted under a law that criminalised same-sex relations until the 1980s. Activists fought for years to remove convictions for the thousands of men who have struggled to find jobs due a criminal record, in a move aimed at righting the wrongs of the past. Global Citizen

Israel and India have taken their first formal steps towards outlawing conversion therapy, banning medical professionals from providing the therapy. Doctors now face severe disciplinary action including potential revocation of their license.

This is a victory in the general struggle for tolerance and equality, but in my eyes, it is more basic and more critical because this is also a struggle for life itself, this is truly saving lives.
Nitzan Horowitz , Minister of Health, Israel

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz announces circular banning LGBTQ+ conversion therapy, February 14, 2022 (photo credit: MIRI SHIMONOVICH/GPO)

Chile is creating a new national park, covering 75,000 hectares of the Andes, to protect 386 glaciers that are melting due to climate change. The park is "a fundamental step that our country is taking to combat the destruction of nature" and will also help preserve native flora and animals likes pumas and foxes. France24

The UN has delivered a 'watershed' moment for animal rights, with a historic resolution formally recognising the links between animal welfare and the environmental crisis. Activists have campaigned for this for decades - it ensures greater awareness that how animals are treated affects not just the animals themselves but human health and the health of the environment. Newswire

New Zealand’s national bird is bouncing back from the brink, with the population of the North Island brown kiwi population of 20,000 expected to grow by more than 10% over the next three generations. Conservationists and volunteers have worked for over 30 years to save the flightless bird which struggled to survive the introduction of predators such as stoats, rats, and ferrets. Stuff

Humpback whales will be removed from Australia's threatened-species list. An independent scientific panel deemed the mammals had made a major recovery, after facing near extinction in the 1980s. The whales will still have protection in Australian waters, where it is offence to kill, injure, take, trade, keep, move, or interfere with a humpback. ABC

Basking sharks are now a ‘protected wild animal’ in Ireland thanks to new regulations to prevent hunting or interference with its breeding or resting places. The sharks are the second biggest fish in the world and feed on plankton. Irish waters are home to 15% -20% of the world’s basking shark population. Journal

175 nations came together last week to strike “the most significant environmental multilateral deal since the Paris accord”. Representatives endorsed an end to plastic pollution, with a legally binding pact to address the full life cycle of plastics and a financing model to support lower-income countries. Work now begins on implementing the treaty by 2024. NYT

“Against the backdrop of geopolitical turmoil, the UN Environment Assembly shows multilateral cooperation at its best. Plastic pollution has grown into an epidemic, but with today’s resolution we are officially on track for a cure.”
Espen Barth Eide, President, UNEA-5

Without much fuss and even less public attention, America is in the midst of a multibillion-dollar shift to cage-free eggs in response to new laws and demands from restaurants. Cage-free housing has soared from 4% in 2010 to 28% in 2020, and is expected to reach 70% by 2025. The change marks one of the animal welfare movement’s biggest successes after years of battles with the food industry. AP

The Tequila fish has successfully been reintroduced the into the wild in Mexico, 18 years after it was declared extinct. In 1998, five pairs of fish were sent from a UK zoo to Michoacana University, where the population was protected and expanded. 1,500 fish were recently released into the river in Jalisco and the local community are playing a key role in monitoring the progress. BBC

Honduras has banned open-pit mining with immediate intervention for existing projects in areas of 'high ecological value'. It’s an unexpected win from a country that has a poor track record of threatening environmental defenders who oppose mining. Honduras joins El Salvador and Costa Rica as countries that have banned open-pit mining in Central America. Mongabay

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault in the Arctic just received seed donations from Sudan, Uganda, New Zealand, Germany, and Lebanon. The vault is located halfway between Norway and the North Pole, and holds over 1.1 million seeds from nearly 6,000 plant species. It was created in 2008 to preserve the diversity of the world’s crops from war, disease, and environmental threats.

Last seen staggering around on the lawn of Jimmy Carter's White House, energy security is suddenly back. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has shown that fossil fuels, long promoted as reliable, secure sources of energy, are actually the opposite: constantly at the mercy of unpredictable disruptions. The idea of renewables representing 'freedom energy' is everywhere - and only getting stronger. Everyone seems to have finally realised that other countries can't stop the wind blowing and the sun shining in yours.

This national security paradigm has turned out to be a much better mobilising force than the climate catastrophe paradigm. The speed of change has been astonishing. Shell, Exxon and BP spent decades building inroads to Russia’s fossil-fuel wealth, but in less than 60 hours last week, all announced exits, with no clear path to recoup their billions of dollars of investments. The $11 billion Nord Stream 2 project, a carbon bomb that had paralysed the West for years, is bankrupt, and Russia's prospecting plans in the Arctic looks like they're dead in the water too.

The invasion has brought a wartime energy transition to Europe. The continent’s decades-long timelines for overhauling energy systems that support 440 million people is now being revved up under extraordinary duress. The European Commission has already released a plan to cut most of its reliance on Russian gas by the end of this year, which is insane, considering the continent got 40% of its gas from Russia last year. As the EU's Green Deal chief, Frans Timmermans said, “We are now protecting our vital interest."

Nowhere is this acceleration more apparent than in Germany, a country which imports 65% of its gas from Russia. Europe’s leading economy has pledged to get 100% of its energy from renewables by 2035, bringing forward the previous target by 15 years, and also earmarked $220 billion to fund industrial transformation between now and 2026. In the announcement, German finance minister Christian Lindner described clean energy as, you guessed it, "the energy of freedom”. Reuters

Nordea, the biggest bank in the Nordic region, has announced it will cease all lending to offshore oil and gas (it currently has a €1 billion portfolio of assets in the sector). The bank also says it expects to devote more of its financing to the energy transition, with a fourfold increase in lending between now and 2025. Nordea

British bank Natwest cut lending to oil and gas clients by 21% last year, and just announced it will ditch coal companies that don’t have credible decarbonisation plans. French insurer CNP Assurances will no longer finance new oil and gas, and Dutch pension fund PFZW will disinvest from any fossil fuel company that doesn't have a 'convincing and verifiable' strategy to meet the Paris agreement.

Across the Atlantic, there's also been a marked change in tone too. A ban on Russian gas and oil imports by the Biden administration received bipartisan support and a significant majority of Americans say they're willing to put up with higher prices at the pump. The timing couldn't be better - the US electricity sector just passed a massive milestone: the amount of gas used for power generation has likely peaked and begun a long-term decline. The days of gas growing and gaining market share are over, and the beginning of a long, structural decline is now underway. IEEFA

On the flipside, the clean energy gold rush is just getting going. California just increased its renewables target to 72% by 2032, and on the east coast, an auction for offshore wind leases just totalled an amazing $4.37 billion, more than nine times the previous US record for offshore wind. By contrast, a sale of oil drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico late last year attracted only $191.7 million.

Or maybe a new oil rush? Texas now has 106 GW of solar in its proposed pipeline. The motivation is clear: the Lone Star state boasts the fastest growth in power demand in the US, cheap land and abundant sunshine. “No one is sitting around saying ‘Are new solar additions going to slow down or collapse?' The only question seems to be ‘How high is this going to go?'" Bloomberg

Good news from our backyard: the state of Victoria has announced plans for 2GW of offshore wind by 2032, and 9 GW by 2040, after legislation passed last year cleared the way for development. The 10 proposed projects are looking to capitalise on strong wind resources along thousands of kilometres of coastline. Reuters

Meanwhile in China, the head of the National Development and Reform Commision, the country's chief state planner, has announced a plan to build (checks notes) 450 GW of solar, wind and hydro in the Gobi and other desert regions. This is absolutely mindblowing. To put that in perspective: the entire world collectively added 290 GW of renewables in 2021. Reuters

China is also targeting 30 GW of battery storage by 2025, and 100 GW of battery storage and 120 GW of pumped hydro by 2030. That's according to the head of the State Grid Corporation of China. These figures completely blow all previous forecasts for the Asia-Pacific region out of the water, and the impact on the learning curves for storage technologies will be enormous. Energy Storage News

And finally... it's the year 2022 and there are giant floating solar flowers on reservoirs in South Korea.

92,000 solar panels in the shape of 17 plum blossoms, floating on the surface of a 12-mile-long reservoir in Hapcheon, South Korea.

4th February 2022 - 17th February 2022

Female genital mutilation is one of the worst ideas humanity has ever come up with, and we've been practising it for more than a thousand years. In the last generation however, it's started to decline. Progress is uneven, and the pandemic has caused setbacks, but in the 30 countries where it's most prevalent, one in three girls aged 15 -19 today have undergone FGM, versus one in two a generation ago. UNICEF

Human African trypanosomiasis, better known as sleeping sickness, used to be one of Africa's most notorious diseases. In the late 1990s, more than 35,000 cases were reported annually. Today, it's close to being eliminated - only 663 cases were reported in 2020, the lowest number ever recorded and a reduction of 83% since 2000.

You don't hear about much about rubella (German measles) in rich countries these days, because science. In poor countries though, it's still the leading cause of birth defects. Some welcome news from the WHO then - between 2012 and 2020, the number of countries that introduced the rubella vaccine increased from 132 to 173, resulting in a 48% drop in cases. 70% of the world’s infants are vaccinated and elimination has been verified in almost half the world’s countries.

Nigeria is making steady progress towards ending open defecation, with over 60 local government areas now declared open defecation free. In 2006 over a quarter of Nigeria’s population practised OD, which is linked to disease outbreaks like cholera, diarrhoea, and typhoid. Today that number has declined to 18%. Prime Progress

One thing COVID taught us is that infrastructure can be built quickly when the will is there. While much of the world stopped at plexi-glass shields in retail shops, the Philippines undertook the largest bike line construction program in its history, building 500 km of bike paths to replace public transport in under a year. World Bank

In the two decades since Portugal decriminalised the personal possession of all drugs, overdoses, HIV infection and drug-related crime have all dramatically decreased. The ground-breaking reform was part of policy shift to prioritise health over criminalization and its success has inspired the implentation of similar models in Oregon and now, potentially, Norway. Transform Drugs

Mississippi has legalized medical marijuana for people suffering from cancer, AIDS, and sickle cell disease. The new law allows patients to buy up to 3.5g of cannabis per day, up to six days a week. Mississippi is the 37th state in the US to make this kind of medicine legal. NPR

A historic ruling in Ecuador has given the country's 14 indigenous groups the power to veto mining and oil projects on their lands. Indigenous communities must now be consulted and give consent before any extractive projects can commence on or near their territory. Mongabay

The Snoqualmie tribe, also known as the People of the Moon, have reclaimed ownership of their ancestral lands in Washington State, with the purchase of 12,000 acres of former logging forest. It’s a ‘monumental’ victory for the tribe, who have fought to reclaim the land since the 1930s and will now switch to harvesting sustainable timber as part of a bigger plan to restore local wildlife populations.

The global movement towards a four day work week is gaining momentum, with workers in Belgium now legally entitled to a 38 hour working week as part of new labour reforms to tackle burnout. Scotland, Spain and Japan are also trialing the idea following Iceland's success, where 86% of workers now work shorter weeks or have the right to ask to do so. Euro News

A big win for human rights, as New Zealand becomes the latest country to ban conversion therapy. The new law received 107,000 public submissions; the highest number ever received for a piece of legislation. The practice is also currently outlawed in Canada, France, Brazil, Ecuador, Malta, Albania, and Germany. Guardian

To all those who have been affected by conversion practices or attempts at them, we want to say, this legislation is for you. We cannot bring you back, we cannot undo all of the hurt, but we can make sure that for the generations to come, we provide the support and love you did not get and protect you from the harm of those who seek to try to stop you from being who you are.~ Grant Robertson, Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand

In one of its most significant workplace reforms in decades, the United States will end forced arbitration agreements for survivors of workplace sexual assault and harassment. Arbitration clauses are buried in millions of employment contracts and have long served as loopholes for offenders. The victory comes five years after the #MeToo movement burst into global public consciousness. ABC

40 years after the first case of HIV was diagnosed in Australia, the country is close to eliminating transmission of the virus, recording just 633 cases last year - the lowest number since 1984. The public health victory is owed to the early response to the virus - the introduction of a needle exchange, the tireless dedication of volunteer carers and an early roll-out of the HIV prevention pill. BBC

Cuba has established a new marine protected area spanning 728 km2 of mangrove forests, seagrass beds and coral reefs. The region is an important spawning site for coral reefs and fish and is also home to critically endangered hawksbill turtles, loggerhead turtles and American crocodiles. Mongabay

More than 100 countries have committed to strengthening protection measures in international waters to combat illegal fishing and reduce plastic pollution. This comes after the conclusion of the first global summit dedicated solely to the ocean. The EU and 16 other states also agreed to pursue a global agreement by the end of the year to regulate the sustainable use of the high seas. Guardian

Malaysia and Indonesia have agreed to hold joint patrols in the waters between their countries to stop to illegal fishing. Malaysia loses $1.4 billion to foreign fishing vessels each year while Indonesia loses around $2 billion. The patrols will focus on the Strait of Malacca, one of the world’s most heavily trafficked shipping lanes. Mongabay

Iceland will officially end all commercial whaling in 2024. Only one license holder remains in the country after a two year suspension on hunts, and even they doubt there is 'any economic advantage' to continuing beyond 2024 when the current quotas expire. Maritime Executive

Hawaii has become the first US state to ban shark fishing with new legislation making it illegal to “knowingly capture, entangle, or kill any species of shark.” It’s not the first time Hawaii has led the way for shark conservation; in 2010 it was the first state to ban the possession and distribution of shark fins. Planetary Press

We are well aware of how important sharks are to maintain healthy marine ecosystems. We also recognize their importance in native Hawaiian cultural practices and beliefs.~ Brian Neilson, Hawaiian Division of Aquatic Resources

Big conservation victory in South Africa, after the country's High Court sided with Indigenous communities in the Eastern Cape to stop Shell's efforts to explore shale gas off the country’s eastern coast. The area falls within the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany biodiversity hotspot, and its pristine waters provide habitat for an exceptional array of endemic and endangered marine species. Hakai

Indonesia has recorded significant progress in its program to restore its tropical peatlands. In 2021 it rehabilitated 300,000 ha, representing 25% of its four year target. Attention will now turn to mangrove restoration, emulating the same approach. Mongabay

The US EPA has resumed the enforcement of a rule that limits power plant emissions of mercury and other hazardous pollutants. The original rule, created in 2012, helped curb mercury’s devastating neurological damage to children and prevented thousands of premature deaths, but was abandoned during the Trump administration. AP

Well, here’s a twist … tax receipts from surging gun and ammunition sales in the US have boosted funds for federal conservation programs to a record $1.1 billion. Thanks to forward-thinking legislation created in 1937, tax money from hunting and shooting equipment is distributed into conservation grants to stop the decline of fish and animal species. Outline

Sinaloa has become the fifth state in Mexico to ban bullfighting. Annual bullfights across Mexico result in the killing of thousands of bulls every year but the tide is turning with 73% of Mexicans supporting a nationwide ban. World Animal News

Good news for cranes in the UK, with 72 pairs recorded last year, the highest number since the 17th century. A small number of birds were reintroduced to Norfolk’s Broads in 1979 after a 400 year absence due to wetland drainage and hunting. Habitat protections and hand-rearing projects have helped boost the population to over 200 birds. BBC

Good news for dogs in America. A decade ago, 2.6 million stray dogs and cats were being euthanized each year. However, thanks to dog-relocation networks, animal rescue and increased demand for pets during the pandemic, the number of euthanised dogs has now fallen to a historic low of 390,000. Time

After four decades of controversy and legal battles, Korea will ban all bear farming from 2026. While the meat and fur trade are currently illegal, the trade of bear bile has continued to be sold since 1981 as an ingredient for traditional medicine. Under the new law, bears currently in farms must be relocated to protection shelters by 2025. Korea Herald

The declaration to cease bear breeding is particularly meaningful because the government, the agricultural industry and civil society have combined to resolve a 40-year-old issue.~ Han Jeoung-ae, Minister of Environment, South Korea

Federal protections for gray wolves have been fully restored across most of the US after a federal court ruled that existing populations could not be sustained without proper measures. The recovery of wolf populations from near-extinction in the 1930s has been a historic conservation victory, but different administrations have tried to scale back protections since they were first enacted in 1974. NPR

There's an election happening in Australia this year, so naturally anti-renewable campaigns have reached fever pitch. The country however, now has 25GW of installed solar capacity – the most per capita in the world. This caps off a record-breaking year in 2021, when more than 3GW of rooftop solar was installed by households and businesses. RE

More good news down under. Despite the best efforts of the Australian government to prop it up, the gas industry is getting destroyed by clean energy. Wind and solar provided five times more power than gas in 2021, while gas generation reached its lowest level in 15 years. Coal is down to 62.8% too, its lowest level since the interconnected national market began in 1999. The Age

And more: another insurance company has dumped Adani: Convex, a global reinsurance company, has announced it won't be going anywhere coal or coal-related infrastructure. The company did not specifically name Adani but referred only to “a new coal mine in Australia.” Convex is the 43rd insurer to rule out underwriting the mine. Insurance Business Mag

Even more: Australia's largest coal-fired power station, which supplies 20% of NSW’s daily power needs, is closing in 2025, seven years sooner than originally planned.

And even more! After seven years, the epic legal battle to protect the pristine Bylong Valley in Australia from a massive new coal mine has been won. The case pitted local residents against the government-backed multinational KEPCO. This project would have generated over 200 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. Environmental Defenders Office

Duke Energy, a US utility serving customers in six states, has announced plans to cut coal to less than 5% of its total generation by 2030 and to fully exit coal by 2035. The company currently owns about 16 GW of coal plants, and describes this as the “largest planned coal fleet retirement in the industry.” IEEFA

US insurance giant Travelers will no longer underwrite companies that generate more than 30% of their revenue from coal or have more than 30% of their reserves in tar sands. It joins 35 insurers globally that have ended or limited coverage: three Norh American insurers, most Asian insurers, and all major European insurers.

New York's state pension fund is selling $238 million of stocks it holds across 21 shale oil and gas companies, saying they're not moving fast enough to a low-emissions economy. In Denmark, one of the country's biggest pension funds is ditching $300 million of oil and gas bonds bonds by December, after concluding the assets pose a growing risk to returns.

Big news in the world of vertical farming. America's biggest retailer, Walmart, has bought an equity stake in Plenty, which grows food off tall, modular towers. The move makes Walmart the first major US retailer to make a significant investment into this area, and it will start offering vertically farmed produce to consumers later this year. Reuters

Coal-free steel plans are accelerating in Europe. German producer Salzgitter will convert to hydrogen and electric arc by 2033, aiming to supply low-carbon steel to all BMW’s plants, and the world's second biggest steelmaker ArcelorMittal has announced a €1.7 billion plan to replace three of its five French blast furnaces with electric arc or direct iron reduction plants by 2030. Argus

Japanese carmakers squandered their leadership in the EV space a decade ago, and aren't keen to make the same mistake again. Honda just ended all vehicle production at its legendary Sayama 'mother factory' in Tokyo, which has been building petrol-powered cars since 1964, and Nissan says it's ending combustion engine development in all markets except the United States.

Ford is investing another $20 billion to reorganize its business for the electric future, aiming to convert every one of its factories from gas-powered to electric vehicle production and hiring more engineers. This brings the automaker's total investment into EVs and digital to $50 billion, as it goes all in on a high stakes race for survival against its rivals. The Verge

In the fourth quarter of 2021, hybrid and electric vehicles surpassed more than 10% of light-duty vehicle sales in the US for the first time ever. On Thursday last week, the US government announced a $5 billion plan to blanket states with electric-vehicle chargers. And in case you were watching the adverts at Super Bowl LVI, top takeaway seemed to be:

21st January 2022 - 3rd February 2022

Jimmy Carter's dream of making Guinea Worm the third ever disease to be fully eradicated is within reach. Only 14 cases were recorded in 2021. Decades of health campaigns to improve access to safe drinking water in Africa have dramatically decreased the disease, which, 35 years ago was infecting 3.5 million people in 21 countries. Al Jazeera

New research has shown that nearly 5.4 million cancer deaths have been avoided in the EU between 1989 and 2022. Since 2017 alone, the cancer death rate has fallen by 6% in men and 4% in women, and in 2022 it's estimated there will be 369,000 fewer deaths compared to the peak back in 1988.

The WHO just published new data on global access to cooking fuels. In 1990, 53% of humanity used wood, charcoal, kerosene or dung to cook their food. By last year, that proportion dropped to 36%. In actual numbers, that means that in a single generation, an extra 2.48 billion people are now cooking with electricity or clean stoves.

India just completed its fifth National Family Health Survey, and hidden deep inside some impenetrable PDFs is a whole lot of truly extraordinary data (keep in mind this is a country of 1.38 billion people). Between 2015 and 2020:

  • The proportion of women with ten or more years of education increased from 35.7% to 41%.
  • Contraceptive use increased from 54% to 67%.
  • Teen pregnancy declined from 51 to 43 per 1,000 women.
  • The neonatal mortality rate declined from 29.5 to 24.9 per 1,000 live births.
  • Under-five mortality rate declined from 49.7 to 41.9 per 1,000 live births.
  • The fertility rate decreased from 2.2 to 2.0, and is now below replacement levels in 23 of India's 28 states.
  • Access to improved sanitation skyrocketed from 48.5% to 70.2%.
  • Access to electricity increased from 88% to 96.8%.
  • Households using clean fuel or electricity for cooking increased from 43.8% to 58.6%
  • Households with at least one person covered on a health insurance scheme increased from 28.7% to 41%.

Seems like an appropriate place to leave this tweet:

New legislation in Pakistan has significantly strengthened protections for women in the workplace. The law expands the definition of harassment to include “discrimination on the basis of gender, which may or may not be sexual in nature” and will protect domestic workers and students, as neither group were covered previously by law. HRW

A landmark court ruling in India will give sex workers identity documents, allowing them to access social welfare, bank accounts and voting. Although prostitution is legal, the lack of identification papers within the sex industry has left many workers vulnerable to trafficking and poverty. The reform comes after a decade of petitioning by a collective of sex workers in Kolkata. NYT

Papua New Guinea has abolished the death penalty because "it’s not an effective deterrent to serious crime.” The country abolished capital punishment in 1970 but reintroduced it in 1991. Amnesty says 144 countries have now abolished the death penalty in law or in practice, and last year saw the lowest number of executions globally in more than a decade. SBS

Divorce is getting less nasty in wealthy countries. Legal reform and access to mediation have made the process cheaper, faster, and less traumatic for children, and cultural shifts have helped too - with more mothers in the workforce and fathers actively involved in child-raising, shared custody agreements are on the rise. Economist

Thailand is on track to decriminalize marijuana, with a proposal to remove the plant from the list of controlled drugs. Currently, the plant is a category-5 narcotic drug and possession can lead to hefty fines and up to 15 years jailtime. Medical cannabis is already legal and can be used in foods and cosmetics. SCMP

A worker inspects marijuana leaves at a farm in Thailand. Photo: Reuters

The world’s largest oyster restoration has been achieved on the Piankatank and Great Wicomico rivers in Virginia with over 1,000 acres improving water quality and habitat for other wildlife. The initiative is part of the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement which aimed to fully restore oyster populations in the bay's tributaries by 2025. So far, four of the six targeted tributaries have met their restoration goals. Nature Conservancy

Indigenous farming practices are starting to gain serious momentum across western America. In Arizona, there were 291 farms with a Native American farm operator in 2002; today that number has expanded to more than 11,729 farms. Indigenous practices focus on “trying to reconnect with place by developing sustainable, organic produce for community members.” Civil Eats

The US federal government has committed over $1 billion to the restoration of Florida’s Everglades. The mammoth project will increase protection for hundreds of endangered plant and animal species and maintain the crucial source of drinking water for Florida’s eight million residents. Miami Herald

The EU has taken its first steps towards banning live animal exports, and enforcing stricter rules to ensure humane transportation for slaughter, fattening or breeding. New rules will target overcrowding, food and water supplies and cap journey times at eight hours for domestic animals, and four hours for pregnant ones. World Animal News

A forestry company in Finland is at the helm of a huge new rewilding project to restore ecosystems impacted by decades of logging. Although 77% of Finland is forested, commercial plantations have destroyed almost all of the old growth. The restoration work will involve nine river basins and focus on recreating old spawning grounds for fish and rebuilding sustainable ecosystems. Guardian

Africa’s Great Green Wall is the world’s most ambitious reforestation project, with funding to match. 15 years in, has the project lived up to its hype? In Niger at least, the answer is yes. As of 2020, nearly 400,000 ha of desert has been restored, with the improved soil supporting an abundance of crops. Hundreds of communities are now working together to create economic opportunities from their thriving landscape. NYT

Nomao Alkali, a standing on near his farm in the Great Green Wall.

A big win for mangrove conservation in Mumbai, with 53% of mangrove cover legally declared a forest by the end of 2021, a 30% increase from the beginning of the year. Mangroves play an important role in mitigating the impact of climate change, and a further 3,000 ha will be protected in 2022. Hindustan Times

After decades of conservation efforts, the Channel Islands, off the coast of Southern California, have been successfully restored. The islands are now home to a healthy population of bald eagles and other formerly threatened species including the island fox, peregrine falcons and the island scrub jay are thriving. The islands also now host the largest seal and sea lion rookery in the world. HCN

Conservation efforts on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula are working. In the 1990s, populations of pumas, tapirs, and peccaries fell to almost zero, but protected reserves gave many species a chance to recover completely. Conservationists are now focused on creating and protecting wildlife corridors, for jaguars and other roving species to roam and grow. Mongabay

Speaking of wildlife corridors, they're gaining momentum around the world. Wildlife bridges and crossing structures are allowing animals to safely cross highways, reducing the risk of vehicle collisions. Banff National Park in Canada boasts the most wildlife crossings in the world, with 38 underpasses and 6 overpasses. Now Toronto

A record 247,000 Western Monarch butterflies overwintered in California last year, a dramatic increase from just 2,000 in 2020. The boom has been linked to an increase in native plants and reduced pesticide use. Efforts to protect the butterfly’s habitat are also underway with transportation and energy companies agreeing to 'rights-of-way' corridors and wintering sites across the US. Mongabay

Also.... enough with all the drawings of dead butterflies!

Dolce & Gabbana has banned fur and angora from all future collections. It's a huge win for campaigners who fought for this for decades. The announcement follows other luxury brands like Moncler, Gucci, Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga who have also recently gone fur free. Vogue Business

After more than 150 years, the legal ivory trade in Hong Kong has come to an end. Landmark legislation has banned the sale of ivory products. The new rules ban the 'import, re-export, and commercial possession of elephant ivory' but exclude antique pieces dated before 1925. Wild Aid

New Zealand’s fur seal population has bounced back from near extinction, with 200,000 seals now thriving along the coastline. The victory has led conservationists to an unexpected problem, as they now face questions around how to manage the interactions between the seals and their human neighbours. Guardian

As we enter the Year of the Tiger, the WWF has released a report showing the century-long trend of wild tiger decline has finally been reversed. Highlights from the report include the creation of the world’s largest tiger protected area in China, a national park in Russia, and the transformation of a transboundary corridor between India and Nepal from 115 hectares to 3,800 hectares of forest, encompassing over 6,000 community members and stewards of the land. WWF

The 27 countries of the European Union installed 25.9 GW of new solar capacity last year, an increase of 34% over 2020. That makes 2021 the best year for solar in Europe's history. All EU states are now on track to reach their 2030 solar goals, with Latvia and Estonia already across the line, and Poland, Ireland, and Sweden expected to reach their targets next year. Yale360

Germany is ramping up its decarbonisation plans. The new government of Europe's powerhouse economy is proposing 2% of total land area for wind power, will oblige all new commercial buildings to install solar, is targeting 50% of all building heating to be carbon neutral by 2030, and aims to cover 80% of total power demand with renewables by that date. PV Magazine

China built more offshore wind capacity in 2021 than the rest of the world managed in the last five years put together. Just to put that in context, the UK previously had the most offshore wind, with 10GW. China has just built 1.5x that in a single year, and twice as much as the IEA forecast in… December 2021. CCTV

Source: @DrSimonEvans

China is also reforming its national electricity market, with new regulations that will force all of the country's coal-fired generation to compete with renewables by 2025. This comes on top of news that non-fossil fuel energy sources such as wind, nuclear, solar and hydro are on track to make up more than half of China's total power generation capacity by the end of 2022. Reuters

Eastern Pacific, one of the largest privately-owned ship management companies in the world, has just announced it will no longer carry coal. "This is intended to be a message to the maritime industry that decarbonisation isn’t exclusive to how we move ships - what we move also matters." Marine Log

In the home of cheap fracked gas, gas is proving to be not so cheap after all. Clean energy in the United States is now definitively less expensive - which is why gas powered generation is being replaced by wind and solar. Solar capacity is now 20 times greater in the US than it was in 2011, and wind capacity has more than doubled. Economics, not ideology, is driving the transition. EIA

A federal judge just invalidated the biggest offshore oil and gas lease sale in US history - 80 million acres of drilling leases issued by the Biden administration — stating that it acted “arbitrarily and capriciously”. Instead of updating an environmental study performed during the Trump administration, the Biden administration simply repurposed the study without any changes. Reuters

White flag time at Southern Company's Georgia Power, one of the United States' biggest utilities, and once one of the most adamant coal-burning utilities/lobbying forces. It plans to close its entire coal fleet by 2028, replacing it with renewables and fossil gas. The Hill

The world spent $755 billion on low carbon solutions last year, up from 27% in 2020, and 14% of all venture capital now goes into climate tech, 2.5x pre-pandemic investment levels. While it's exciting to see the money finally pouring in, we’ve still got a way to go - McKinsey estimates it's going to take $9 trillion a year to get to net zero by 2050, or 12 times as much as the world is spending today.

We're still in the early days of the energy transition...

Fossil-free steel is coming sooner than anyone thought. Sweden’s SSAB, a pioneer in making steel from hydrogen, is bringing forward the closure of its coal-fired furnaces from 2045 to 2030. This will eliminate eight million tonnes of carbon a year, reducing Sweden’s carbon emissions by 10%, Finland’s by 7%, and with the European carbon price at around €90 a ton, looks like a clever financial decision too.

Last year, an electric car sold more units in Switzerland than any other car (gasoline, diesel, hybrid, etc.). The Tesla Model 3 didn’t just rule all electric sales, but all types of cars. Comparing November 2021 to November 2020, new car registrations for electric vehicles grew by +63%. Clean Technica

Tesla’s factory in California is now the most productive auto plant in North America. Last year it produced an average of 8,550 cars a week, more than Toyota's juggernaut in Kentucky (8,427 cars a week), BMW's Spartanburg hub in South Carolina (8,343) or Ford's iconic truck plant in Michigan (5,564). Bloomberg

The electric equivalents of the Ford F150, the Honda CRV, Lexus RX and the Toyota Corolla - some of the most popular cars in the United States - are now officially cheaper than their petrol-powered counterparts. Also... 1,200 km on a single charge? Better move those goalposts, range anxiety-ists.

1st January 2022 - 20th January 2022

Vaccine distribution is finally picking up speed outside rich countries. COVAX, the global vaccine sharing initiative, delivered a record-breaking 309 million doses of covid vaccine across 70 low and middle income countries last month, and this month, reached the milestone of one billion doses distributed worldwide. WaPo

Cancer mortality rates in the United States have dropped by a third since the 90s due to 'major progress' in early detection and treatment for lung cancer. Lung cancer mortality decreased by 5% each year between 2015 and 2019 and is attributed to annual screenings and smoking prevention programs. CNN

I'm an oncologist, so I'm an inveterate optimist. But I think the key message for the public is that there's room for optimism across all types of cancer.
Dr. Deb Schrag, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre

Last weekend, Uganda conducted a door to door vaccination program to immunise eight million children against polio - in just three days. Uganda has achieved incredible results in childhood health over the past 20 years, with the mortality rate for under fives dropping by more than half. East African

A ground-breaking change to health regulations in Canada will allow patients suffering from serious mental health illnesses to access psychedelic therapies, including psilocybin and MDMA. The amendment represents a 'seismic shift' towards the legalization of psychedelics, which can be effective in treating PTSD and depression. Calgary Herald

UNICEF has updated data on global child mortality trends, and it's really good news. Thus far, the pandemic has not resulted in the feared reversal - rather, child mortality actually decreased in 2020, to 37 deaths per 1,000 live births. The longer term trends are even more encouraging, with the under five mortality rate falling by more than half since 2000.

That little pink circle represents millions of lives saved in the last twenty years.

Tanzania has lifted a 20-year ban preventing adolescent mothers from attending school. The ban was rooted in policy from the 1960s that included a mandatory pregnancy test and potential arrest if pregnant. Under the new law, young mothers will be allowed to resume their formal education after giving birth. Citizen

Canada and France have just outlawed conversion therapy, passing comprehensive legislation within days of each other. Brazil, Ecuador, Malta, Albania, and Germany have already fully or partially banned the practice and another 11 countries, including New Zealand, Mexico, Spain, and Britain are currently working towards reform.

Further victories for human rights around the globe. A Taiwanese court made a landmark ruling allowing a man to legally adopt his husband’s non-biological child, Israel has lifted its surrogacy ban, allowing single men and same-sex couples to pursue surrogacy, and new legislation in the Faroe Islands has granted equal parental rights for same-sex couples.

Fatal police shootings in America dropped by 13% between 2020 and 2021, reaching the lowest annual number on record. Biggest drop? Florida. Increased public accountability and initiatives replacing armed officers with healthcare and social workers for mental-health related 911 calls contributed to the decline. ABC

Police officers follow participants of the March for Abortion Access, on Oct. 2, 2021, in Orlando, FL. Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP

The Kenyan government has made a historic commitment to the rights of women and girls, vowing to end gender-based violence by 2026. $23 million has been allocated to prevention and response services, research, and the establishment of a survivors’ fund. The achievement comes after decades of tireless advocacy. Gates Foundation

Landmark legislation in the Philippines has banned child marriage, constituting the practice as child abuse. This is a big, big moment for the country with one of the world's highest rates of child marriage. Bravo to the activists who made this happen. SCMP

Technology, education, and community efforts have helped Bangladesh reduce cyclone-related deaths more than 100-fold since 1970. The country’s multi-layered approach is leading the way for other developing countries to better manage the risks of climate disasters. New Humanitarian

Ecuador has expanded its protected waters by 60,000 km2, building upon the existing Galapagos Marine Reserve, which already protects 138,000 km2 of ocean from extractive activities. Together, Costa Rica and Ecuador have now connected two of the world’s most biologically significant and productive marine habitats. DW

These islands teach us something about ourselves.
What if we didn't set ourselves up as masters over this Earth, but as its protectors?
Guillermo Lasso, President of Ecuador

Ten countries in the western Indian ocean are joining forces to create a network of marine conservation areas dubbed the ‘Great Blue Wall’. The first stage of the project will be in the Pemba Channel off the coast of Tanzania, and focus on restoring coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass meadows. Mongabay

An international group of researchers has compiled the first database of marine conservation efforts in China, and the results have surprised everyone. The country has 326 protected areas covering almost 13% of its territorial waters — and the researchers still aren't sure they've found all of them. Hakai

Over a thousand fin whales were seen swimming last week in the seas off Antarctica, the same ones in which they were driven to near-extinction last century. Conor Ryan, the @whale_nerd that spotted them, said that in 20 years at sea he's never seen anything like it. “Words fail me. I've seen maybe 100 fins here before in previous years."

A new survey in India has found forest and tree cover has increased by 2,261 km2 since 2019, and now covers almost a quarter of the geographical area of the country. While the government will continue conservation efforts, its focus will also turn to enriching the quality of these existing areas. Live Mint

Policy changes in the UK mean that farmers will now receive taxpayers’ cash to rewild their land. Previously, farmers were given grants based on how much land they farmed, but will now be paid for environmental improvements instead. Rewilding is having a big of a moment in the UK; the Independent has a great list of some of the projects already underway.

For the first time this century, Beijing’s air quality met China’s national standards in 2021. The biggest achievement was the reduction of PM2.5, the most dangerous pollutant, which fell 13% last year, with levels down to a third of what they were a decade ago. CREA

France has started 2022 on the front foot, with a ban on plastic packaging for 30 fruits and vegetables coming into effect on the 1st January. An estimated 37% of fresh produce was sold in plastic packaging in France last year and the new measures should eliminate over a billion pieces of packaging per year. Guardian

Organisations in New York that throw out more than two tonnes of food each week will be required to donate or compost the waste under new legislation. The law will help the 2.2 million people struggling with food insecurity and cut emissions from the millions of tonnes of food waste produced each year. Eco Watch

Giraffe populations across Africa have rebounded by 20% since 2015. Targeted conservation measures, relocation programs and field research have contributed to the rise. Scientists also recently uncovered genetic evidence that there may be four species of giraffe rather than one, three of which have considerably increased in population. NatGeo

A historic win for animal rights in Italy, with new legislation banning fur farming across the country. The amendment includes an immediate ban on the breeding of mink, foxes, raccoon dogs and chinchillas and the closure of 10 remaining mink farms by June 30, 2022. Italy is the 16th European country to outlaw the practice. Ecowatch

In thirty years of the animal rights battle this is our best victory. Finally, a parliamentary vote sanctions the end of unspeakable suffering inflicted on animals only in the name of profit and vanity.”
Michela Vittoria Brambilla, President of the Parliamentary Intergroup for Animal Rights Italy

New data from wildlife surveys shows Mexico’s endangered jaguar population increased by 20% between 2010 and 2018, giving conservationists confirmation that their strategies are working. Protection measures have included the creation of wildlife corridors and incentive programs with local communities.

Two jaguars on a riverbank in Mexico. Photo credit: Gerardo Ceballos
Jaguar census map: Current geographic range of jaguar (Panthera onca) in Mexico (blue, Ceballos et al. 2018) and records from the past 20 years. Credit: Ceballos G et al 2021

The Czech Republic has brought forward its coal phase out date to 2033, five years ahead of its original target, Slovenia says it will stop using coal for electricity by the same date, South East Asia’s largest coal miner just announced it's divesting its entire coal business, and India's richest person is investing $80 billion in clean energy in the Indian state of Gujarat.

Wind became the main source of electricity generation in Spain last year, registering 23% of total production. Overall, renewables produced 46% of the country's electricity in 2021, an increase of almost 10% compared to 2020. A decade ago, renewables' share was less than 15%.  Windpower Monthly

Texas is still the US state that most people associate most closely with the fossil fuels industry (a century's worth of fortunes, won and and lost, tends to have that effect). So you might be surprised to hear that nearly 40% of the Lone Star state's power was carbon free in 2021. Drill baby drill?

Good news down under. Australian homes and businesses installed just over 3GW of rooftop solar in 2021, a new annual record. There's now about 17GW of solar on the country's roofs, not because Australians think it's the right thing to do, but because they think it's the cheaper thing to do. Oh, and the state of South Australia just ran for one week on wind and sunshine alone.

Better move those goalposts, baseload’ologists.

Scotland has just finished leasing a mind-boggling 25GW of offshore wind. Even more amazing, almost 60% will be floating turbines, the first time this technology will be deployed commercially at scale. That has huge global significance; it means that offshore wind can be built in places with deeper coastlines, like Japan and Taiwan. FT

A new regulation has been issued by China's SASAC (a ministerial-level organization directly underneath the all-powerful State Council), stating that all state-owned enterprises need to achieve a 50% share of renewables in installed power capacity by 2025. In case it's not apparent, this is a really big deal.

Staying with China, new data shows the country's EV market continues to go gangbusters. Sales, which skyrocked by 154% last year to 3.3 million, are forecast to almost double again this year. The best-selling vehicle in the country? A $4,500, tiny, no-frills, three-door vehicle about the same size as a Smart car, called the Yuling Mini.

Meanwhile, the diesel death march is picking up pace in Europe. Sales of EVs overtook diesel models for the first time ever in December. That's a big milestone! More than a fifth of new cars sold across 18 European markets, including the UK, were powered exclusively by batteries, while diesel, once the most popular engine option, accounted for less than 19% of sales. FT

Chrysler says it will stop producing combustion engine powered vehicles by 2028, Hyundai is closing its combustion engine development division, and the all-electric Porsche Taycan is now outselling the 911. “Now, it is inevitable to convert into electrification.”

For a view of where things are heading, Norway's experience is instructive. Only 8% of new cars sold there last year ran purely on gasoline or diesel, while two thirds were electric, and most of the rest were hybrids. The view of Norwegians as environmental diehards is wrong too - they started with exactly the same EV skepticism we're seeing in other parts of the world right now. NYT

"The problem with electric vehicles is that they don't work in the cold." Image: Electrek

5th November 2021 - 9th December 2021

Portugal has shut down its last coal-fired power plant, nine years ahead of its 2030 target. It's the fourth country in the European Union to stop burning coal - Belgium quit coal in 2016, and Austria and Sweden followed suit in 2020. AP

India has achieved its target of having 40% of installed electricity powered by non-fossil fuel energy sources. Energy, mainly from renewables and a small amount of nuclear sources, generates 156.83 of 390.8 GW of the country's electricity. India is committed to reaching 500 GW of clean energy by 2030. Economic Times

Germany’s new government has announced a new climate protection programme that will bring forward its coal exit by 8 years to 2030. The country's aim is to increase renewable capacity from 65% to 80% of its electricity needs. C'mon Australia! Reuters

Canada is fast-tracking legislation to ban the practice of LGBTQ+ “conversion therapy". If successful, Canada will join Brazil, Ecuador, Germany, and Malta where the practice is already banned. Guardian

Another win for for LGBTQ+ rights. In Chile, landmark legalisation has finally recognised same-sex marriage. The victory comes after a 4 year campaign by activists and the new legislation will enable same-sex couples to adopt children. Chile joins a growing list of Catholic Latin American countries who have legalised same-sex marriage including Costa Rica, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, and 14 of Mexico's 32 states. BBC

Good news for a furry friends in Spain. New legislation now recognises animals as “sentient beings". 200,000 animals are abandoned in Spain each year and advocates have fought hard since 2017 for this law, which will protect animals from being mistreated, abandoned, or separated from one of their owners in the case of a divorce or separation. IFL Science

The largest-ever study of psilocybin, the psychoactive compound in magic mushrooms, has revealed the psychedelic drug is a highly effective alternative for treatment-resistant depression. 29.1% of patients in the highest dose group were in remission 3 weeks after a single dose, and more than a quarter of those patients sustained remission three months after. STAT News

“Everyone agrees such a result hasn’t been seen before in depression research, so we’re incredibly happy with that result.” - Lars Christian Wilde, Co-founder and President of Compass

Researchers in Cambridge are developing a biodegradable glitter made from cellulose nanocrystals rather than microplastics. Although cellulose is naturally clear, it creates colours through a process called self-assembly, in which the crystals align and twist. Although the glitter alternative will be pollution-free, it promises to be just as annoying for parents! Eco Watch

The WHO just released a new report detailing astonishing progress on measles. Between 2000 and 2020 the annual number of measles deaths fell by 94%, from 1,072,800 to 60,700, averting an estimated 31.7 million deaths. That's a lot of lives saved! Might be worth remembering the next time someone complains about how awful the world is. WHO

The WHO also just released its Global Tobacco Trends report, showing that in 2000, around a third of the global population over the age of 15 were tobacco users. By 2020, this had declined to under a quarter, and is projected to fall even further to a fifth by 2025. Reminder: tobacco is the single biggest preventable cause of cancer, with 1 in 8 cases and 1 in 5 deaths caused by smoking.

The Canadian Cancer Society says there has been significant progress in the fight against prostate cancer. Since peaking in 1995, Canada's prostate cancer death rate has been cut in half, from 45.1 to 22.7 per 100,000 people. One in eight men can expect to get the disease in their lifetime; thanks to science, it's no longer the death sentence it used to be. Newswire

The HPV vaccine has reduced cases of cervical cancer amongst young women in England by nearly 90% since 2008. Cervical cancer kills more than 300,000 women around the world each year but that number is set to fall dramatically, with over 100 countries now using the vaccine as part of a global plan to eliminate the disease. BBC

A new civil law in the United Arab Emirates will allow non-Muslims to marry, divorce and get joint child custody, making it the first Gulf country to reform marriage and divorce laws that were formerly based on religious principles. Last year the UAE also decriminalized premarital sexual relations, relaxed rules around alcohol and criminalized the practice of honour killing. Reuters

A victory for the LGBTQIA+ rights in Spain with new legislation giving single women, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people access to medically assisted reproduction in the public health system, where it is free of charge. Advocates fought for six years to overturn previous legislation that limited free IVF to heterosexual women with partners. The Star

"Expanding reproductive rights is expanding human rights"
Uge Sangil - President, Spanish Federation of LGBTQ+ Rights

The Spanish government is also taking on the problem of childhood obesity by banning advertising for unhealthy foods such as chocolate, juices, and ice creams to children. The regulations will come into force next year across TV, radio, internet, social media, and apps. El Pais

Is it possible for a city to make 50% of transport walkable and cyclable? Vancouver hit that goal five years ahead of target in 2015, with half of all inner-city trips taken by walking, biking, or transit rather than car. Now Paris is on a mission to do something similar, with a new set of plans to make the city 100% cyclable over the next five years. Bloomberg

Thirty years ago, assisted dying was only legal in Switzerland. Since 2015 however, Belgium, Luxembourg, Canada, New Zealand, Spain, the Netherlands, Colombia, five Australian states, ten American states and most recently Portugal have legalized the practice. Campaigns in Catholic countries like Chile, Ireland, Italy, and Uruguay are making slow but steady progress too. Economist

More than two in three Americans now support legalizing marijuana, maintaining the record-high level reached last year. A decade ago less than half of the country was in favour. This might just be one of the most successful rebrands of all time. It's not weed or pot any more, it's medicine. Gallup

The Social Progress Index measures health, safety, education, technology, and human rights across 99.97% of the world’s population. In its latest report, it says that 147 nations recorded a better score than they did a decade ago, with just four countries (the US, Brazil, Syria and South Sudan) doing worse. “Social progress is advancing across the world, but it remains slow and uneven.”

China will plant 36,000 km2 of new forest (more than the total area of Belgium) every year until 2025 as it bids to combat climate change and protect natural habitats. Over the next five years officials say they will also expand the national park system, create wildlife corridors to alleviate habitat fragmentation, and crack down further on illegal wildlife trade. Reuters

A rare forest honeybee, presumed to be wiped out by disease, has been discovered in the ancient woodlands of Blenheim Palace, a 400-acre paradise of biodiversity subjected to minimal human intervention. The honeybees are thought to be the last wild descendants of Britain’s native honeybee and seem to have evolved the ability to survive the varroa mite. Guardian

A reserve spanning Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, and Serbia will become the first UNESCO biosphere to cover five different countries. Dubbed the ‘Amazon of Europe’, the new biosphere will protect floodplains, forests, gravel banks, and backwaters, and look after a huge number of animal species, including the highest density of breeding white-tailed eagles in continental Europe. Euro News

The State of the Thames Report, led by the Zoological Society of London, says the river is now home to 92 bird species and 115 marine species, including sharks, seahorses, eels, and seals. Water quality has improved too, with dissolved oxygen concentrations showing an increase from 2007 to 2020. Not bad for a river declared ‘biologically dead’ in 1957. Nature recovers if we let it. BBC

The restoration of Rabbit Island off the coast of Louisiana has resulted in a thriving local bird population with biologists counting 16 times more bird nests than expected. The island had eroded to 200 acres, but dredging funded by settlement money from the 2010 BP oil spill added another 102 acres for wildlife last year. AP

More than 20 years after the US Fish and Wildlife Service deemed the Canada lynx a threatened species, the agency has agreed on a recovery plan for the elusive, forest-dwelling carnivores. Last week the agency settled with six conservation groups that sued it over its management of lynx. “This is a victory for lynx, science, and for everyone who values healthy ecosystems.” Aspen Times

Animal rights activists have taken home another win in the battle to end cosmetic testing after New Jersey’s Governor Phil Murphy signed a new law that will ban the sale of animal-tested beauty products in the state. The law will come into force from 1 March 2022, with those disregarding the rules facing a penalty of up to US$1,000 per product sale. Cosmetics Business

After five years of pressure from animal rights activists, travel company Expedia will stop selling holiday packages that include performances by captive dolphins and whales, as part of a global movement by travel companies to stop promoting unethical animal attractions. Guardian

We are delighted that Expedia Group are finally making a stand. It’s time for other travel giants to do the right thing and follow suit.
Katheryn Wise, World Animal Protection

For the first time, scientists will map the world’s underground fungal networks, which until now have been largely unexplored. Understanding these interconnected webs called mycelium could help us tackle climate change. Fungal networks store billions of tonnes of CO2 and act as nutrient “highways” for plants and trees and allow them to communicate. The map will identify sites with the potential to store more C02 and help protect them from external threats like agricultural fertilisers. Guardian

“An understanding of underground fungal networks is essential to our efforts to protect the soil, on which life depends, before it is too late.” - Jane Goodall, who is an advisor on the project

Nepal is on track to become the first country to double its tiger population in 2022. It's part of TX2, a global imitative supported by Russia, Nepal and 13 other countries. Nepal’s tiger population has grown steadily from 121 tigers 11 years ago, to 235 tigers 3 years ago and the country is likely to reach the 250-mark next year. The Star

After 35 years of conservation, the population of the endangered Burrowing Parrot in Chile has increased from 217 in 1986 to over 4000.  The success is largely due to the protection of Río de los Cipreses National Reserve which contains the native plants that are a vital part of their diet. Evolve to Ecology

WildEast, an innovative project in East Angila in the UK, will rewild an area 3 times the size of New York City and create wildlife corridors across some of the country's most intensely farmed land. The project, initiated by 3 estate owners who all committed their land, aims to restore biodiversity to 618,000 acres by 2070. Mongabay

This could be the world’s biggest sex event! Coral along the Great Barrier Reef has spawned; releasing trillions of eggs and sperm into the ocean and giving ecologists hope for the reef’s recovery. Two-thirds of the coral across the reef was damaged by unusually warm ocean temperatures in 2016, 2017 and 2020. Marine scientists and local tourism operators are using ‘coral IVF’ to collect the eggs from part of the reef that have spawned significantly and transport them to restore parts of the reef that have suffered the most damage. NPR

"The reef has gone through its own troubles like we all have, but it can still respond — and that gives us hope. I think we must all focus on the victories as we emerge from the pandemic." - Gareth Phillips, Marine Scientist

New hope for China’s coastal wetlands with satellite imagery showing significant recovery over the last 10 years. After decades of destruction, mainly due to economic development wetland areas decreased between 1984 and 2011 but started rebounding after 2012. The turnaround is attributed to several conservation projects that started in the 1990s, when China realised the importance of these vital ecosystems and sprung into action. Mongabay

16th October 2021 - 5th November 2021

The largest and most successful vaccination drive of all time continues: India just surpassed a billion doses, making it the second country in the world to hit this mark. China leads the tally with over two billion, while Brazil has dispensed 258 million and Indonesia 172 million. Gobal total is now seven billion and counting. Quartz

One of the four major flu viruses that circulate in humans might have gone extinct thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Yamagata virus has not been detected since April 2020 anywhere in the world. Together with the Victoria virus, it used to be responsible for somewhere between 290,000 and 650,000 global deaths every year. ABC

A rapid roll-out of a new polio vaccine across six countries in Africa has resulted in over 80 million children gaining protection against the disease. With decreased risk of side effects, the new vaccine was the first to be authorised by WHO for Emergency Use, which has enabled a faster response to polio outbreaks this year. WHO

Rwanda managed to reduce its annual malaria cases from 4.8 million in 2016 to 1.8 million in 2020, and severe cases from 18,000 to 3,000 during the same period. The overall death rate during that time has plummeted by almost 70%, and the government is now trialling drones that spray anti-mosquito insecticides. RBC

Despite experiencing rapid rates of demographic growth and urbanisation, Senegal has been extraordinarily successful in managing sanitation. Thanks to visionary government programs, the rate of access to sanitation in urban areas has risen from 61.7% in 2013 to 74% in 2020, and in rural areas from 38.7% to 50.7% during the same period. Afrik21

The proportion of Brazil's population with access to sewerage facilities has increased from 45% to 54% in the last decade. During that time, hospitalisations due to waterborne diseases decreased by over 50%, from 603,623 to 273,403. Among children under four the reduction in hospitalisations has been even more pronounced, at almost 60%. Trata Institute

Stroke is a hidden killer - the second-leading cause of death worldwide, and the third-leading cause of death and disability combined. A new report in The Lancet suggests that quietly and largely uncelebrated, we're making progress. Between 1990 and 2019, the age-standardised incidence of strokes has decreased by 17%, and deaths by 36%.

The number of people killed in wars around the world fell in 2020, the second consecutive year of declines. Total battle related fatalities last year were approximately 120,000, a 30% reduction since 2018. The decrease was largely driven by reductions in Asia, Oceania, and the Middle East. SIPRI

Pakistan is an unheralded development success story from the last two decades. Between 1990 and 2019, life expectancy at birth increased by 7.2 years, average schooling increased by 2.9 years, average income rose by 64%, and poverty declined from over 50% to just over 20%. The pandemic has been a setback, but most Pakistanis are still far better off than they were a generation ago. UNDP

Tamil Nadu has become the second Indian state to grant workers the 'right to sit.' For centuries, salespeople in India have been forced to work on their feet without access to a chair. The new law is a victory for labour rights activists, and will require store owners to provide seating and allow employees to sit down whenever possible. Reuters

Chile has taken its first step towards legalising abortion with Congress approving a plan to expand current legislation that restricts the procedure to rape cases or when a woman's life is endangered. Across Latin America, it is now legal for women to choose what happens to their bodies in Agentina, Ecuador, Uruguay, Cuba, Guyana, and three Mexican states. Al Jazeera

In a mountainous, desert nation of 35 million people known for its mosques, mausoleums and ancient Silk Road sites, 80% of eligible voters just cast votes in a presidential election. It's a testament to the strength of emerging democratic norms in Uzbekistan, Afghanistan's neighbour, with officials there calling it “one of the historical achievements of our people.JPost

Bangladesh is planning to remove Islam as the state religion and revert to its secular 1972 Constitution. It’s hoped the move will unite the country and tackle a growing radical Islamist movement that’s resulted in violence against Hindu temples. Islam was made the state religion by a Constitutional amendment during the late 1980s.

A significant majority of people in wealthy countries now believe that having people of different ethnic, religious, and racial backgrounds improves society. In the US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan, 8 out of 10 people believe greater diversity is a benefit, and even in relatively culturally homogenous countries like Japan and Greece, the share has increased by double digits since the question was last asked four years ago. Pew

Less than a week before the start of COP26, activists announced that endowments, portfolios and pension funds worth just shy of $40 trillion have now committed to full or partial abstinence from coal, gas and oil stocks. That’s larger than the gross domestic product of the United States and China combined. NYT

One of the world’s largest pension funds, the Dutch ABP, is selling its €15bn-worth of holdings in fossil fuel companies, including Royal Dutch Shell, claiming it has been unable to persuade the sector to transition quickly enough towards decarbonisation. Guardian

A sizeable chunk of the global cement sector has committed to slashing emissions by a quarter this decade – and to be carbon neutral by 2050. The target was just announced by the Global Cement and Concrete Association, which represents about 80% of the industry outside of China

In an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in global trade, a coalition of companies that includes Amazon and Ikea has pledged to use only ocean shippers that use zero-carbon fuel by 2040. Washington Post

A coalition of philanthropic donors will spend more than $220 million to support the diplomatic effort spearheaded by the U.S. and the European Union to lower methane emissions, the largest private commitment ever toward this effort. AP

After years of pushing from environmental justice advocates, California has agreed to dramatically restrict oil and gas drilling, setting a new one kilometre limit away from from homes and schools. It's a huge victory in the climate fight because it instantly sets around a third of the state off limits to oil drilling. OilPrice

Quebec has decided to put an end to any further fossil fuel extraction. "Closing the door on fossil fuel extraction is a huge victory, made possible by relentless opposition from citizens to both shale gas and conventional oil and gas exploitation." National Observer

Did you know that the Tesla Model 3 was the best selling car in Europe last month? Not the best selling electric vehicle - the best selling car, overall. Oh, and Hertz just bought 100,000 of them for its new fleet, the largest electric car order of all time.

The government of Chile has announced the ban of sales of most internal combustion vehicles in favor of battery-electric variants starting in 2035. Under the new electric transport strategy, all sales of light and medium vehicles, public transport and heavy trucks will have to be zero-emissions. We Go Electric

New York is vying for the title of 'the greenest big city on earth' with the return of whales off the coast of Staten Island, endangered butterflies, rare native bees, coyotes in Central Park and exotic insects not seen for decades in Brooklyn. It’s down to a 40-year conservation effort of tree planting, pesticide bans, and the conversion of former landfills into nature sanctuaries. NYT

An endangered Saharan antelope, known as the mhorr, or Dama gazelle, is on the road to recovery thanks to a rescue mission by an army captain from Spain 50 years ago. The descendants of the rescued gazelles given refuge in the Doñana Park in southern Spain now number 4,000 and have been reintroduced in Tunisia, Morocco, and Senegal. El Pais

For the first time in 60 years, cheetahs have returned to Mozambique, with two males and two females transported to Maputo Special Reserve as part of a rewilding project to reintroduce carnivores to ecologically restored landscapes and expand the shrunken gene pool. Daily Maverick

The population of wild Amur tigers in China, commonly referred to as Siberian Tigers, has rebounded from only 8 big cats in the 1990s to around 60 today. The good news is due to stronger environmental regulations and the creation of several reserves, including the largest tiger refuge in the world. Mongabay

Sea turtle populations are thriving in Cape Verde, with the number of nests increasing from 10,000 to almost 200,000 in the past six years. It's thanks to 20 years of conservation measures and new laws to criminalise killing, trade, and consumption of sea turtles. Beaches from India to the US have also recorded exponential increases in nesting. Guardian

Malawi has dramatically reduced wildlife poaching and trafficking in the past five years, thanks to tougher penalties for convicted criminals. 90% of wildlife criminals have served an average of four and half years in prison since the legislation was amended in 2017, and no international ivory seizures have been linked to the country since. NYT

Ten years ago, the first blow was struck against the Elwha dam, amidst much celebration. The rewilding of the Elwha River has paid off, with the ecosystem bouncing back and chinook salmon returning to the waters after a hundred year absence. This beautiful photo essay shows how quickly nature can bounce back, if we let it. Orion

Two locations in West Virginia’s Canaan Valley Resort State Park have been added to a new state program to protect rare plant and animal species. The areas are home to 2,200 acres of rare conifer swamps, red spruce forest, over 40 rare plants and 12 rare invertebrates. Wowktv

The Biden administration is supporting a 20-year moratorium on copper mining in a national forest to protect the 'unique natural wonder' of Minnesota's Boundary Waters. It’s a major win for environmental groups who have endured a stop-start process under previous administrations. Salem News

Mexico has banned cosmetic testing on animals after Save Ralph, an animated film about a rabbit cosmetic tester, spurred 1.3 million people to petition for new legislation. Mexico is the first country in North America and 41st country in the world to enact the ban. Tree Hugger

Nova Scotia is creating the world's first wild refuge for ex-marine park whales. The 40-hectare coastal sanctuary will be 300 times larger than the biggest tank in any marine park and designed to accommodate up to eight beluga whales. The refuge plans to welcome its first whales early 2023. Globe & Mail

Indonesia has restored over 50,000 hectares of mangrove forests in the past two years, from 3.31 million hectares in 2019 to 3.36 million today, thanks to a planting project in villages across East Kalimantan. The new ecosystems will help improve biodiversity and mitigate the impact of climate change. WIF

Panama, Ecuador, Colombia and Costa Rica just announced the creation of the Eastern Tropical Pacific Marine Corridor, a fishing-free zone covering more than 500,000 km2 in one of the world’s most important migratory routes for turtles, whales, sharks and rays. The new interconnected area contains some of the richest pockets of ocean biodiversity on the planet, including the Galápagos Islands. Guardian

2nd October 2021 - 15th October 2021

The world has gained a new weapon in the war on malaria, among the oldest known and deadliest of infectious diseases. In a momentous and long-awaited decision, the World Health Organization has approved the rollout of a malaria vaccine (the first ever for a parasitic disease) to protect children in Africa. NYT

India has the largest public health insurance scheme in the world, providing 500 million people with free healthcare. Since its launch three years ago, over 20 million treatments worth approximately $3.5 billion have been provided for the country's poorest citizens. In a new update announced last week, transgender operations and treatments will now be covered too.

In an unexpected public health victory, Haiti has successfully controlled the largest cholera epidemic ever recorded in a single country, while simultaneously improving maternal and child healthcare. There have been no confirmed cases of cholera since January 2019, and the quality of maternal and child health has improved significantly in the last decade thanks dto a program that pays local clinics when they meet predetermined targets. World Ban

According to the World Air Quality report, 84% of countries experienced better air quality in 2020 compared to 2019, due to the decline in industry and transport during COVID lockdowns. The report collected data from 106 countries, with Singapore, China, and Thailand recording the greatest reductions. CNN

More than 110,000 landmines covering 135 km2 were destroyed globally last year, a new annual record. Four of the world’s most heavily mined countries - Lao PDR, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Iraq - accounted for 95% of the clearances, an exceptional achievement, especially against the backdrop of the pandemic. Over a million landmines have been cleared in the last decade. ReliefWeb

Bad news travels, good news doesn’t. When Afghanistan’s government collapsed, the whole world watched. But when Indonesia, the most populous Muslim-majority country, produces the planet's most effective democratically elected leader – President Joko Widodo – almost no one outside the archipelago knows the story. Project Syndicate

Brazil’s highest court has upheld a ban on missionaries entering reserves that are home to isolated and recently contacted Indigenous people. The decision comes in response to a lawsuit filed by Indigenous organizations against a law passed in July 2020 that allowed missionaries to remain inside reserves despite the pandemic, in violation of Brazil’s official policy in place since 1987. Mongabay

The European Parliament has voted in support of banning biometric mass surveillance, stating that individuals should only be monitored if they have been suspected of a crime. The landmark resolution would put an end to the automated recognition of people in public spaces through biometrics, and also prohibit predictive policing which increases the risk of discrimination. Pro Privacy

100 of the world’s biggest companies will now pay a minimum tax rate of 15% and be accountable to the countries they operate in, thanks to the first global revamp of corporate tax rules in over a decade. 136 countries have signed the new agreement, which will raise an additional $150 billion per year that will go to citizens, rather than line the pockets of CEOs. Politico

Following the lead of Barcelona, Paris and Amsterdam, the UK's second largest city, Birmingham, is set to transform into a super-sized, low-traffic neighbourhood with a new plan to divert car traffic out of the city and introduce zero-emissions cross-city buses, cycle ways and pedestrian lanes. Guardian

Big announcements from climate laggards this week. Russia has committed to carbon neutrality by 2060, Turkey has finally ratified the Paris Agreement, and the UAE has become the first petro-state to commit to net zero by 2050. Critics say these pledges aren't enough, but they're missing the point. They're not promises. They're ratchets - once announced, they only increase in ambition.

Huge domino down. Guangdong, China's most populous province and one of its most industrialized, has banned the construction of coal plants in the Pearl River Delta, the first ever crackdown on coal by a major Chinese province. Crude oil processing will also be forbidden, along with other industries like cement, plate glass, chemical pulping, raw leather tanning and steel. SP Global

Another North American pipeline down too. The proposed PennEast Pipeline from Pennsylvania to New Jersey, one of the last remaining projects set to pull gas from the biggest gas shale basin in the United States, has been cancelled due to legal and regulatory challenges. Reuters

China has begun construction on the largest and most ambitious clean energy project of all time, 100GW of wind and solar in its western desert. That’s more than the entire existing wind and solar capacity of India, and will be able to generate four times as much power as the Three Gorges Dam. Bloomberg

The Biden administration has begun a process to identify, demarcate and start leasing federal waters for offshore wind installations across the entire US coastline - Gulf of Mexico, Gulf of Maine, the coasts of the mid-Atlantic States, North Carolina and South Carolina, California and Oregon. The first leases will be ready by 2025. NYT

Global energy storage is growing so quickly and at such a large scale it’s difficult to grasp the significance. 12.4 GW of capacity, mostly batteries, is on track to be installed in 2021, up from 4.9 GW in 2020, which was already a record. To put that into perspective, the world installed 1 GW of new capacity in 2016. Five years later, we're doing that every month. Inside Climate News

California just passed a law requiring the carbon emissions per ton of cement produced to be cut by 40% percent below 2019 levels by 2035. It's the first time ever a US state has required specific reductions from an economic sector, and puts it right out at the front of the global effort to decarbonize the cement industry. Canary

The global steel industry is moving far quicker than expected in tackling the challenge of decarbonization. "The steel industry is now at a tipping point. For years, we've watched small pilot projects demonstrate cleaner steelmaking processes, but they weren't really moving the needle. Now it’s different." Canary

The International Council on Mining and Metals, one third of the global mining and metals industry, has committed to net zero direct and indirect carbon emissions by 2050 or sooner. Made up of 28 of the world's biggest mining companies, with 650 sites in over 5o countries, it sends a clear signal on where things are heading for the rest of the industry. Reuters

Two dozen countries have joined a US and EU-led effort to slash methane emissions by 30% by 2030, giving a new 'Global Methane Pledge' momentum ahead of COP26. Nigeria, Japan and Pakistan are among the new signatories to the agreement, which will have a significant impact on reducing global warming. Reuters

Everyone's scrambling to get their commitments in before things kick off in Glasgow. The International Air Transport Association, which groups 290 airlines, including dozens of state carriers, has also committed to net zero by 2050, in a move that ties the sector's climate action to the 2015 Paris accord for the first time ever. Reuters

New York's city council just passed a bill requiring all of the city’s 885 diesel school buses to be converted to fully electric models by 2035. This is in line with the city's recent decision to allow only zero-emission passenger cars and light commercial vehicles to be sold from 2035. We Go Electric

Life comes at you fast when you're a car manufacturer these days. Cars powered by combustion engines now make up less than 10% of sales in Norway, and forecasts suggest the country's last sale of a new petrol or diesel car will come in April 2022, three years ahead of what was already the world's most ambitious target. Like we said: ratchets. Drive

Another week, another Ivy League university ditching fossil fuels. They're falling thick and fast now. This time it's Dartmouth which says that new fossil fuel investments will no longer be allowed in its endowment, and existing holdings will be allowed to expire once their contracts end.

The European Banking Authority says it's seeing clear signs that banks are dropping clients that pose a climate risk, and redirecting capital away from polluting industries. Loans account for two-thirds of the $22 trillion in exposure that the world's biggest financial institutions have to carbon intensive industries. Once they start drying up, things get very ugly for fossil fuels. Bloomberg

In a first for an Indian financial institution, the Federal Bank will not finance any new thermal coal mines or the expansion of existing mines, and has also ruled out support for new coal projects or the expansion of existing ones. This is a big deal: the first major domino in a country where the divestment movement is only just getting started. Mercom

The US government is reinstating environmental protections for three major national monuments ripped away by the Trump administration. The Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah, and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts off the coast of New England, America's first marine monument, will all have their boundaries restored. NYT

A federal judge has overturned the US Bureau of Land Management’s decision to lease 58,000 acres of public land in western Colorado for oil and gas extraction, agreeing with conservation groups that fracking and drilling will worsen air quality and threaten public health. “This is a huge win for public health and the wild places of Colorado that deserve protection." CBL

Three years ago, Pakistan launched the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami, a plan to reforest vast swathes of one of the most deforested countries in the world. Critics scoffed, but they're being forced to eat their words: the country is on track to plant 1.5 billion trees by the end of 2021, and is also conducting one of the biggest mangrove restoration projects in the world. Dunya

Pakistan's efforts haven't gone unnoticed. Mongolia, another country suffering from severe desertification, just announced it's going to spend around 1% of its GDP to plant a billion trees by 2030. Montsame

Overfishing in US waters has essentially ended. As of 2017, 85% of US fish stocks were no longer overfished, the highest number since record keeping began, and active overfishing had been eliminated in 91% of stocks. It's not just good news for the planet, but for fishing communities too. “We’re catching bigger fish and getting more bang for our buck." Reasons to be Cheerful

Refugees in Cameroon have planted 360,000 trees around the Minawao Refugee Camp, transforming 100 hectares of desert into thriving forest and vegetation. The ecological and humanitarian win is part of a unique program aimed to restore the area, after the arrival of 70,000 refugees accelerated desertification. When they go home, ‘they will leave behind a greener and more developed village." UNHCR.

France will ban plastic packaging for over 30 fruits and vegetables from January 2022. The measure will save more than one billion tonnes of plastic packaging per year and is part of the government’s program to phase out single use plastic on all produce by 2026. Reuters

California has passed the strictest recycling law in the US, requiring manufacturers to ensure items with the 'chasing arrows' recycling symbol are actually recyclable. The bill also strengthens rules for what can be used in compost to prevent soil contamination, and requires labels to inform consumers what can be composted too. AP

Winemakers in California are using barn owls and other birds of prey as a cost-effective and pesticide-free alternative to eliminate pests. 80% of Californian vineyards, who used to rely on toxic chemicals to protect vines (which impacted other local wildlife) now have barn owl nest boxes. Bay Nature

The population of the critically endangered Grauer’s gorilla has doubled, with current numbers of 6,800 up from 3,800 in 2016. The good news is attributed to conservation in the Oku Community Forests in the Congo, where the population has remained stable thanks to habitat conservation and local community engagement. Mongabay

Consumption of wildlife has dropped by almost 30% across China, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and the USA due to shifting cultural tastes and concerns about COVID-19. Governments are also stepping in, with China banning the consumption of wild animals last year and Vietnam also introducing restrictions. Globe Scan

China has pledged US$230 million to support conservation in developing countries, and will create several new national parks of its own, covering 230,000 km2 and protecting nearly 30% of the country’s key terrestrial wildlife species, including pandas, tigers and leopards. Conservation

An ambitious project to create a 50 million tree corridor between Liverpool and Hull in northern England has taken a step forward after the government pledged £15m to the cause. That's enough for a million trees in the next year, on top of the three million already planted as part of the Northern Forest initiative. BBC

A vast area of the Atlantic Ocean off the south west coast of Ireland is to be designated as a marine protected area in an international effort to protect 5 million seabirds across 22 different species. The MPA, known as the North-Atlantic Current and Evlanov Sea Basin, will protect an area of 641 612 km2. Irish Times

18th September 2021 - 1st October 2021

New Ireland has become the first province in Papua New Guinea to successfully reduce transmission of lymphatic filariasis, commonly known as elephantiasis - a remarkable achievement in a country where transmission rates are as high as 70%. “We are proud to be the first province in our country to achieve this historical milestone and come very close to getting rid of this terrible disease.” WHO

In May this year, Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health embarked on a first of its kind vaccination drive aimed at under-15s. In just ten days, they managed to vaccinate four million kids and teenagers against typhoid and cholera. The campaign has since been extended to reach six million, and the vaccine has been successfully added to Zimbabwe’s routine immunization schedule. WHO

Health authorities in Yemen have managed to control the explosive cholera outbreak that started in 2017, thanks to an unprecedented effort to get medicine and vaccines to those affected. Global cases of cholera plummeted by almost two thirds last year, thanks to a 68% decrease in cases in Yemen, and a 23% decrease from all other countries. WHO

A court in Jakarta has ruled that the Indonesian government has failed to protect citizens’ rights to clean air. The landmark decision requires the President and ministers to tighten national air quality standards to protect human health and the environment, and oversee efforts to cut pollution that directly affects air quality in Jakarta. The Independent

In one of the largest shifts of public opinion ever recorded, Gallup says that 94% of American adults now approve of interracial marriage, a huge leap from 4% when the poll began in 1958. People over the age of 50 experienced the biggest shift, increasing their approval by 64% in the past 30 years. Can't help but think of Max Planck's legendary quote:

A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

More than 97% of people in Bangladesh now have access to electricity, up from 62% in 2014. That's something like 60 million people who have gained access in the last seven years. Included in that number are around six million solar home systems, the largest off-grid network in the world. New Age

For the first time in Germany’s history, 85,000 people living with disabilities were eligible to vote in the recent election. The victory marks a turning point for disability rights and is thanks to new legislation that passed in 2019, after decades of lobbying from activists and NGOs. DW

Queensland will become the fifth Australian state to legalize voluntary assisted dying. The new laws, which have been 30 years in the making, will take effect from January 2023 and allow people over the age of 18 who meet the criteria to seek medical assistance to end their life. ABC

362,000 marijuana cases in New Jersey have been dismissed and 1,200 people released from probation as new drug laws take effect. New Jersey joins Illinois which has cleared 500,000 marijuana-related records, and California which has expunged 200,000. NJ

Switzerland will become the 30th country to legalize gay marriage, after 64.1% of the population voted in favour of reform. The victory comes after a long campaign by advocates, and a demand from the opposition government for the issue be decided by public referendum in 2020. BBC

The Philippine Senate has approved a bill to raise the minimum age of sexual consent from 12 to 16 years old, overturning a century-old law on statutory rape. It’s a historic win for child rights advocates who fought for this for years, and a huge step forward for a country with one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the world. Benar News

Four brave women in South Africa have successfully overturned a set of apartheid-era marriage laws that denied women equal property rights. Thanks to Elizabeth Gumede, Thokozani Maphumulo, Matodzi Ramuhovhi and Agnes Sithole, around 400,000 elderly black women will now have equal access to matrimonial property. Berea Mail

In 2009, Mexico City became the first Mexican state out of 32 to legalize same-sex marriage. Eleven years later, that number has reached 23, after Sonora, a large northern state, approved a new law on Thursday - a day after the central state of Queretaro, long regarded as one of the most conservative in the country, approved similar legislation. VOA

The microstate of San Marino has ended a 150-year ban on abortion, making it one of the last countries in Europe to grant women full autonomy over their bodies. Total bans on the procedure remain in Malta, Andorra, and the Vatican, while Poland reintroduced restrictions earlier this year. CGTN

A landmark victory for LGBTQ+ rights, with a Taiwan court overturning a rule that required trans people to have surgery to remove their reproductive organs before they could be legally recognised in their correct gender. "Self-determined gender is a cornerstone of a person’s identity, and this ruling highlights the advancement of gender equality and human rights in Taiwan.” Pink News

Xi Jinping says that China “will not finance or build new coal-fired power projects abroad." Difficult to overstate how important this is; in all the years we've been reporting on the clean energy transition, it's one of the biggest pieces of news we've ever shared. Beijing is by far the largest source of financing for coal plants globally, and the decision sends a clear signal to the rest of the world that the end of the fossil fuel era is now in sight. But of course, as a regular reader you knew that already :) DW

Decarbonization is a combination of big moments, like Xi's announcement, but also thousands of tiny little steps. Across millions of backyards in America, there's a quiet revolution taking place, as the roar and fumes of petrol-powered leaf blowers, mowers and trimmers is replaced by the silent hum of battery-powered ones. "My guys won’t even touch a gas hedge trimmer anymore." AP

Sri Lanka will cease building new coal-fired power plants, and has set a target of achieving 70% of all its energy requirements from renewable sources by 2030. "Our aim is to transition away from fossil fuels, promote decarbonization, and make Sri Lanka a carbon neutral country by 2050." Reuters

The Romanian government has committed to ending all coal power production by 2032, with the bulk gone by 2025. It's the 19th country in Europe to announce a coal phase-out, and if the experience of countries like Portugal and Greece tell us anything, it’s that once a commitment has been made, the actual exit comes far faster than first planned. Beyond Coal

Colombia has issued a new power plan that rules out building any new coal plants, and relies on major growth of solar, wind and hydro generation. The new plan effectively scuppers two proposed coal plants – the 465 MW Termobijao power station and the 1125 MW La Luna plant – which have been permitted but for which construction has not yet commenced. BNAmericas

Vattenfall, the biggest energy producer in the Nordic region, with 50% market share, just brought its net zero target forward by a decade to 2040. “The climate crisis is for real and not only do we have a responsibility to step up and move fast, we also see many opportunities in being a leader in this urgent transition." Reuters

Italy's biggest energy utility Enel, is accelerating the retirement of its coal fleet, bringing the end date forward from 2030 to 2027. It also plans to triple renewable energy generation from 49 GW today to 145 GW by 2030, and increase electric vehicle charging points from 186,000 to more than 4 million.

The US EPA has issued its first major regulation directly limiting greenhouse gases, requiring an 85% reduction of HFCs by 2036. This will eliminate the equivalent of 4.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide, three years’ worth of emissions from the electricity sector. Fridge and air conditioning lobbyists, it seems, don't have quite the same clout as their Exxon counterparts. NYT

China has also agreed to limit emissions of HFCs, as the country begins enforcing its obligations under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which took effect this month. Reuters

Remember Australia's mega wildfires of 2019/2020? Around 80% of the 715 million tons of carbon dioxide that was released has already been sucked out of the atmosphere by giant ocean algal blooms seeded by the nutrient-rich ash. Thanks Gaia. New Scientist

In the weeks since Harvard divested from fossil fuels, many others have followed, including Boston University, the University of Minnesota, and the MacArthur Foundation. Ten of the twenty richest colleges in America have now divested, the result of countless hours of work by activists helping to rob coal, gas and oil companies of their social license. The Crucial Years

Unless you’re a Canadian retiree, you’ve probably never heard of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. It’s Canada’s second-biggest pension fund and the world’s twelfth biggest, and now it's divesting too - another $315 billion out of play for the fossil fuel industry. CBC

FirstRand, Africa’s biggest bank by market value, is ending its funding of new coal-fired power stations immediately and will halt the financing of any new projects to mine coal over the next five years. It's the second African bank to ban lending for new coal plants, after Nedbank, which made the decision earlier this year. Bloomberg

Ford, the company that brought humanity the production line, is spending $11.4 billion to build two new factories in Tennessee and Kentucky for batteries and electric pickup trucks. Together, they'll create over 11,000 jobs, and the Tennessee factory will be Ford’s largest ever — and its first new American vehicle-assembly plant in decades. Atlantic

The EV revolution is happening far quicker than anyone realises (except regular readers of this newsletter). In Germany, 21.7% of all cars produced in July were electric, compared with 6.8% in March 2020 and 3.2% in January 2019. Meanwhile, in China, 17.8% of all new cars sold in August were either electric or hybrids - up 180% year on year.

The UN brought more than 20 world leaders together with representatives from indigenous communities and the private and philanthropic sectors, to ‘commit to momentous action for nature, climate, and people’. Nat GeoHere are the highlights:

  1. The largest-ever philanthropic commitment for conservation. Nine organizations joined forces to launch the Protecting Our Planet Challenge, pledging $5 billion to conserve 30% of the planet by 2030 and support indigenous stewardship of native territories.
  2. The Finance for Biodiversity Pledge, 75 financial institutions worth a collective €12 trillion in assets, committed to protect and restore biodiversity through their activities, and reduce existing investments which are harmful to nature.
  3. Costa Rica announced it will ramp up its ocean protection from 2.5% to 30% and will also expand the area designated to the Cocos Islands National Park.
  4. Nigeria will establish 10 new national parks across the country and create new marine protected areas.
  5. Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, and Serbia presented the ‘Amazon of Europe’, the world’s first five-nation biosphere reserve spanning 700km between the countries.

A partnership between five conservation groups in Kentucky has pulled off the largest dam removal in the state’s history. The Green River, one of the most bio-diverse river systems in America, will soon flow freely for the first time in 70 years. Good news for 150 fish species, over 70 species of mussel and 43 endemic species that call it home. BG

After decades of negotiations, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have finalized a $1.9 billion water rights settlement that resolves thousands of tribal claims to waterways throughout western Montana. The agreement also provides funding for habitat restoration and officially transfers control of the National Bison Range to First Nations. Grist

Some of Australia's most beautiful natural sites, including the Daintree, the oldest tropical rainforest in the world, have been returned to Aboriginal custodianship. After years of negotiations, four parks covering more than 160,000 hectares will now be co-managed by the Queensland government and the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people, and eventually transition to being run solely by First Nations people. ABC

A South-African-based conservation group has been gifted a $100 million philanthropic grant to help sustain some of the most biodiverse and threatened landscapes on the planet. The group manages 19 protected areas that cover 14.7 million hectares across Africa. Mongabay

Half a million acres of Scottish Highlands, stretching from Loch Ness to Kintail, and encompassing Glens Cannich, Affric, Moriston and Shiel, will be rewilded over the next 30 years thanks to a community led project known as the Affric Highlands. It will become Europe's tenth official rewilding area. Irish Tech News

From 2023, the sale of fruit and vegetables in plastic wrapping will be banned in supermarkets and grocery stores in Spain. The ban is one of a series of measures from the country's new Ministry for Ecological Transition, who are also planning alternatives to bottled water and single-use drinking cups at public events. El Pais

Big wins for animal rights in Hawaii with the passing of seven new laws. The intentional killing of sharks has been banned, along with the release of balloons that threaten marine life. Cosmetics that use animal testing are now prohibited and new laws have been passed to improve companion animal welfare and protect vets from liability for providing emergency treatments. World Animal Rights

The EU has voted to phase out the use of animals in laboratory experiments, calling for systemic changes to scientific research methods. Over eight million animals, including monkeys, dogs, cats, rabbits, mice, and rats, will be saved from the invasive experiments Europe carries out each year. Totally Vegan Buzz

4th September 2021 - 17th September 2021

The pace of COVID-19 vaccinations in Africa has been way too slow, but that's about to change, after the African Union announced it has pooled enough money with the Caribbean to secure 400 million doses of the J&J vaccine - enough to immunize a third of the continent by the end of this year. World Bank

Under India's flagship Jal Jeevan Mission, millions of people have gained access to clean water in the last two years. About 11.2 million, or 38% of all households in disease-vulnerable regions now have access to clean water, up from 2.9% in 2019, and another 11.8 million, 35% of the total, now have running tap water, up from 7.9% in 2019. HT

A massive collaborative effort by religious groups in America is providing newly arrived Afghan refugees with food, clothing, legal assistance and housing. “It’s incredible. It’s an interfaith effort that involved Catholic, Lutheran, Muslim, Jews, Episcopalians ... Hindus ... as well as nonfaith communities who just believe that maybe it’s not a matter of faith, but a matter of who we are as a nation.” AP

US poverty fell to 9.1% last year, the lowest level ever recorded and a significant decline from 11.8% in 2019. Thanks to federal relief enacted at the start of the pandemic, nearly 8.5 million people were lifted out of poverty, and childhood poverty experienced its largest ever one year decrease, dropping from 15.8% to 11.9%. WaPo

There are some amazing stories hidden in the new Gates Foundation report. Last year Benin, where malaria is the leading cause of death, created a new, digitized system for bed nets, distributing 7.6 million across the country in just 20 days. In Pakistan, an emergency cash program provided assistance to over 40% of the population, two-thirds of whom were women, bringing 10 million of them into the formal financial system for the first time (h/t to our friends at The Progress Network for this one).

The number of leprosy cases around the world plummeted last year, with new cases falling by 37% and total cases by 27% compared to 2019. While this is partially due to less reporting as a result of COVID-19, it's in line with longer term trends, especially for children. The proportion of child cases has decreased from 9.2% in 2011 to 7.4% in 2019 and to just 6.8% in 2020. WHO

Malaysian women have won the right to pass citizenship onto their children born overseas, a privilege previously only granted to men. It’s part of a global movement to amend discriminatory citizenship laws that trap women in abusive relationships and deny children access to education and healthcare. CS Monitor

From next year, France will offer free birth control for all women aged 25 and under to target a decline in contraceptive use among young women due to cost. Contraceptive methods are already free in Britain, and Spain offers free birth control pills and subsidizes other forms of contraception. NPR

For the first time ever, half of lawmakers in Mexico’s lower house of Congress are female, and women are set to lead nearly a quarter of the country's states after recent midterm elections. This follows an ambitious reform passed in 2019 for “gender parity in everything." MS

Mexico’s Supreme Court has made it legal for all citizens to choose what happens to their bodies, in a landmark decision to decriminalize abortion. It's a major human rights victory in a country with one of the world’s largest Catholic populations, and a sign of changing attitudes across Latin America, following a similar move by Argentina earlier this year. BBC

The UN has passed a historic resolution to stamp out ritualistic killings in Africa that target children, women, and people with disabilities and albinism. Member states will now be required to develop specific measures to tackle the issue. “This resolution is an important step to stop the horrific, human rights abuses that take place due to beliefs in witchcraft.” East African

A big step forward for LGBTQIA+ rights in Israel after the government lifted restrictions on blood donations by gay men. It follows the United Kingdom and the United States, who have both eased similar restrictions over the past year. AP

Barcelona is giving citizens free, unlimited public transport for three years when they give up their private vehicles. Since the program began in 2017, more than 12,000 ‘T-green tickets’ have been awarded, reducing the city’s traffic by 10,613 cars and 1,735 motorcycles. Eltis

In the past six years, Paris has done more than almost any city in the world to take space back from cars, opening linear parks on old highways along the Seine, phasing out diesel cars, opening bus lanes, raising parking meter prices and plowing bike lanes down hundreds of streets. It's working.

A massive moment for the climate divestment movement, after Harvard, the richest university on earth, announced that it no longer has any direct investments in fossil fuel companies, and that its indirect investments through private equity funds would be allowed to lapse. Congratulations to the activists who fought for this for so many years.

Chubb, the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurer, is walking away from Canada's Trans Mountain tar sands expansion. It's the 16th insurer to quit the project, a major victory for indigenous communities and environmental activists who've campaigned against it for years. Insurance Business Canada

In the six years since the Paris Agreement was signed, the global pipeline of new coal plants has shrunk dramatically. More than three quarters of planned projects have been shelved, 44 governments have committed to ending coal, and a further 33 have cancelled their pipelines. The remaining pipeline is now spread across just 37 countries, 16 of which have only one project. Carbon Brief

India has the second scariest coal pipeline on the planet: 33 GW under construction and 29 GW in pre-construction. In reality, most of that is a mirage. The plants under construction are destined to be stranded assets, there has been no movement in the 29 GW of pre-construction capacity, and no new coal-fired power plants announced at all in the last 12 months. IEEFA

Greece has historically been one of the most coal-reliant economies in Europe - in 2015, half of all energy was produced from lignite, the dirtiest form of coal. In a shift that would have been inconceivable a few years ago, lignite's share is now down to around 10%, and the country is on track to close its last coal plant by 2025. Money talks. SP Global

Solar installations are booming in France. In 2021 the country has installed more solar than in any other year in history - and that's just from the first six months of the year. Although solar is still only 3.1% of total electricity consumption, this represents a new kind of growth the country has not experienced before. PV

The Phillipines just awarded 928 renewable energy contracts with a combined capacity of 30 GW. This comes off the back of the country's ban on new greenfield coal plants in October last year. “We are proactively pursuing policies and programs that will help us secure a sustainable, competitive energy future for the coming generations." Manila Standard

Illinois, the 18th largest economy in the world, and the fifth largest economy in the US, just passed what it's calling "the most pro-worker, pro-climate legislation in the country." The bill mandates zero emissions from the power sector by 2045, a five fold increase in renewables, and funding for a just transition for communities affected by coal and gas closures. Gizmodo

New York's new governor, Kathy Hochul, has signed a bill into law that will require all passenger vehicles sold in the state to be emissions-free by 2035. The law makes New York the second state after California to announce a phase out date for greenhouse gas emissions in cars and light trucks. The Hill

Toyota, the world’s largest car manufacturer by volume, and the last big remaining holdout on EVs, is finally coming to the party. It just announced plans to spend $13.5 billion to develop batteries and an accompanying supply system, and will release 70 electric cars globally by 2025, including 15 fully-electric vehicles. Verge

Hyundai will not sell any more more combustion vehicles in Europe after 2035, and in the rest of the world after 2040. their CEO, Jaehoon Chang, is the latest in a long line of industrialists to suddenly develop a conscience. “Climate change is an undeniable challenge that requires the greatest and most urgent attention of all.” Electrive

The first customer ready trucks from Rivian have rolled off the production line at their headquarters in the Prairie State, in a big moment for EV enthusiasts. Forget the F-150 or the Cybertruck; this is the future of the battery electric pickup. If you haven't heard of this company yet, do yourself a favour and check this out.

The population of four endangered tuna species - Atlantic bluefin, Southern bluefin, Albacore and Yellowfin - are all showing signs of recovery thanks to the enforcement of fishing quotas over the past decade. While all those populations are still critically endangered, it shows that regulation and enforcement is capable of turning the tide. Nat Geo

Until ten or fifteen years ago, the vast majority of table eggs were produced in cage systems. Today, that's no longer the case. Thanks to animal activists and shifting consumer tastes, cage-free eggs now represent the majority of eggs produced in the UK, the EU and Australia. The Poultry Site

A welcome conservation victory in our own backyard, with news that the population of the Eastern Barred Bandicoot has jumped from 150 to 1,500 in the past 30 years. It’s the first time the status of an animal in Australia has changed from 'extinct in the wild' to 'endangered.' BBC

The population of Australia's largest wombat species is back from the brink too, after almost being wiped out in the 1980s. ABC

Conservationists in Austin, Texas have won a legal battle to reclaim protected critical habitat for a rare species of salamander to help bolster their population against proposed developments and climate change. The protected areas include an underground aquifer, spring outlets and spring runs. Biological Diversity

Slovakia has passed a new law banning dog owners from keeping dogs on chains. The legislation, the result of years of campaigning by NGOs, will be effective from 1st January 2022 for young dogs, and will come into full effect in 2024. "Despite big compromises, this is a huge victory for animal rights in this country." Slovak Spectator

Western Australia has become the first Australian state to end native forest logging, with a ban effective from the start of 2024. The government will invest $350m to expand softwood timber plantations and $50m to support affected workers and communities. Guardian

A rewilding project in England that reclaimed 128,000 acres of industrial wasteland three decades ago has blossomed from a single tree into what's now known as the National Forest. The forest has created 5,000 new jobs and there are plans to create a new 25-acre wood to remember those who've died during the COVID-19 pandemic. Euro News

A conservation project to save Yorkshire’s peatlands has carried out restoration work on 5,048 ha of blanket bog, and is delivering huge environmental benefits, having already saved 48 million tonnes of carbon from being released. Peat is an unsung hero of conservation, delivering one of most effective forms of natural carbon capture, flood control and ecosystem recovery. The Guardian

In a remarkable feat of eco-engineering, oysters are saving Kutubdia Island in Bangladesh from fast-rising seas. Marine scientists have worked with island locals for nine years to create oyster-encrusted reefs that buffer the coastline from waves and support marine life, pi0neering a new model that may transform coastline management around the world. BBC

One of the world’s largest tyre graveyards, in Kuwait, is being revitalized into a new urban development, thanks to a recycling plant that has started converting the 42 million old tyres into consumer products. The new plant has a capacity of 3 million tyres per year. WEF

The EPA has restored protections to Alaska’s Bristol Bay, blocking construction of a proposed pebble mine near the world’s largest sockeye salmon run. Native communities and commercial fishermen have fought against the mine for decades, which would threaten 200 species of birds, 40 different land animals and all five species of Pacific salmon. Backpacker

20th August 2021 - 3rd September 2021

India and China are hitting new records on daily vaccinations. On Monday, India administered over 10 million doses in a single day, and then followed up on Tuesday with over 12 million. Meanwhile, China is averaging 20 million people per day - a rate that would vaccinate the entire population of the UK in little more than six days.

A new approach to combating malaria has managed to reduce deaths and illness in children by 70%. The trial, conducted in 6,000 children in Burkina Faso and Mali over 17 months, combined a new malaria vaccine with anti-malarial drugs given at a time of year when children are most vulnerable. BBC

48 million people in West Africa were vaccinated against yellow fever in 2020, a significant increase compared to 2019. This was despite a 6-month interruption due to the pandemic - a remarkable achievement made possible by thousands of healthcare workers who figured out a way to make the rollout safe. WHO

In the past two decades, almost every country in sub-Saharan Africa has made gains in female literacy. In 2000, the proportion of women who could read and write was around 46%; today, it's close to 60%. Even more encouragingly, the literacy rate for young women (15-24 yo) has soared to 72%, and is now just below their male peers. Borgen

Incarceration rates in the United States fell to a 24 year low in 2019 - and then plummeted again by 14% in 2020, to 1.8 million people. There are now half a million fewer people in prison in America compared to 13 years ago, thanks to largely unheralded changes in criminal laws, sentencing patterns and a decline in violent crimes. Vera

A state court in North Carolina has ruled that people who were previously incarcerated now have the right to vote. The decision, which takes immediate effect, stands to impact upwards of 55,000 people previously denied access to the franchise. Law & Crime

A collective housing project in Thailand is empowering underprivileged communities by forming co-operatives to negotiate land deals. More than 130,000 households have benefited, and funding for another 1.2 million houses has been made available, including free units for single mums and the elderly. Reuters

Following the legalisation of the drug “Kratom” in Thailand, over 10,000 offenders have been released from prison and their criminal records wiped clean. Kratom leaves contain Mitragynine, a substance that reduces pain and chronic symptoms of diabetes and high blood pressure. Pattaya Mail

Earlier this year, we reported some good news on SDG7: over a billion people have gained access to electricity in the past decade. According to Bloomberg, while some of that was achieved by new power lines, a lot was also achieved by installing small solar systems designed to power villages, farms or single homes. To date, more than 180 million off-grid solar systems have been sold worldwide, and 420 million people now get their electricity from those systems.

A major human rights victory in Somalia’s Puntland region, after the government approved a bill to outlaw female genital mutilation in a country where most girls are still forced to undergo the practice. The bill includes harsh penalties for hospitals, midwives, and traditional circumcisers who perform the barbaric practice. Reuters

There's been a welcome win for democracy in Zambia, with voters peacefully electing a new president for the third time in the country’s history. Despite fears of political unrest, opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema won in a landslide against President Edgar Lungu. All Africa

China just banned written exams for six- and seven-year-olds, as part of sweeping education reforms aimed at relieving pressure in its hyper-competitive school system. Education officials are saying that pressure on pupils from a young age "harms their mental and physical health." China banned written homework for first- and second-graders earlier this year. France24

The US government authorized the PAWS ACT (Puppies Assisting Wounded Service members for Veterans Therapy) authorizing service dogs for veterans with PTSD. The dogs will learn how to shield a veteran from an overwhelming crowd or wake them up if they're having a nightmare. At the end of the program, the veteran trainers will be able adopt their canine pupils. NPR

Switzerland has pledged $12 billion over the next three years to reduce global poverty and increase peacekeeping measures. The ambitious plan will target the refugee crisis and work to stabilise conflict zones where people are forced to flee. Borgen

Medellin, Colombia’s second-largest city has created a large network of “green corridors” across the city to offset rising temperatures. The shady walkways and bike lanes have reduced average temperatures in parts of the city by 2°C since they were built in 2018. Price tag? Just $16.3-million. Japan Times

Three years ago, Spain's government signed an agreement with trade unions and energy companies to shut down its entire coal industry and begin a just transition. The last coal mine is now due to close in December, and coal consumption will end completely by 2030. "We expect that the next year is going to be greener, but it's always greener than we expect. This is exponential."ABC

Norway's sovereign wealth fund - the largest in the world, with over $1.3 trillion in assets, including 1.4% of the world's stocks and shares -  just added a new set of environmental criteria to its investment standards, putting serious pressure on natural resource extraction companies, including several of Russia’s energy giants. Barent Observer

The world's largest shipping company, Maersk, just spent $1.4 billion (yes, that's 'billion') on eight new vessels that will be able to run on carbon-neutral fuel. That price tag is 10-15% more expensive than usual, suggesting the company is serious about its carbon neutrality efforts. Long way to go still, but this is an encouraging signal. Reuters

Denmark and Costa Rica are creating an alliance of nations committed to ending both the consumption and production of gas and oil. It's modeled on the Powering Past Coal Alliance, which was formed in 2017 and now boasts 41 members. "This would mark a significant shift in global geopolitics on fossil fuels." Gizmodo

In 2019, the UK became the first country in the world to set a net zero emissions target. Three years later, over 70% of world emissions are now covered by net-zero legislation, have net-zero emissions legislation under discussion, or occur where net-zero is the policy position of the government. Things change slowly... then they change very fast. BNEF

Installations of renewable energy projects in the United States hit a new high in the first six months of 2021. Just over 9.9 GW of onshore and offshore wind, battery storage, and utility-scale solar capacity was added in the first half of the year, a 17% increase over the same period in 2020. Power Mag

Vietnam's gotten the memo. Last year, rooftop solar went from 378 MW to 9.8 GW. The country now boasts the highest installed capacity of solar in Southeast Asia. In the last few months Vietnam has also scrapped plans for 9.5 GW of coal-fired power. None of this is an accident. It's due to well designed feed-in-tariffs, tax incentives and waivers of land leases. VN Express

The Australian government may be in complete denial about climate change, but investors aren't. Total assets under management by ethical investment funds in Australia leapt by 30% last year, and now account for 40 cents of every professionally managed dollar. Meanwhile, half of the top 100 listed companies have committed to net zero targets, up from a fifth a year ago. ReutersAli Allawi, the deputy prime minister and finance minister of Iraq, has made an unprecedented call to fellow oil producers to move away from fossil fuels and into renewable energy, ahead of a key OPEC meeting. "Renewable energy offers the ability to build a cleaner and more efficient electricity sector." Guardian

A joint project by Swedish steel company SSAB, state-owned utility Vattenfall, and mining company LKAB just delivered the world’s first batch of fossil-free steel. The economics don't work yet for this yet, but it's an important milestone on their way to the goal of commercial production in 2026. Forbes

Global EV sales are cranking. Around 2.65 million new cars were bought during the first half of 2021, an increase of 168% over 2020. This hyper-growth needs to be seen relative to a low base from the pandemic, but it's still super impressive. 6.3% of all cars sold globally so far this year have been battery or hybrid vehicles.

The world is officially rid of leaded petrol, after a refinery in Algeria used up the last stockpile in July. Most developed countries banned it in the 80s and 90s, but it took a 20 year campaign by the UN to get rid of it in Africa and the Middle East. It’s estimated elimination will prevent more than 1.2 million deaths annually. Quartz

Little by little, India is restoring its mangroves. After a century of losses, between 1987 and 2019, the country increased net mangrove cover by 93,000 ha, a rise of about 25%. It's one of the largest and most successful mangrove restoration efforts of all time. World Bank

One year after the Great American Outdoors Act was signed, more than $285 million in projects are underway across the national forest system in 40 states, with another 1,000 improvement projects — including campgrounds, trails and visitor centers — in the pipeline. Roll Call

The US EPA has finally banned the use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos on food crops. This was supposed to happen in 2016, but Trump's EPA reversed the decision in one of its many acts of environmental and public health vandalism. It's a long overdue victory, coming after 14 years of pressure from environmental and labour groups. Conversation

Another Trump era ruling has been reversed, which allowed sand mining on beaches protected by the Coastal Barrier Resources Act. It's a crucial environmental victory that will keep pristine, undeveloped beaches intact, where they provide a home for coastal birds and a buffer against storm surges and rising seas. Audabon

Third time's the charm. A federal judge has thrown out Trump administration approvals, granted in late 2020, for a large planned oil project on Alaska’s North Slope, saying the process was flawed and didn’t include mitigation measures for wildlife. Guardian

Actually, make that four. A federal judge in Arizona has reintroduced protections for waterways and wetlands across the US, reversing the Trump Administration’s rollback of pollution controls. The move, spurred on by local tribes and environmental groups, will ensure clean drinking water for millions of Americans and safe habitat for thousands of wildlife species. WaPo

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has taken the snail darter off the endangered list. Originally declared endangered in 1975 because of dam construction, the small fish is no longer at risk after being transplanted to other rivers, where numbers are increasing. It's the culmination of decades of unsung work by conservation heroes. WaPo

Africa’s largest tropical rainforest, Salonga National Park, has been removed from UNESCO’s list of threatened sites, following 20 years of sustained conservation work and anti-poaching measures. The park plays an important role in climate regulation and is also home to many vulnerable or endangered species, including bonobo monkeys, the bush elephant, and the Congo peacock. Newsweek

Beijing, once known as one of the world's most polluted cities, recorded just ten days of heavy air pollution last year, a drop of nearly 80% since 2015. On good days, residents now speak of 'Beijing blue.' Last month, the city, which is home to 21 million people, recorded its best monthly air quality since records began. CNN

Kenya's Wildlife Service says that for the first time in 21 years, not a single rhinoceros was poached in the country’s national parks in 2020. The agency credits a new strategy that focuses on providing rangers with housing, equipment and support to be able to respond around the clock. VOA

Chinese officials have announced that they no longer consider giant pandas an endangered species. There are now 1,800 giant pandas living in the wild, thanks to a series of conservation initiatives in recent years. Those initiatives have also benefited other species: Siberian tigers, Asian elephants, and crested ibises are all seeing population increases too. NPR

The number of beavers in Scotland has more than doubled in the last three years. There are now over 1,000 wild animals in lakes and rivers across Scotland's southern Highlands. Hunted to extinction 400 years ago in the UK, they're now back thanks to illegal re-wilding efforts by environmental activists. BBC

17th June 2021 - 2nd July 2021

A moment of appreciation for a successful, multi-generational effort to eliminate malaria in China. It's the 40th nation in the world to achieve malaria-free status, and the first in the western Pacific region in 30 years. Not bad for a country that used to report 30 million cases per year in the 1940s.

Bangladesh, home to 160 million people, has been heralded a ‘development miracle’ in the Daily Star as it celebrates its 50th year of independence. Since 1991, GDP per capita has increased seven fold, 24 million people have been lifted out of poverty, life expectancy has risen to 73 years, infant and maternal mortality rates have fallen by a factor of five and the literacy rate has increase from 35% to 74%.

A study in The Lancet of 21 low, medium and high income countries has found that there has been no increase in suicide rates and that 12 countries actually recorded a decrease. This good news has been attributed to increased awareness, better access to mental health services, financial relief packages and new connection points within local communities.

Some good news from Tanzania too, which will allow pregnant girls and teen mothers the opportunity to resume secondary education, overturning a 4-year ban, and Saudi Arabia has officially allowed single, divorced or widowed women to live independently in a house without permission from a father or any other male guardian. “An adult woman has the right to choose where to live. Families can no longer file lawsuits against their daughters who choose to live alone.”

In Canada, a welcome win for LGBTQI+ rights with the passage of a historic bill criminalizing conversion therapy. Further south, Connecticut has restored voting rights to people with past convictions, marking a milestone in the push to end criminal disenfranchisement,

In Europe, 33 cities have signed an International Alliance of Safe Harbours Agreement allowing them to take in more refugees rescued at sea, in a bid to distribute the load more evenly away from hotspots in the Mediterranean. In Iran, a set of reforms has been passed to ensure that proper schooling is made available to all migrants, including thousands of undocumented children.

Efforts to force multinational companies to pay their fair share have taken a decisive step forward after the world's largest economies agreed to sweeping changes to the global tax system, setting an international minimum corporate tax rate of at least 15%.

More than 1,800 schools in the Indian state of West Bengal have installed mini-solar plants in the past two years, and there are plans to expand installations by 1,000 schools a year until the number reaches 25,000. Schools have used the savings for tree-planting, additional teachers, computer classes and sanitation upkeep. Reuters

Workers with disabilities in Hawaii will be guaranteed fair wages, after an old labour law that allowed employers to pay them less was given the boot. It's welcome news for the 26,000 people who live in Hawaii with some form of disability. Guardian

In Montana, 18,000 acres of wildlife reserve, known as the National Bison Range, has been formally handed back to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, and in Maine, the Passamaquoddy tribe have bought back their ancestral land of Pine Island, with the help of a grant from conservation charities.

Heralded as ‘a law of laws’, the EU has approved landmark legislation to enshrine greenhouse gas emissions targets in law, requiring a 55% reduction by 2030, net zero by 2050, and the creation of a carbon budget for 2030-2050 that meets climate goals. It's a very, very big deal. It comes off the back of a very bad few weeks for fossil fuels, after a Brussels court ruled that Belgium’s failure to meet climate targets is a violation of human rights, and recognized 58,000 citizens as co-plaintiffs. The historic judgement follows similar, recent rulings in the Netherlands, Germany and France.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the first three months of 2021 saw 2.5 Hoover Dams worth of capacity added to the US grid, a 46% increase compared to the same period in 2020. Solar and wind accounted for 99% of all new power generation capacity in Q1. Endgame for coal and gas. That's certainly how Maine sees it, after becoming the first state in the United States to divest from the fossil fuel industry.

The world's industrialists and financiers can certainly smell the blood in the water. Fossil fuels billionaire and Asia's richest man, Mukesh Ambani, is making 'a green pivot' with a $10.1 billion investment into clean energy over the next three years. “I envision a future when our country will be transformed from a large importer of fossil energy to a large exporter of clean solar energy solutions.”

Could his newfound enthusiasm for the fate of the planet have something to do with a new piece of reporting from the Financial Times? According to the latest estimates, the vast majority of new coal-power plants being planned around the world will not make back their upfront costs. Specificially, 92% of facilities proposed or under construction globally would cost more to build than the future cash flow they would generate. Pipelines? More like pipe dreams.

Case in point: since 2014, Chinese companies have financed 52 overseas coal projects, worth a combined $160 billion. It's one of the worst investment decisions of all time. Only one plant has gone into operation, and 33 have been shelved  or cancelled, with plenty more still to come. No new projects were announced at all in 2020.

Right on cue, China’s biggest bank has dumped a plan to finance a $3 billion coal-fired power plant in Zimbabwe, Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co has eagerly offloaded its investments into Indonesian coal, and South Korea's three big insurance companies will stop underwriting coal-power projects, thanks in part to some serious people power.

There's more. One of Malaysia's biggest banks, RHB, has announced a coal exit by 2022, in Bangladesh, regulators are scrapping plans for 10 coal-fired power plants in favour of renewable energy (that's another 8GW off the table, k thanks), and North Macedonia and Montenegro have become the first countries in the Western Balkans to announce coal exits, saying they will close their plants by 2027 and 2035 respectively.

Canada has certainly seen the writing on the wall, announcing a ban on the sale of new fuel-burning cars and light-duty trucks from 2035, and there's been a rare bit of good news in our backyard too. In a bid to become the 'Norway of Australia' the state of New South Wales has unveiled a massive $490 million package of new incentives, tax cuts and spending on fast-charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.

Volkswagen has announced it will stop making combustion engines in Europe by 2035, Ford and Volvo said they would start all-electric production in Europe by 2030, and Audi has declared that from 2026 it will no longer launch new combustion engine models, not even hybrids. Only pure battery vehicles will be developed. That's five years away.

The entire landmass of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, 3,800 square kilometres of pristine wilderness that you've definitely seen in a nature documentary, will be designated as a protected area, complementing the existing 1.24 million square kilometre marine reserve.

Following the shutdown of coal mining in the Svalbard region of Norway, the government has started cleanup operations and expanded the boundaries of a national park by 2,914 km2 to include the former coal sites. “Our goal is for Svalbard to be one of the best-managed wilderness areas in the world."

In other conservation news, a vast area of breathtaking beauty ranging through Albania, North Macedonia and Kosovo is about to become a national park, creating one of the largest protected areas in Europe.

In New Zealand single-use plastics will be phased out by 2025, with bans on cotton buds, packaging, cutlery, straws, and fruit labels beginning next year. The measures could reduce over 2 billion single-use items from landfill each year.

Gabon has passed new laws to protect the country’s 69 species of sharks and rays. The landmark measures include new laws to fully regulate shark and ray catches, and highlight a new global initiative launched on World Ocean Day to save endangered marine species.

Tanzania is hopeful of reaching a ‘zero-elephant-poaching’ target after making thousands of arrests, including 21 kingpins of the illegal trafficking trade. Since 2014, the elephant population has increased by 17,000, remarkable progress for a country that once had the unenviable status of the world’s elephant killing fields.

In the United Arab Emirates, the population of the endangered Arabian oryx has increased by 22% in four years thanks to a reintroduction program inside the country's largest nature reserve.

A ‘drastic times, drastic measures’ approach has proved successful for two radical conservation experiments on different sides of the globe. In Southwest America, the population of the Mexican wolf has been bolstered by a fostering program which placed captive born pups into wild dens, while in Australia, a ‘headstarting’ method has saved the bridled nailtail wallaby from extinction by giving juveniles a few years in protected areas, before released them back into the wild.

Animal rights activists in China have pulled off an incredible rescue mission, removing 101 moon bears from a bile extraction facility and transporting them over 1,200 km to a rehab centre. It took years of planning, and involved three convoys of nine trucks each, and a dedicated team of vets and carers who will continue to rehabilitate the bears as they settle into their new home.

5th June 2021 - 16th June 2021

The Keystone XL pipeline has been officially terminated, cementing one of the biggest environmental victories of all time. Activists managed to delay the $9 billion, 830,000 barrel per day, Alberta oil sands 'dirty climate bomb' for 12 years, and in the process, give birth to much of the modern climate movement. Take a moment to appreciate this, it's really sweet. Even the most idealistic frontline warriors didn't expect it to end this well.

It's amazing how quickly industrialists seem to develop a conscience when there's a threat to their bottom line. This time, it's Italian automotive giant Fiat that suddenly cares about the fate of the planet, saying it will be an all electric brand by 2030. "This is our greatest project." Indeed. Engadget

The United States has the world's second largest fleet of coal plants, and 80% of them are now either more expensive to continue operating compared to building new wind or solar, or are set to retire in the next four years. If you think the last four years were bad for US coal, the next four are going to make them feel like a cakewalk. Meanwhile, Romania, one of Europe's last remaining coal holdouts, says it will close all of its coal mines by 2032, introduce ecotaxes, discourage the registration of cars older than 15 years and boost scrapping schemes for polluting vehicles, and Canada says it will no longer approve thermal-coal mining projects. C'mon Straya.

Over half a million people in Senegal just gained access to clean electricity after two solar PV plants were switched on, and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a massive $100 million off-grid solar project has been approved to bring power to three northern cities that currently have no connection to the grid. In Spain, renewables produced half of the country's electricity for the first time ever last month, reaching 50.7% of supply, and in Texas, four months after Republicans falsely blamed clean energy for the failure of the electric grid, investors have decided just what the state needs: more clean power. 15GW, the equivalent of Finland's entire electrical capacity, is now under construction or in advanced development, more than double three years ago. Bloomberg

There's been a new update on progress towards SDG7: the number of people without access to electricity has declined from 1.2 billion to 759 million in the past decade, the number connected to mini grids more than doubled during the same time period, and access to clean cooking solutions has grown by 1% annually.

The US government will make $1 billion in grants available to narrow the digital divide, expanding broadband access for Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities. Only half of households on tribal lands currently subscribe to a home internet service. The Verge

Your regular reminder that social attitudes can and do change, sometimes in the space of a single generation. Support for same-sex marriage in the United States is now at an all time high of 70%, up from 60% in 2015 when it was legalized, and from 27% in 1996, when Gallup first started asking the question. Hopefully we're also at the beginning of a similar shift in India, with news that Tamil Nadu has become the first Indian state to ban conversion 'therapy’ after an unprecedented and progressive judgment by the Madras High Court last week.

A decades-long effort to infuse mosquitoes with a virus-blocking microbe has culminated in a trial in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, that achieved a 77% reduction in cases and an 86% reduction in people needing hospital care. Not only was the science behind this world class, it's also one of the best examples we've ever seen of community engagement. They had to convince 90% of the community before releasing the mosquitoes, requiring years of meetings, letting people in to see the labs, using Whatsapp for engagement, and employing over 10,000 local volunteers to place the mosquito eggs in people’s backyards. Development specialists take note: this is how to help, not through patronage, but through partnership.

The global effort to eradicate polio just received a major boost with the release of $5 billion in new funding from The Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a public-private partnership by national governments and health groups. Most of it will be spent on vaccinations in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the last two countries in the world where outbreaks of wild polio still occur. NYT

A coalition of more than 40 groups, ranging from local NGOs to governments to international organizations, has mobilized $43 million for efforts to restore degraded habitats in the Galápagos Islands. The initiative aims to reintroduce 13 extinct species, and help increase the population of 54 threatened species.

Indonesia is home to 7.9 million acres of mangroves, more than any other country. In 2020, the government announced a plan to replant an additional 1.5 million acres by 2024. In the background however, an unsung army of ordinary Indonesians has been toiling for decades to restore these habitats. South Korea also has some big tree planting plans, saying it will plant three billion new trees over the next 30 years after joining the WEF's One Trillion Trees initiative.

A revolutionary new conservation program in southern Ecuador, funded by a small fee on municipality water, has achieved spectacular success, re-wilding 1,500 ha and putting an additional 337,000 ha under conservation. It represents a simple, yet effective model that can be replicated across the world.. In other good news from South America, Chile has passed new legislation, based on recommendations from environmental groups presented back in 2019, that will reduce the country’s plastic waste by more than 23,000 tons per year.

The total value of meat products sold in Germany fell by 4% in 2020 compared to 2019. By contrast, sales of plant-based alternatives skyrocketed by 39%, suggesting there has been a permanent shift in tastes, especially from younger consumers. Furry friends will also be pleased to hear that Israel has become the first country to completely ban the sale of all fur products, including imports and exports. Expect this to be the first in a long list over the next few years.

The critically endangered Polish wolf has recovered to an estimated population of 3,000, a massive leap from the mere 60 in existence in the early 1970s. It's always the same story with these endangered species recoveries: decades of unseen, thankless work from scientists, conservationists and activists.

That's exactly what happened in Bulgaria, which now has a stable population of around 80 griffon vultures, more than 40 years after the birds were declared extinct in the Balkan nation. There are now at least 23 mating pairs, who have been breeding in the wild since 2016.

22nd May 2021 - 4th June 2021

A Black Wednesday for the oil industry, after a triple whammy of historic blows. Exxon Mobil lost a fight with shareholders last week over its reluctance to account for climate change, while Chevron's investors instructed the company to cut its emissions, and a Dutch court ordered Shell to slash emissions by 45% by 2030. “There’s no going back to where things were for oil and natural gas.” Politico

Eight Australian high school students and a Catholic nun may have doomed coal's future, following a court ruling that the federal environment minister has a duty of care to avoid harm to young people from climate change. This is an even bigger deal that the Shell ruling, because Australia is the world's largest exporter of coking coal and the second-largest for thermal coal. Reuters

The world's seven largest advanced economies have agreed to stop international financing of coal projects that emit carbon by the end of this year, and phase out support for all fossil fuels. This announcement leaves China isolated as the lender of last resort for promoters of new international coal projects. ABC

It’s adiós to oil and gas drilling in Spain, following new legislation requiring the complete phase out of fossil fuel production by 2042. Sales of ICE vehicles will be banned by 2040, and 74% of the country’s electricity must be renewable by 2030. Spain joins Denmark, France and Ireland in legislating the EU’s target of carbon neutrality by 2050. Grist

South Korea's $774.1 billion National Pension Service, the third largest pension fund in the world, will cease investments related to the construction of coal-fired power plants at home and abroad. That's the 51st coal exit policy from a financial institution announced this year, a 61% increase over 2020. Pensions & Investments

One fifth of all cars rolling off the production lines in Germany are now hybrid or electric. This is an astonishing change for the fourth largest maker of cars in the world - manufacturers are now producing 74,000 EVs a month, and Volkswagen is now the third largest EV maker in the world after Tesla and Renault-Nissan. The Driven

A new report from the WHO says there were 1.5 million new HIV infections in 2020, a decline of 30% since 2010, and the lowest total number since 1990. The UN's 90-90-90 targets are inching closer: 81% of people living with HIV know their status, 67% are receiving ARVs (up from 20% in 2010), 59% have suppressed viral loads, and 85% of pregnant women are receiving ARVs. Mirage

The same report says that 9.4 million people around the world are now receiving treatment for Hepatitis C, an almost 10-fold increase from the baseline of one million at the end of 2015. This scale-up of treatment has been sufficient to reverse the global trend of increasing mortality from Hepatitis C for the first time ever. ReliefWeb

The US government has put an end to the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols — known as the "Remain in Mexico" program, requiring asylum seekers to return to Mexico until their court dates in the United States. Advocates are calling it a “huge victory” that will save thousands of innocent people from squalid conditions and extortion, sexual assault, and kidnapping. Common Dreams

Ecuador has become the latest country in Latin America to be swept up in the 'green wave' abortion rights movement, following a ruling by the country's Constitutional Court decriminalizing abortion in cases of rape. “Never again will women be threatened with jail time, preventing them from making decisions about their reproductive life." Al Jazeera

Prisons across America are being repurposed into homeless shelters, educational farms, and even movie studios as years of declining crime rates force prison closures. Thanks to alternative penalties for non-violent crimes, the number of people incarcerated in the United States in 2020 plummeted by 1.7 million from 2019. AP

The US government has suspended all drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, one of the country's largest tracts of untouched wilderness, and home to migrating waterfowl, caribou and polar bears. It's a big win for environmental groups and First Nations people who have campaigned to stop drilling for decades. NYT

Six years after the toxic haze crisis, the Indonesian government has restored more than 2 million hectares of damaged, carbon-rich peatlands and enhanced protection of the country's mangroves. The policy reset was driven by environmentalists who demanded action to curb fires, and last year, the country achieved its fourth consecutive year of decline in deforestation. Reuters

Glasgow has given the green light to a plan to create a massive urban forest consisting of 18 million trees in and around the city over the next 10 years. The Clyde Climate Forest will be planted in streets, former industrial or mining areas, as well as in the countryside and on the edges of farming land, increasing forest cover in the area from 17% to 20%. BBC

60 organizations, including Coles, Woolworths, Nestle and Coca-Cola have signed an ANZPAC plastics pact, that will make all plastic packaging in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. This landmark intervention comes after three years of negotiations and will drastically reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfill and the ocean each year. ABC

The population of the critically endangered Saiga antelope in Kazakhstan has more than doubled to 842,000 since 2019. It’s a massive rebound for a species that made international headlines in 2015 after 200,000 animals died from a nasal bacterium spread in unusually warm weather. France24

The Florida panther has rebounded from a population of 20 to 200 in three decades. The long road to recovery began in 1995 with legislation for a genetic restoration plan, and just received another big boost from lawmakers with $100 million for land conversation and to build highway underpasses along migration corridors. NPR

1st May 2021 - 21st May 2021

A new paper in The Lancet has shown that de-worming initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa in the last two decades have resulted in a significant decline in cases among children, from 44% in 2000 to 13% in 2018. This is a huge win for one of the world's most underrated public health problems, improving the lives of millions of people and driving economic development.

Japan will be smoke-free within the next decade, following the announcement by tobacco giant Phillip Morris that it will phase-out conventional cigarettes. That's a pretty big deal for a country that has until very recently been considered a ‘smoker’s paradise’ and an outlier among OECD nations for cigarette use. Channel News Asia

A massive, bipartisan clean water infrastructure bill has been approved 89-2 by the US Senate. The legislation will improve water quality, remove lead pipes from schools, and update infrastructure for the impacts of extreme weather and climate change. 40% of the funds will target underserved, rural, and tribal communities.  Grist

Stunting is when a child is too short for their age, and is one of the most important indicators of chronic or recurrent malnutrition. According to new data from the WHO, between 2010 and 2020, the prevalence of stunting in children under 5 fell from 27.7% to 22%. That means there are now around 30 million fewer children affected compared to a decade ago. Progress is slow, and it almost never makes headlines.

Another step forward for transgender rights in America with Utah's Supreme Court overturning a district judge’s decision to deny two transgender people the right to change their birth certificates. The ruling comes after a three year deliberation and creates an important precedent not just for the state, but the country as a whole. LGTBQ Nation

Earlier this year, Colombia granted millions of Venezuelan refugees legal status, allowing them to work and access healthcare and education. Three months later, the government has spent $187 million on providing migrant healthcare, and about half a million migrant children are attending public schools. "We gave Venezuelan migrants a license to dream." BBC

There's been so much good news on the clean energy front in the past few weeks, we don't even know where to start. Let's kick off with "oil and gas are now junk investments" according to some head-in-the-clouds, granola loving climate activist, oh wait it's *checks notes* the head of the International Energy Agency, Faith Birol. Sky News

The IEA's new Net Zero by 2050 report says that, after 250 years, humanity should now stop exploring for oil, gas, and coal. It's arguably as big a moment as the Paris Agreement; in one stroke, it completely wipes out the fossil fuel industry's last remaining justifications for new capacity. People throw around the word 'turning point' a lot but this really is one. New Yorker

The hits keep on coming. The IEA says last year's record surge in renewables is the 'new normal', and that 90% of all new energy built in 2021 and 2022 will be clean. Keep in mind, this is from an organization that was founded explicitly to promote coal, oil and gas. Welcome to an energy revolution driven not by altruism, or politics, but by the cold-blooded logic of the marketplace. Independent

Another crunchy greenie, Ben van Beurden, the CEO of Shell, has just announced that half of the oil giant's energy mix will be clean somewhere in the next decade. HALF. “If we do not make that type of process by the middle of this decade, we have a problem not just as a company but as a society." Bloody hippy. Bloomberg

The Sines coal plant in Portugal has been shut down nine years ahead of schedule, reducing the country’s carbon emissions by 12%. A second and final plant is due to close in November which will make Portugal the fourth European country to eliminate coal, following in the footsteps of Belgium (2016), Austria (2020) and Sweden (2020). Beyond Coal

The US EPA has proposed a new rule that will phase-out the production and use of HFCs by 85% over the next 15 years, saving nearly $284 billion and preventing the equivalent of 187 million tons of CO2 emissions, roughly equal to the annual emissions of one in seven vehicles registered in the United States. AP

Electric car sales boomed by 40% in 2020, with Europe officially overtaking China, spurred on by subsidies and tighter fuel standards. Growth looks set to continue, with sales in the first quarter of 2021 more than doubling from the same period in 2020. There are now around 10 million EVs on the world's roads, plus about another one million vans, trucks and buses.  Independent

Ford has unveiled its new electric pickup truck, the F-150 Lightning. Its petrol-powered counterpart, the F-150, is the biggest selling pickup truck in the United States. This thing is aimed squarely at the same customers. 360 km of range, 3.5 tonnes of towing capacity, 11 charging ports for your power tools, three days of backup electricity you can plug into your house. Price? $40,000. Verge

Animal rights activists in the UK have won a major victory with a landmark reform that legally recognizes animals as sentient beings. A range of new government measures will ban most live animal exports, the importation of hunting trophies like ivory and shark fins, and target puppy theft. The government has also pledged to uphold animal welfare in future trade deals. Guardian

A philanthropist in South Carolina has gifted 7,500 acres of highlands to conservation groups in the largest private land donation in the state’s history. The area is home to numerous threatened and endangered plant and animal species and includes the largest American Chestnut restoration project in the country. ABC13

Lawmakers in Florida have put their money where their mouth is, committing $100 million to preserve environmentally sensitive lands after passing legislation to preserve the migration paths for animals like the endangered Florida panther. It is the state's most significant spending on land conservation since 2014. WUSF

A major clean-up of New Zealand’s Kaipara Harbour begins this month, with community groups, landowners and local government working together to restore the water health of the 602,000 hectare catchment. 20 million native trees will be planted around the erosion-prone land to stop sediment running into the harbour. RNZ

Government incentives for pesticide free, wildlife-friendly farming in the UK have helped save Britain’s rarest butterfly, the Duke of Burgundy, from near extinction. The population has soared by 25% over the past decade with one of the largest colonies found on an organic dairy farm in Dorset. Guardian

The US government has ramped up its protection of endangered humpback whales, declaring 300,000 km² of the Pacific Ocean as critical habitat. It’s a big win for conservationists who sued the federal government in 2018 over its failure to designate protected areas, which are proven to double the chance of species’ recovery. WAN

A crackdown on rhino poaching in South Africa, Namibia, Kenya and Zimbabwe has paid off with the number of rhinos poached dropping by 1,319 between 2015-2020. The sharp decline is thanks to tougher legislation, enforcement, and more sophisticated investigations. Conservationists have also switched tactics, empowering communities to become rhino custodians. Geographical

The population of Vietnam’s critically endangered monkey, the Delacour’s Langur, has quadrupled in the past 20 years thanks to the combined efforts of a German primatologist and local communities. Their collaboration resulted in the Van Long Nature Reserve established in 2001 to prevent habitat loss and poaching. Mongabay

Since 2010, almost 21 million km2 has been added to the world’s network of national parks and conservation areas, an area greater than the land mass of Russia. That means about 17% of land and inland water ecosystems and 8% of marine areas are now within formal protected areas, with the total coverage increasing by 42% in the last decade. Protected Planet

10th April 2021 - 30th April 2021

The Gambia has become the third African country to eliminate trachoma. It's an extraordinary achievement: in the mid-1980s, trachoma was responsible for almost 1 out of 5 cases of blindness. Behind it lies three decades of hard work by community volunteers, who played a crucial role in raising awareness and promoting behaviour change. Read their stories here.

After nearly a century, an effective malaria vaccine may finally be within reach after trials of a vaccine from Oxford recorded 77% efficacy in 450 children in Burkina Faso. Larger trials are now underway - if the vaccine gets through those, it will represent one of the biggest public health breakthroughs of all time. Guardian

Afghanistan has passed a new law that will, for the first time, include mothers’ names on their children’s birth certificates and ID cards. It's a major victory for women’s rights activists, who for several years have campaigned for both parents to be named under the social media hashtag #WhereIsMyName. It's especially significant for women who are widowed, divorced, separated, or dealing with abusive partners. HRW

The participation of women in the labour force in Saudi Arabia has surged by 64% in the last two years, thanks to recent reforms allowing women to drive, and changes to labour laws. Reminder - equal access to employment opportunities is one of the most important drivers for progress in human rights. Brookings

Nigeria has kicked off its largest electrification project ever, with an ambitious initiative that will give 25 million Nigerians access to cheap solar power. Access to affordable energy is a big part of the government’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan. The rollout will begin with communities who are off the national power grid and eventually cover all 36 states. ESI

Ethiopia’s rapid economic growth over the past 15 years has resulted in poverty declining from 39% in 2004 to 19% in 2020. Growth has come from the transition from an agriculture-led to a service-led economy (services overtook agriculture in GDP in 2016) and the government is now targeting a poverty rate of 7% by 2030. IFS

A school feeding program in Venezuela has started providing daily meals to 185,000 children in areas where food shortages are most severe. The program is a major step forward in tackling increasing malnutrition rates and there are plans to expand the operation to reach 1.5 million students over the next two years. Reuters

The US government has launched the most ambitious food assistance program in the country's history to help the 25 million Americans who don’t have enough to eat. The campaign has increased food stamps by more than $1 billion a month and has expanded the produce allowance for pregnant women and children. NYT

Prostitution will no longer be prosecuted in Manhattan and thousands of cases, dating back decades, may also be dismissed. The reform is part of a growing national movement to change how the criminal justice system deals with sex workers. NYT

New Mexico has become the 16th US state to legalize recreational marijuana with retail sales to begin by April 2022. A legal cannabis industry could spawn a $318 million market and create over 11,000 jobs for one of America's poorer states. The reform will also clear the record for many people with past marijuana convictions. BI

Investors are fleeing from fossil fuels, with the value of share offerings in coal, oil and gas companies plummeting by $123 billion in the last decade. Clean energy IPOs also overtook carbon-heavy flotations for the first time in 2020 with renewables raising a record $11 billion from public equity offerings. Carbon Tracker

Big news from Europe: Poland, the continent's last major holdout on coal, has announced an agreement between the government and unions to phase out coal production by 2049. That's the first time the country's powerful mining sector has agreed to reduce its presence, finally admitting that the writing is now on the wall. DW

Electric cars in Germany, Europe’s largest auto market and the fourth largest in the world, accounted for 13.5% of sales last year - a significant jump from 2019’s overall share of 3%. With Volkswagen's ID.4 now rolling off the production lines, analysts expect that share to climb to over 25% by the end of 2021. Clean Technica

The Biden administration has become the last of the big carbon emitters to ramp up its climate goals, with a game-changing commitment to halving carbon emissions by 2030. This is a huge deal, kickstarting a decade of transformative industrial change. Here's what we're looking at over the next ten years. NYT

⚡ >50% of electricity from renewable energy (+20% from today).
💨 CO2 released from new natural gas plants to be captured and buried.
🛑 All 200 remaining coal plants shut down.
🚙 2/3 of new cars and SUVs sold to be battery-powered (+97% from today).
🏢 All new buildings heated by electricity instead of natural gas.
🏗 Cement, steel, and chemical industries adopting strict new energy-efficiency targets.
🛢 Oil and gas producers slashing methane emissions by 60%.
🌲 Expanding regenerative forestry and agricultural practices to pull 20% more CO2 from the air than today.

An inspiring collaboration in British Colombia between an Indigenous community, lawmakers and a mining company has permanently saved the eastern slopes of Mount Edziza from mining development. The agreement closes the book on any industrial activity in the area which is of great ecological and cultural importance. Narwhal

After nearly 20 years of negotiations, the Peruvian government has established the 10,000 km² Yavarí Tapiche Reserve for uncontacted peoples deep in the Amazon rainforest. “This constitutes a historic milestone in the protection of the rights of Indigenous peoples in a situation of isolation and initial contact.” Mongabay

The Australian government has committed $100 million to ocean conservation, in an effort to protect ‘blue carbon’ environments. The funding will go towards ocean management and methods to draw down carbon with seagrass and mangroves. An additional $11.6m will be spent to establish nine Indigenous protected areas in sea country. West Australian

Conservationists have banded together to save one of the world’s most pristine rainforests from deforestation, purchasing a 950 km2 biodiversity hotspot and wildlife corridor at the intersection of Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. The corridor secures the largest contiguous block of forest in Central America, home to five species of wild cat (jaguars, margay, ocelot, jaguarundi and puma), spider monkeys, howler monkeys and hundreds of bird species. The Nature Conservancy

Good news for turtles in North Cyprus with nest counts of green turtles increasing by 162% and loggerhead turtles by 46% since 1993. Local conservation efforts began in 1983, with volunteers and scientists working tirelessly every nesting season to keep the nests safe from local predators and plastic waste. Mongabay

A four-year seagrass restoration project in the UK is now underway, hoping to turn the tide for local ecosystems impacted by pollution and dredging. The scheme will plant eight hectares of biodiverse-rich seagrass meadows off the south coast, providing safe habitat for an estimated 160,000 fish, including seahorses, and 200 million invertebrates. Positive News

Lehua Island in Hawaii and Redonda Isle in the Caribbean are both rodent-free after years of conservation efforts. Rats threatened wildlife and endangered species on both islands, but since their removal, signs of recovery to ecosystems, vegetation and wildlife populations have been almost immediate.

20th March 2021 - 9th April 2021

Côte d'Ivoire has become the second African country to successfully eliminate sleeping sickness. The public health milestone comes after 20 years of targeted screening and treatment programs in remote rural communities. Annual cases have decreased by more than 90% since the 1990s and the country will now shift focus to maintenance and keeping the disease out. WHO

There was a 50% decline in global cases of Guinea Worm in 2020, and a 20% decrease in animal infections. It's thanks to local communities who have monitored infections and protected water sources from contamination. 199 countries have now been certified as completely free of the disease. Carter Centre

Liberia has become the first African country to introduce the typhoid conjugate vaccine. More than 1.9 million children will receive the vaccine over the next few weeks, and once the campaign is done, the country will begin regular immunizations for all children at the age of 9 months. Coalition Against Typhoid

Kazakhstan is officially nuclear free, after scientists ground down the last 2.9 kilograms of highly enriched uranium, rendering it useless for bomb-making. The historic moment comes after 30 years of denuclearization, and remains one of the least celebrated, yet most successful examples of post-Cold War diplomacy. Atlantic

Suicides in the United States decreased by 5.6% in 2020, easing fears that lockdowns would drive the rate up. It's the third consecutive year that suicide rates have declined, amidst growing awareness of mental health problems, and an expanding range of support and crisis intervention services. Washington Post

France has taken a major step forward in protecting children against sexual abuse by setting the minimum age of sexual consent at 15. The new legislation follows years of campaigning by abuse survivors to bring France’s consent laws in line with most other western countries. Sex with minors under 15 will now be punishable by up to 20 years in prison. France24

Low-level, non-violent crimes will no longer be prosecuted in Baltimore. The city temporarily suspended prosecution of drug possession, prostitution and misdemeanours to limit the spread of COVID-19 in jail, but after recording a 36% drop in property crimes, a 20% decline in violent crimes and a 39% decrease in the people entering the criminal justice system, officials have made the measures permanent. NBC

New York has become the 15th US state to legalize recreational marijuana. The state will immediately start expunging the criminal records of individuals with past marijuana-related convictions, and law enforcement in the state won’t be able to arrest or prosecute individuals for possession of marijuana up to three ounces. NBC

A year after passing its historic law to decriminalize abortion, New Zealand has passed legislation for paid bereavement for miscarriage. The new bill gives women and their partners time to come to terms with their loss without having to tap into sick leave and will also apply to parents planning to have a child through adoption or surrogacy. ABC

Canada is on track to halve domestic poverty by 2030. Thanks to strong public policy, rates of both poverty and income inequality have fallen consistently since 2015, and the number of children below the poverty line has plummeted from 1.1 million to 680,000. Although the pandemic caused major economic disruption, government interventions have helped continue the downward trend. The Tyee

Economic growth and fossil fuels go hand in hand right? Maybe not. Since 2005, 32 countries with populations of over one million people have decoupled emissions from GDP, both for terrestrial emissions (within national borders) and consumption emissions (goods consumed in a country). Breakthrough

In a massive turnaround, Saudi Arabia, one of the world's leading oil producers, has pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 60%, increase the percentage of protected land to more than 30%, and plant 50 billion trees as part of the world’s biggest afforestation project. Arab News

The Biden Administration has designated a vast swathe of ocean between Long Island and the New Jersey coast as an offshore wind energy zone, in a move that will create over 6,000 permanent jobs. The government has set a target to create 30 GW of wind turbines along both coasts, capable of powering enough electricity for 10 million American homes for a year. NPR

Massachusetts has passed one of America’s most ambitious climate bills, outlining a clear path to net-zero by 2050. The Bay State will add gigawatts of offshore wind power, require cities and towns to adopt a net-zero building code, and set targets for electric vehicles, charging stations, and energy storage. The new law also codifies environmental justice policy, which to this point has been limited to executive orders and other regulatory decisions. Ars Technica

Thanks to progressive policies over the past 24 years, California has clocked up a 78% reduction in diesel particulate pollution, the toxic black stuff from car exhausts. Cleaner air has benefited public health, with 82% fewer deaths from heart and lung disease. Amazing progress, especially considering that California has more cars than any other state as well as the USA's two largest ports. Gizmodo

The US EPA is taking a tough new stance on approving new chemicals, bringing requirements into line with the Toxic Substances Control Act. Environmental groups have welcomed the changes. “By taking this step, EPA will reverse the illegal and unprotective approach the prior administration applied to hundreds of new chemicals over the last several years.

The Mi’kmaq First Nations people of Nova Scotia have reclaimed their native fishing rights after becoming majority owners in one of the largest seafood businesses in North America. The landmark deal is part of a growing movement of indigenous people regaining control of their traditional food ways to restore the crucial marine and land habitats that have nourished their tribes for centuries.

A federal court in Alaska has rejected approval for offshore oil and gas activities due to potential noise pollution that would cause harm to the critically endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales. The court ruled that National Marine Fisheries Service failed to consider the direct impact when it approved activity in the area. WAN

In a quiet victory for animal welfare, 70 million hens have been raised cage-free in America over the past six years, as the use of battery cages rapidly declines. For over 15 years advocates have tirelessly campaigned against the inhumane practice, successfully shifting legislation and consumer trends. Progress continues, with Utah recently becoming the eighth state to ban battery cages. Vox

Animal rights activists are celebrating four wins in 48 hours with US federal rulings against trophy hunting, state-funded wildlife killing experiments, cage confinement, and a historic ban on fur. The victories come after decades of advocacy and reflect a turning tide against animal cruelty. Humane Society

The endangered Californian condor is returning to its home skies after nearly a century thanks to the efforts of the Yurok Tribe. After a decade of petitioning, the tribe has commenced building an approved captive breeding facility, with the first condors expected to arrive later this year. It follows the success of reintroduction programs in south and central California that have seen the free flying population increase to over 300 in the past 40 years. Guardian

The bald eagle has quadrupled its population in the past decade with more than 300,000 birds soaring across American skies. The recovery is a testament to the relentless work of scientists and conservationists who fought to ban pesticides and put the eagle on the endangered species list in 40 states. AP

In response to a decade of work by conservationists, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has set aside 593 km of rivers in Virgina and West Virgina as protected habitat for the candy darter (a small, brightly colored fish) and 510 km in North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland for the yellow lance freshwater mussel.

The coronavirus pandemic has been great for whales. Not only did it help end commercial hunting, it also reduced underwater noise pollution, leaving whales free to communicate with one another and locate food without interruption. Ocean scientists are racing to collect data and hope this rare silence gives whales a chance to return to their natural behaviours and have more complex conversations. NBC

13th March 2021 - 19th March 2021

Mexican women with disabilities will have equal access to protection from domestic violence after the Senate amended the current law to include disability as one of the elements courts must assess when granting protection. The reform is a crucial step forward for women with disabilities who are disproportionately impacted by domestic violence. OWP

A court in Pakistan has abolished the outdated practice of virginity tests on rape victims after human rights activists filed a lawsuit in the eastern city of Lahore. Activists have called it “landmark judgment” against a “demeaning and absurd” practice that will help improve the investigative and judicial process for victims of sexual violence. The judgement could also pave the way for further bans of the practice in other areas of Pakistan. NYT (right click and open in 'incognito mode')

Lebanon has criminalized sexual harassment with a landmark law that penalizes perpetrators with four years in prison and up to 50 times the minimum wage. The new law expands the definition of sexual harassment to any recurring bad behaviour that is out of the ordinary, unwanted by the victimand includes electronic harassment. It’s hoped the harsher penalties will serve as a deterrent and lead to broader cultural change. JPost

A court in Japan, the only G7 nation that still doesn't recognize gay marriage, has boosted the campaign to legalize it, after deciding it was ‘unconstitutional’ to deny same-sex couples the right to wed. Judges ruled the government's lack of recognition for three same-sex couples suing for psychological harm was in breach of a section of the constitution that requires equal laws for everyone. Guardian

Nine girls, aged between 7-14, have made legal history in Ecuador after suing the government over the pollution and climate impacts of oil industry flaring in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The court ruled in favour of the girls, who demanded an immediate end to all gas flares in their villages. The judges also noted that eliminating flaring would cut Ecuador’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 24%. Mongabay

It's official. Renewable energy generated more electricity than fossil fuels in Europe in 2020. Investments into solar and wind resulted in renewables accounting for 38% of the continent's electricity, taking a narrow lead over fossil fuels which generated 37%. This is incredible progress; a decade ago, renewables accounted for just over 20% of electricity. Forbes

Four big financial blows to coal this week. Swiss Re closed a major loophole in the reinsurance market, announcing the end of support for thermal coal by 2040; Citigroup became the first major US bank to rule out supporting plans for coal plant expansions by new clients; French insurance giant Axa will end its insurance policies with the German utility RWE; and HSBC will allow a resolution on exiting thermal coal to be put to shareholders at its forthcoming annual general meeting.

The IEA - arguably the most conservative energy body in the world - says that the global demand for gasoline has peaked, and is unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels as efficiency gains and the shift to electric vehicles eclipse mobility growth in the developing world. Their forecast predicts that 60 million electric vehicles will be on roads by 2026, compared with 7.2 million in 2019. WSJ

Electric shockwaves continue to roil automakers around the world. This week, there were announcements from both Audi and Daimler-Mercedes that they will cease development of new combustion engines and adapt their existing engines to meet the EU’s strict emission guidelines. “In terms of products, there is no longer any rational reason to opt for a combustion engine in the near future”.

Thanks to an update by the EPA, coal plants in 12 US states will be required to reduce their nitrogen oxide emissions, a major component of smog. It’s a big win for millions of people in downwind states exposed to dangerous air pollution blowing across their boundaries from upwind coal-fired power plants. The ruling is effective immediately. EDF

The Magpie River in Canada has been declared a living entity and granted legal rights after local environmental groups campaigned for permanent protection. 14 countries now have rivers and ecosystems have won protection with 'nature rights.' The growing global movement challenges the way western legal systems treat nature as property and is being implemented through laws, judicial decisions, constitutional amendments and United Nations resolutions. Reuters

Virginia has become the fourth state in America to ban cosmetic animal testing and the sale of animal-tested cosmetics. California, Nevada and Illinois have also signed the Humane Cosmetics Act and hope to reintroduce federal legislation to make the ban standard across the country. 40 countries have now passed laws prohibiting or limiting cosmetic animal testing. Totally Vegan Buzz

6th March 2021 - 12th March 2021

Hungary will close its last coal plant in 2025, halving the time of its original plan to reach 90% carbon neutral electricity generation by 2030. The Matra power plant site will transition to a solar farm, replacing coal jobs with new opportunities for workers, who will also receive support from the EU’s transition fund. Seven European countries now have coal free 2025 targets.  Euractiv

The Canadian government has committed $2.75 billion to help public transit and school buses transition to electric power over the next five years. It’s part of the government’s progressive plan to tackle climate change while creating new jobs in Canada’s growing electric van manufacturing industry. Funds will also be provided for the installation of new charging stations for zero-emission vehicles. Electrek

Infant mortality rates in the Philippines have dropped by 80% since the 1950s and are continuing to decline thanks to new regulations that allow hospital births to include traditional birth practices crucial to Filipino culture. Women who give birth in hospital can choose to have a traditional birth attendant help with delivery while also having access to necessary medicine. Borgen

Egypt used to have one of the highest hepatitis C burdens in the world - in 2015 it accounted for 40,000 deaths per year, 7.6% of all deaths—and depressed national GDP growth by 1.5%. Three years ago, the government started a huge public health effort, screening 67 million people, and providing free treatment for two million. It worked. This year the hepatitis C burden has fallen to 2%, and public health officials say they are on track to eliminate it altogether. Egypt Today

Australian researchers have found that the annual rates of new cases of adults diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is stable or falling in Australia, Europe, the United States, and a number of high income countries in Asia. The study is the first to focus on diabetes incidence, the number of people who develop type 2 diabetes each year rather than total number of people who suffer from the disease at any given time. Baker

A new study has shown that cancer deaths in Europe have plummeted in the last three decades. Compared to the peak mortality rate, recorded in 1988, 4.9 million cancer deaths will have been averted in the EU and over one million in the UK by the end of 2021. Predicted death rate declines between 2015 and 2021 include:
- 7.8% decline for breast cancer
- 4.8% decline for colorectal cancer in men and a 9.6% decline in women
- 8.7% decline for prostate cancer
- 3.5% decline for uterine cancer
- 8.9% decline for ovarian cancer
- 14.1% decline for stomach cancer in men and a 16.3% decline in women.

China has doubled the number of wild animals protected under its conservation rules, imposing hefty fines on the trading and consumption of 500 species, including many birds and wolves. It comes after 30 years of Chinese environmental groups fighting for animals to be added to the protected list. It’s hoped the ban will also help combat global trafficking of wild animals. Eco Business

An undercover investigation by a non-profit media organization has forced South Korea's largest dog meat auction house to close. The closure follows a wider crackdown on dog meat farming across the country, with advocates now calling for an amendment to the country’s Animal Protection Act that would permanently ban all slaughtering and processing of dogs for food. World Animal News

A federal judge has banned future oil and gas development in Ohio’s Wayne National Forest. It’s a big win for conservation groups who fought a three year legal battle to protect the 40,000 acres of Ohio’s only national park. It’s a trend that looks set to continue  after President Biden’s recent moratorium on new oil and gas leasing on federal public lands. Biological Diversity

Nothing restores a river or a local economy like removing a dam. River restoration practitioners in America worked around challenging COVID restrictions to remove 69 dams across 23 states in 2020, reconnecting over a 1,000 km of river for fish and wildlife and revitalizing local economies. American Rivers

An Alaskan archipelago dubbed the "Rat Islands" have become a shining example of how quickly nature can bounce back. 18th century shipwrecks introduced rats to the islands, almost destroying their fauna and flora, but in 2008 conservationists started a removal program on one of them, Hawadax Island, and within 11 years the ecosystem had fully recovered. "We were surprised that the level of recovery unfolded so quickly -- we thought it would be longer." Science Daily

27th February 2021 - 5th March 2021

El Salvador has become the first country in Central America to be certified malaria-free. It's a fantastic achievement, given the country's dense population and a geography that's especially hospitable to the disease. Globally, 38 countries have now reached this milestone, with El Salvador the third country in the Americas, following Argentina in 2019 and Paraguay in 2018. Global Fund

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, public health experts warned that malaria deaths in Africa could double. They were wrong. Instead, around 160 million nets were distributed door-to-door in 2020, over 90% of planned distribution, and more children received antimalarial medicines than in any other year in history. Naturally, this incredible story has received blanket coverage from the world's media. Devex

China has banned schoolteachers from giving out any punishment that can result in physical or mental trauma, after a wave of complaints about student deaths linked to harsh discipline in schools. A new law prohibiting corporal punishment at home is also due to be taken up by China's top legislative body, the National People's Congress, as it meets this week. Channel News Asia

The Biden administration has racked up more wins for the LGBT community during its first month in office than any other has accomplished in an entire term. In addition to a series of historic executive orders and amendments to combat discrimination, 11% of the administration identify as LGBT, some in very senior positions. This is genuine progress - consider that 50 years ago, LGBT people were barred from serving in the federal government. Philadelphia Gay News

Morocco is on the cusp of legalizing medical marijuana, after the PJD party, the largest in parliament, dropped opposition in the wake of the UN's decision last year to remove cannabis from its most tightly controlled category of drugs. The move aims to improve farmers’ incomes, protect them from drug traffickers, and gain access to the booming legal international market for the drug. Reuters

Climate activists have forced Drax, one of the UKs biggest coal plant operators, to ditch its plan to build Europe’s largest gas power plant. It comes after three years of fierce opposition from environmental groups who claimed the project was incompatible with the UK’s climate change laws. The company has also promised to end the commercial sales of coal-fired electricity from next month. Guardian

Beyond Meats has signed an agreement with McDonald’s, the largest fast food company in the world, to develop a plant-based burger, as well as options for chicken, pork and egg. This is by far the biggest market signal yet for plant-based meats. “When these restaurant chains move, the entire food industry takes notice." New Food Magazine

Speaking of market signals... this week it's Volvo joining the growing list of manufacturers racing to switch to zero-emission models, with an announcement that its entire car line-up will be fully electric by 2030. After previously committing to half of sales becoming electric by 2025, Volvo has now accelerated its strategy to line up with the UK’s 2030 ban on internal combustion engine sales. Reuters

One more signal, just for luck. Petaluma, California has become the first city in the United States to ban all new petrol stations in an effort to curb carbon emissions. The city council voted unanimously this week to prohibit the creation, expansion, reconstruction and relocation of gas stations, encouraging owners to transition to electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles instead. San Francisco Chronicle

The Maldives has kicked off the first phase of an ambitious plan to completely eliminate single-use plastics by 2023, with an import ban on plastic bags, straws, foam lunch boxes, cotton swabs, and small toiletry bottles coming into effect this June. It’s hoped the measure will negate plastic's harmful and unnecessary impact on the Maldives’ vulnerable marine environment. Raajje

Off the coast of Puglia, Italy, a marine reserve called Torre Guaceto has achieved such spectacular success in restoring degraded fish populations that fishermen in nearby towns have started pleading with authorities to enlarge its borders. This amazing story, of how one small stretch of coastline went from a hotbed of drug smuggling to a model of ecological restoration, shows what's possible when nature is given just a tiny bit of space to breathe. Do yourself a favour and read it. Yes

20th February 2021 - 26th February 2021

In China, coal-fired power plants fell to less than half the country's total power capacity last year, and look set to fall by a further 3% in 2021. This is big news. China is the world's largest emitter of carbon and by far the largest producer and consumer of coal. Meanwhile, 61.7% of new energy investments were spent on wind, solar and biomass, 20.5% on hydro and 7.2% on nuclear. SCMP

In the United States, the world's second largest emitter of carbon, renewable energy generated one-fifth of all electricity in 2020. After a record year for installations of both wind and solar,  zero-carbon energy sources, which also include hydro and nuclear, now make up 40% of the country's total electricity mix. Greentech

Bangladesh, which until recently had one of the largest coal pipelines in the world, has scrapped nine more coal plants, with a combined capacity of almost 8GW.  The decision was driven by a combination of rising costs, worries about the country's future reliance on imported coal and growing public opposition to the health impacts of pollution. Daily Sun

Australia's 3rd biggest bank, ANZ, has pulled out of funding the Port of Newcastle, the world's largest thermal coal terminal. The bank said the investment was too risky and is worried it could become a stranded asset as global decarbonization gathers speed. In news that must really delight their shareholders, Australia's 4th biggest bank, NAB, has agreed to step in to make up the financing gap. Guardian

Uttarakhand has become the first state in India to grant women co-ownership of land, which has traditionally transferred down patriarchal lines. The landmark amendment gives wives and daughters equal access, and overnight, will affect over 350,000 women across the state. It’s hoped other states will now take action too, after what activists are calling a “historic decision". Times of India

A group of workers in Ecuador have also made legal history, after winning the country’s first case against modern-day slavery. After 50 years of labour exploitation, Afro-Ecuadorian workers decided to take action against their powerful agro-industrial employer. The judge ruled in their favour, ordering compensation and a full apology on the company’s website and in local media, detailing every worker by name. Reuters

This story is a little close to the and now finally segment you usually get at the end of the evening news, but we're including it anyway because it's awesome. Two years after girls in the United States were allowed into the Boy Scouts, almost 1,000 have achieved the top rank of Eagle Scout, a grade that only 6% of Scouts ever make. Dyb dyb dob. CBS

The infant mortality rate declined again in Ghana in 2020, to 32.80 per 1,000 live births. A decade ago, it was 49.42 per 1,000 live births, a decline of around 40% in just ten years. Maternal mortality and under 5 mortality rates declined last year too, thanks in part to the country's universal health coverage, which exempts pregnant women from paying health insurance premiums. Keoma

In Malaysia, lawmakers have passed new legislation mandating that drug addicts should be sent to rehabilitation rather than jail. The change of approach is part of the government’s long-term plan to "put science and public health before punishment and incarceration” by giving addicts a second chance and helping them to reintegrate back into the community. Free Malaysia

In New Jersey, a new law legalizing marijuana will change the way police interact with underage offenders, especially in minority communities where drug laws have been disproportionately enforced.  Instead of facing criminal charges, people under the age of 21 will now be issued a series of warnings, with a third offense resulting in counselling or community service. Law & Crime

Virginia's lawmakers have approved legislation to abolish the death penalty, moving it a step closer to becoming the 23rd state to ban capital punishment and the first southern state to outlaw the practice. That's a massive turnaround for the state with the highest execution rate in America. Governor Ralph Northam is waiting to sign it into law. "It's time we stop this machinery of death." CNN

Rhino poaching in South Africa dropped by 33% last year, the sixth straight year of declines, and the lowest overall number since 2010.  The dramatic decline was partially due to COVID-19 restrictions, but also to ten years of targeted government strategy and the cooperation of different states and countries in sharing information about wildlife trafficking. The South African

Thanks to decades of conservation work, the population of European bison has tripled in the last 17 years, from only 1,800 in 2003 to 6,200 today. That means it is no longer on the vulnerable species list. Conservationists praised local communities for their support in rewilding these animals back to land. “Only by working together can we ensure the progress made in the last 70 years will not decline, but that we will witness a change for the better.” CGTN

13th February 2021 - 19th February 2021

Another week, another flurry of announcements on electric vehicles. Jaguar says it will stop selling internal combustion engines within the next five years, Land Rover will offer electric version of its vehicles from 2024, and the really big one - Ford will sell only EVs in the United Kingdom and Europe from 2030. That's the largest carmaker yet to pledge all-electric sales in Europe. Reuters

Massive announcement from Maersk, the world's largest shipping line. From 2023, all vessels will be required to use carbon-neutral fuels, such as clean methanol and ammonia “If we don’t do this, ten years from now we risk becoming irrelevant.” This is seven years ahead of their original goal, and places serious pressure on other companies to follow suit. Lloyds List

Colombia has granted legal status to almost two million Venezuelan refugees. The bold humanitarian gesture, made by President Iván Duque last week, gives them temporary protected status for ten years, allowing émigrés to work and access public services such as health and education. In a world where nationalist sentiments have all too often been stoked against refugees and migrants, it's a remarkable example of leadership. Smart economic move too. UNHCR

Russia and the United States have agreed to patrol together to enforce a new maritime pollution agreement in the waters of the Bering Sea. Officially, relations between the two countries are at their worst in more than thirty years; the Arctic though, has a long history of fostering international cooperation, and officials aren't letting geopolitical tensions get in the way. Arctic Today

The American Cancer Society says death rates have fallen again. Its latest figures show a 2.4% decline from 2017 to 2018 – the largest one-year drop ever. Longer term, there's been a 31% fall in mortality rates between 1991 and 2018, translating to almost 3.2 million fewer deaths had rates remained at their peak. Its mostly thanks to declines in the four most common cancers: lung, colorectal, breast, and prostate.

A new study in Denmark has found that less people over the age of 70 are having fewer strokes and fewer people of all ages are dying from the disease. It’s good news for global health; strokes are one of the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. Researchers say the decrease is due to improvements in stroke awareness and a drop in smoking rates. Science Daily

A new law decriminalizing same-sex relations has gone into effect in Angola. It overturns a criminal code that had been in place for 134 years, from when the country was still a colony. Activists have heralded it as “a great step forward” in the fight against state-sponsored discrimination against the LGBTQIA+ community in southern Africa. Sahara Reporters

Centuries after they were stolen, the ancestral lands of the American Indian Community in Minneapolis, which includes the site of the U.S. Dakota War in 1862, has been returned to them. Tribal Council members hope it marks the beginning of more efforts to reclaim traditional homelands of Indigenous people. “We are trying to heal ourselves and also we are trying to come back and try to nurture the land and heal the land as well.” CBS Local

People power in Canada has forced the Alberta government to reinstate the 1976 Coal Policy that it revoked last year. The plan had opened up the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains to open-pit coal mining, but after sustained opposition from conservationists, country music stars and both rural and urban communities, the government has been forced to do an about-face.  The Narwhal

China, the most populated country in the world, registered almost two million less births last year, compared to 2019. This is excellent news for the environment; fewer people means less consumption and less pressure on ecosystems. It's part of a longer term trend too - China's population is now on track to peak by as soon as 2027. CNN

Air pollution is falling across a vast swathe of 15 countries in Africa, from Senegal in the west to South Sudan in the east. It's the result of rapid urbanization and economic development, leading to a significant decrease in fires traditionally used for land management. “As middle and low-income countries grow you often see more emissions. It’s nice to see a decline occurring when you’d expect to see pollution increasing.” NYT

The Mississippi River is the cleanest it's been in more than a century. Recent testing reported a sharp drop in bacteria, most of which stemmed from human and animal waste, with levels at 1% of what they were before the 1980s. Most of the credit goes to the landmark 1972 Clean Water Act, which forced industries to be accountable for waste discharge and banned the disposal of sewage into rivers and creeks. Regulation huh? Who would have thought. Nola

If the state of the world keeps you up at night, you can rest a little easier knowing the ozone layer is recovering faster than previously thought. Between 2012-2017 it looked certain to be delayed when a mysterious increase of an ozone-depleting gas called CFC-11 was traced back to China. But thanks to the country's quick response in reducing those emissions, scientists say the ozone layer is now back on track to heal to pre-1980s levels within the next 50 years. ABC

America has created its 63rd national park: New River Gorge, in southern West Virginia. The new park, covering 72,000 acres of land, and flanking 53 miles of the gorge, now has the same status as iconic places such as Yosemite and Yellowstone. It's the result of a multigenerational effort, started in the mid-twentieth century, to transform a tired industrial area into a national landmark. NYT

6th February 2021 - 12th February 2021

Shell has joined BP in saying the world has reached peak oil. Europe's biggest oil producer quietly admitted in a recent statement that its total oil production peaked in 2019 and will now drop by 1 or 2 percent annually. It's the clearest signal yet from a major oil company that we've reached the beginning of the end of the fossil fuels era. NYT

A long-standing tradition of slavery has been officially banned in Southern India. The custom, known as bitti chakri, has forced lower-caste groups into unpaid labour in upper-caste homes for centuries. It’s a big win for anti-slavery advocates, who have been campaigning on this issue for years. They’re not finished either, vowing to lobby government until they see real change inside communities and not just on paper. Reuters

More help, less handcuffs. The US city of Denver is reporting early success with a program that replaces armed police officers with healthcare workers for non-violent incidents. Since June 2020, a mental health clinician and a paramedic have responded to 748 calls without the need for police intervention or any arrests. Organisers are now working with other cities to export the model. Denverite

Some great news from our own backyard. A bill banning LGBTQI+ conversion therapy has passed Victoria's Upper House. That means it is now illegal to try to change or suppress a person's sexual orientation or gender identity in our state. Following similar reforms around conversion therapy in Queensland and the ACT, it's another important step in the fight for tolerance and equality in Australia. ABC

It’s been two years since Canada legalized recreational cannabis, and one of the many positive benefits has been a drastic decrease in opioid prescriptions. A recent study compared prescriptions before and after legalization and found that average doses per person have fallen to less than 20% of their former levels. Imagine how powerful this is going to be when the US finally gets its act into gear? High Times

Amidst the flurry of executive orders signed by the Biden administration in the past few weeks, you might have missed this one. He's committed to an ambitious conservation goal, backed by science, to protect 30% of US land and coastal seas by 2030. With only 12% of land currently conserved, that will require protecting an area twice the state of Texas to reach the 30/30 target. Nat Geo

Europe is tackling its waste problem by legislating people’s right to repair the things they’ve bought. France is leading the charge, with a ‘repair index’, that will now appear on the labels of white goods and gadgets, graded on the ease of disassembly and spare parts. According to advocates, the movement has as much to do with altering mindsets as fixing gadgets. “Our philosophy is that something doesn’t belong to you if you can’t open it.” Next City

Mozambique has passed a powerful new fisheries law that extends protected status to dolphins, whale sharks, and manta rays, and makes it easier for communities living along the 2,700 km coastline to lead management initiatives. It comes off the back of news that the country’s largest marine conservation area cut illegal fishing by nearly half in 2020 compared with 2019. Mongabay

400 years after being wiped out by hunters, the UK's crane population has passed a crucial milestone on its road to recovery. 23 chicks were born last year, pushing the national population past 200. The birds returned to Norfolk in the 1970s under their own steam and are now in Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Somerset thanks to the restoration of wetland habitats. “The return of cranes to the British landscape shows just how resilient nature can be when given the chance.” Guardian

30th January 2021 - 5th February 2021

South Australia has become the largest grid in the world to have 100% of electricity demand met by solar power, even as its electricity prices have become the cheapest in the country. For years, fossil fuels advocates here in Australia have been warning that too much wind and solar will increase energy prices. Unsurprisingly, those voices are now conspicuously absent. Renew Economy

Amidst the excitement surrounding GM's pledge to eliminate petrol and diesel passenger cars and SUVs by 2035, you might have missed the even bigger news that ZF Frederickshavn, one of the world's top five automotive component manufacturers, has officially ceased R&D on internal combustion engines. "We are preparing for the fact that hardly any combustion engines will be sold in Europe in 2035, perhaps none at all in the passenger car sector."

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world's biggest, has sold its entire portfolio of companies focused on oil exploration and production. The portfolio, worth about $6 billion in 2019, was fully exited by the end of 2020. The fund’s new CEO has made sustainable investing an explicit strategic focus and says all portfolio managers "need to operate with that in mind." World Oil

Pakistan experienced a record drop in terrorism last year, with a 45% decrease compared to 2019. Law-enforcement agencies also averted more than half of terror threats in 2020 and recovered 72,227 weapons and five million rounds of ammunition. It's part of a longer trend - there's been an 86% reduction in terror attacks since 2013, and a 97% decline in suicide bombings since 2009. Gulf News

Crime and murder rates declined in a majority of South American and Caribbean nations last year, including significant reductions in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Venezuela, historically some of the most homicidal nations in the region. While it's not clear how much was attributable to the pandemic, law enforcement authorities hope it represents a turning point. Insight Crime

In the past two decades Australia has experienced one of the most astonishing crime rate declines ever recorded by any country. Since 2001, the rate of break-ins has fallen by 68%, motor vehicle theft by 70%, robbery by 71% and other theft by 43% per cent. Across the same period the Australian murder rate fell by 50%, the attempted murder rate by 70% and overall homicide by 59%. The Australian

Oregon's Measure 110 went into effect this week, the first-of-its-kind legislation in the United States to decriminalize possession of all illegal drugs, including heroin, cocaine, meth and oxycodone. The state's health-care-based approach will now offer addicts treatment instead of prison. “Criminalization creates barriers to treatment. If we want people to make different choices, we have to give them more options." USA Today

A new study in The Lancet looking at the impact of ten different diseases in low-and middle-income countries estimates that vaccines saved the lives of 37 million kids between 2000 and 2019. For those born in 2019, increases in vaccine coverage and introductions of new vaccines will result in an estimated 72% reduction in lifetime mortality compared to those born in 2000.

India's new budget will double the country's spending on healthcare, from 1% to 2% of GDP. It's the largest investment in healthcare in the country's history, and will help improve public health systems as well as fund the huge vaccination drive to immunize 1.3 billion people. Imagine the kind of headlines this would receive if it happened in the US or Europe? Al Jazeera

The US government has trebled the size of the Gulf of Mexico's largest coal sanctuary, from 145 km² to 414 km². The expansion protects 14 additional reefs from the bottom-tending fishing gear, ship anchors and oil and gas exploration. Initially proposed under the Bush administration and formalized by Obama, the process concluded during the final week of the Trump administration. Nola

Tesco, the UK's biggest supermarket chain, removed 1 billion pieces of plastic from across its stores in 2020, including the bags used to pack loose vegetables, fruit and baked goods, plastic shrink wraps around tinned food, plastic in Christmas products and plastic wrapping around greetings cards. Shows you how powerful consumer pressure can be when directed in the right way. Greenbiz

For the first time in more than a generation, chinook salmon have spawned in the upper Columbia River system, thanks to a successful re-introduction program by biologists from the Colville Tribe. “I was shocked at first, then I was just overcome with complete joy. I don’t know that I have the right words to even explain the happiness and the healing.” Spokesman

Fishermen in Namibia have reduced the accidental deaths of seabirds, including endangered albatrosses, from 30,000 per year in 2009, to just 215 at last count. It's down to a simple regulation created in 2015 that made bird-scaring lines (a sort of nautical scarecrow) mandatory on all fishing boats. The 98.4% reduction in seabird mortality is an “absolutely amazing” achievement. Eco Magazine

23rd January 2021 - 29th January 2021

The United Nations has ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the first ever global treaty to ban nuclear weapons and all activities related to them. It's not the end of nuclear weapons - none of the nuclear-capable countries have signed on - but it is a historic milestone in the decades long campaign by civil society groups for disarmament. Conversation

Egypt's cabinet has toughened its laws on female genital mutilation, imposing jail terms of up to 20 years as part of efforts to stamp out the horrifying tradition (90% of Egyptian women between 15 and 49 have undergone FGM). The new law hikes the maximum sentence from the current seven years, and will ban any medical practitioners involved from practicing for five years. Reuters

The UN just released its latest data on family planning. The total number of women and girls around the world using modern contraception now stands at 320 million, with 60 million new users in the last seven years, and nine million in the past year alone. Progress has been particularly strong in Africa, where the number of modern contraceptive users has grown by 66% since 2012. FP2020

Ahead of World Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Day, there's been some pretty amazing news. More than one billion people have received treatment for at least one NTD every year for the last five years, there are 500 million people who no longer require interventions for any NTDs, and 42 countries, territories and areas have eliminated at least one NTD. Forbes

Even in the face of the pandemic, eleven African countries delivered more than 35 million preventative treatments for NTDs in 2020, with a further 133 million treatments due to be delivered by March this year. That included the administration of more than 7.5 million doses of trachoma-fighting antibiotics in Ethiopia in just one month during December 2020. ReliefWeb

The WHO has now certified 199 countries and territories as being free of Guinea Worm, including 16 formerly endemic countries. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, the number of cases was reduced to just 24 between January and October last year, down from 52 in 2019 and a staggering 3.5 million in 1986.

The world’s biggest diesel engine factory in France is facing up the inevitable, and switching to electric motors. By 2025, more than half the plant's production will be dedicated entirely to electric vehicles, a shift that's testament to a car industry in flux. Demand for diesel cars has slumped since 2015, following pollution scandals and tough new EU regulations. Reuters

China more than doubled its construction of clean energy in 2020, reflecting Beijing’s pledge to cut fossil fuel dependence and bring carbon emissions to a peak within a decade. Check out these numbers: 72GW of wind, 48.2GW of solar and 13.2GW of hydro, bringing new capacity to more than 190GW in a single year. This utterly dwarfs anything comparable by any other country. Bloomberg

Climate activists targeting financial institutions have delivered another victory, after three major European banks - Credit Suisse, ING and BNP Paribas - said they will stop providing financing for oil exports from the Ecuadorian Amazon. It's a significant blow: along with UBS, Natixis and Rabobank, they account for 85% of all bank trade-financing for Amazon oil. Bloomberg

A growing wave of grassroots opposition is challenging the Alberta government's plans to pursue open-pit coal mining in the Canadian Rockies. The pressure, which is coming from both sides of the political divide, is working. On the 18th January, Alberta’s energy minister acknowledged opposition to its plans and announced the province was cancelling 11 coal leases and 'pausing' future sales. The Tyee

Remember that awful scene from Samsara of male chicks being killed after they hatch? Germany just became the first country in the world to ban the practice, effective from the 1st January next year. In a second step, the killing of chick embryos in the egg will be prohibited after the sixth day of incubation starting on the 1st January 2024. Watch for other countries to follow suit. AP

In 1994, outraged by the deaths of sea otters and diving seabirds, voters in California banned gill nets. New research has now revealed that not only did the ban prevent the unnecessary suffering of thousands of birds and otters, but also allowed the population of California's harbor porpoises — one of the smallest toothed whales — a chance to rebound. LA Times

Groundfish populations are rebounding off the west coast of the United States. Of the eight stocks that were declared overfished in the early 2000s, all but one, yelloweye rockfish, have been rebuilt today. It's the result of more than two decades of good science and effective regulation, and show's what's possible when nature is given a chance.

Bison have returned at last to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in Montana. More than 100 years after the federal government illegally fenced off an 18,000-acre parcel of land, the land and the bison have been restored. “We are thrilled this historic wrong has been righted, and that we can re-establish our relationship with the herd we saved from extinction in the 1800s.” High Country News

16th January 2021 - 22nd January 2021

Total has become the first major global energy company to quit the American Petroleum Institute due to its climate policies and support for drilling. This high-profile departure from the most powerful energy lobby on the planet is a sign of things to come; expect the trickle to become a flood as the Biden administration ramps up efforts to tackle climate change. Reuters

Vietnam just had an insane year for rooftop solar, with 7.4GW installed in less than 12 months. That's 25 times more than it installed in 2019: equivalent to more than half of Australia's entire capacity in a single year. By contrast, only 1.2GW of new coal capacity was added to Vietnam's grid in 2020, from projects that took years to plan and complete. IEEFA

The Naso people of Panama are celebrating a major victory after the country’s Supreme Court upheld their claim to 400,000 acres of ancestral lands encompassing some of the most pristine forests in Central America. “We will be able to continue what our culture and way of life represents: taking care of our Mother Earth, conserving a majestic forest, and protecting the planet from the effects of climate change.” Yale 360

Last year the Global Fund doled out over $8 billion to combat infectious diseases and strengthen health systems in developing countries. This is the highest amount of grants ever given out in a single year - and they all kick off this month. “This is an exceptional achievement that will help more than 100 countries continue the critical fight against HIV, TB and malaria." Relief Web

Development banks and states have just pledged over $14 billion towards planting the Great Green Wall to contain desertification in North Africa. It's welcome news; although numerous pilots have proven the project's viability over the last few years, it's been stuck in funding purgatory. This is a major step forward. The Tribune

China has passed a landmark environmental law protecting the Yangtze, one of the country's two 'mother rivers.' From the 1st of March, chemical projects near the river will be banned and relocated, sand mining will be restricted, and all fishing,   including in tributaries, lakes and the estuary, will be forbidden (more than 400 million people live in the Yangtze basin). Reuters

The European Environment Agency says the continent's renewable power generation has doubled since 2005, and is now on par with coal and gas. Not only has this significantly decreased emissions, it's also yielded key improvements for soil acidification, air pollution and eutrophication - where freshwater is overloaded with nutrients, causing algal blooms and low oxygen levels. Reuters

The interior least tern, the smallest member of the tern family, has been taken off the US endangered list after 30 years of tireless work by states, federal agencies, tribes and conservationists. In the early 20th century, its feathers became a popular feature of women's hats, and by 1985 numbers had dropped to less than 2,000. Today, the population is over 18,000, with 480 nesting sites in 18 states. AP

1st January 2021 - 15th January 2021

Renewable energy production in Germany, the world's fourth largest economy, exceeded that of coal, natural gas and oil combined for the first time last year. Wind alone produced more electricity than all of the country’s lignite and hard coal plants, heralding "the end of coal,” and emissions fell by 80 million tonnes meaning the country has reduced emissions by 42% since 1990. It is possible.

Norway has become the first country to record more sales of cars powered by electric engines than cars powered by petrol, diesel and hybrid engines over the course of a year. Battery-electric vehicles made up 54.3% of new passenger-car sales in 2020, up from 42% in 2019, putting the country on track to ban new petrol and diesel cars by 2025. Market Watch

Southeast Asia, the last great hope of the coal barons, radically reconsidered its commitment to coal last year. Four of the region’s largest emerging economies – Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam – cancelled nearly 45GW of coal power in 2020, equivalent to the total installed capacity of Germany. Energy Tracker Asia

Argentina has legalized abortions in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, becoming the largest Latin American nation to give women autonomy over their bodies. "When I was born, women did not vote, we did not inherit, we could not manage our assets, we could not have bank accounts, we didn’t have credit cards, we couldn’t go to university. When I was born, women were nobody. Now, for all the women for fought for those rights and more, let it be law." NYT

The Dominican Republic has definitively banned child marriage. Previously, girls from the age of 15 were allowed to marry, and 36% of Dominican girls and adolescents married before the age of 18, the highest rate in Latin America and the Caribbean. Men or family members who now attempt to force a child to marry will be imprisoned for five years and the marriage annulled. Euro Weekly News

The Philippines has lifted the age of consent for sex from 12 to 16 after decades of lobbying from children’s rights activists. Campaigners say the legislation is a major milestone in efforts to protect the country's young people from sexual abuse, and where 500 teenagers get pregnant and give birth every day. “This is a victory for Filipino children." SCMP

Women’s rights activists in Iran have campaigned for a bill against gender-based violence for 16 years, and now the government is taking a stand on the issue. Hassan Rouhani’s administration passed a bill on the 4th January this year that protects women against domestic and other forms of gender-based violence. Al Jazeera

Denmark has passed a law recognizing that sex without consent is rape. It is the 12th country in Europe to do so, as momentum for change builds in other countries. “This historic day did not come about by chance. It is the result of years of campaigning by survivors who, by telling their painful stories, have helped to ensure that other women do not have to go through what they endured.” Amnesty

Kazakhstan has abolished the death penalty, making permanent a nearly two-decade freeze on capital punishment in the authoritarian Central Asian country. More than two-thirds of the countries in the world have now abolished the death penalty in law or practice, according to Amnesty International. EJI

After a two-year legal battle, Bolivia has recognized its first same-sex civil union, after the country's constitutional court agreed that by refusing to recognize the relationship, Bolivia’s civil registry was practicing discrimination. Gay marriage has become increasingly accepted in Latin America, and activists hope the ruling will pave the way for full legalization in Bolivia. Reuters

As of the 1st January this year, single use plastics have been banned in Mexico City, home to 9 million people. The ban, which includes single-use containers, forks, straws, cotton swabs, plastic cups, plastic stirrers, single-use coffee capsules and balloons, comes as Mexico's capital strives to revamp its image as an eco-friendly, sustainable city. DW

Remember this story the next time someone tells you a circular economy isn't possible at scale. In 2020 Adidas, the second largest shoe manufacturer in the world, produced 15 million pairs of shoes made from ocean plastic waste collected from beaches and coastal regions, and this year, will use recycled polyester in 60% of its products. BI

Japan used to be the world's biggest consumer of tropical logs. Now, thanks to efforts by both Malaysia and Papua New Guinea to protect their forests, imports have dropped to almost zero, and the country's biggest importer will go out of business this spring. "The impact of United Nations-set sustainable development goals on procurement has hurt us like a jab." Nikkei

One of the Trump administration’s biggest energy initiatives has suffered a stunning setback after a 40 year push to drill for oil in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge attracted just three bidders. The Alaskan state was the only bidder on nine of the tracts, and two small companies each picked up a single parcel. Half the offered leases drew no bids at all. Alaska Public

A coalition of more than 50 countries has committed to protect 30% of the planet by 2030 to halt the destruction of the natural world and slow extinctions of wildlife. The High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, which includes countries from six continents, made the pledge in Paris on Monday. C'mon Straya. Guardian

21st November 2020 - 4th December 2020

Despite the best efforts of the Trump administration to salt the earth on their way out, all six major US banks have now ruled out financing for oil and gas development in the Arctic. This is the result of years of pressure from the Gwich'in and Iñupiat peoples, activist shareholders, and hundreds of thousands of phone calls from conservation groups. Sierra Club

Swedish iron-ore giant, LKAB, is investing €39bn to decarbonize, the biggest transformation in the company’s 130-year history and the largest industrial investment ever made in Sweden. This might be the most important energy story of 2020 - industrial emissions are nowhere close to being solved, and this investment paves the way for desperately needed new technologies and standards.

The WHO says that malaria deaths fell to the lowest level ever recorded last year. The mortality rate has dropped by almost 60% in the last two decades, from 24.7 per 100,000 people in 2000 to 10.1 per 100,000 in 2019. Take a moment to appreciate this: 1.5 billion malaria cases and 7.6 million malaria deaths have been averted globally in the period between 2000 and 2019.

COVID-19 has raised questions about whether authoritarian regimes are better at handling pandemics than democratic societies. They're not. Eight of the top 10 most successful responses have come from democracies. Success appears to rely less on being able to order people into submission, and more on governments engendering a high degree of trust and societal compliance. Bloomberg

Remember the good old days when terrorism was front page news? The 2020 Global Terrorism Index is reporting that deaths from terrorism have fallen for the fifth consecutive year. 103 countries have improved - the highest number of countries to record a year-on-year improvement since the inception of the index.

The United Nations has removed cannabis for medicinal purposes from a category of the world’s most dangerous drugs. It's a big moment; a highly anticipated and long-delayed decision that will clear the way for a global expansion of marijuana research and medical use, and bolster legalization efforts around the world. The New York Times

Scotland has become the first country in the world to introduce free universal access to period products. Members of the Scottish Parliament unanimously approved the legislation, which makes access to tampons and sanitary pads in public buildings a legal right. “Scotland will not be the last country to make period poverty history – but it now has a chance to be the first." The Scotsman

Child poverty in the United States plummeted in the last decade. In 2019, 14%, or 10.5 million children, were living in poverty, down from 22%, or 16.3 million, in 2010. All major racial and ethnic groups have seen declines, with the greatest gains coming for Black and Hispanic children. The pandemic is likely to reverse some of that progress - but shouldn't take away from the achievement. Pew

Singapore has become the first country in the world to give the go-ahead to meat created without slaughtering any animals, after approving the sale of lab-grown chicken nuggets. The city state's embrace of alternative proteins isn’t limited to cultivated meat either; it's also moving swiftly to support non-animal proteins produced from plants, algae, and fungi. Straits Times

A new study has shown that air quality in Europe has improved dramatically in the past decade. Thanks to the implementation of better environmental and climate policies, around 60,000 fewer people died prematurely due to fine particulate matter pollution in 2018, compared with 2009. For nitrogen dioxide, the reduction is even greater; premature deaths have declined by about 54%. EEA

After ten years of restoration, Monserrate Hill, on the outskirts of Bogota, Colombia, has been transformed from a deforested eyesore to a bird sanctuary. It now offers an oasis of calm amidst the city of 8 million people, and is home to over 115 species of birds, including 18 types of hummingbirds. Awara Musafir

China's island province of Hainan has banned disposable plastic bags, packaging, meal boxes, bowls, cutlery, drink cups and straws, effective as of the 1st December 2020. Hainan has also been developing eco-friendly substitutes, and expects to spin up a complete industrial chain of fully biodegradable materials and products by 2023. The Star

The world's largest diamond company, De Beers, has committed to a major ethical overhaul in the next decade. It goals now include reaching carbon-neutrality across all global operations, full traceability of all diamonds, achieving gender parity in its workforce, supporting 10,000 female entrepreneurs, engaging 10,000 girls in STEM, and halving its water footprint by 2030. Reuters

250 years after they were stripped of their ancestral homelands, a 1,200 acre ranch has been returned to the Esselen tribe of northern California, a deal that will conserve old-growth redwoods and the California condor and red-legged frog. Guardian

Nodding blue harebells, clusters of yellow kidney vetch and flashes of bird’s-foot-trefoil will line the verges of all new large-scale road projects in England. Contractors are now obliged to create conditions for native wildflower meadows to thrive on all new verges. “It’s potentially hundreds of miles, providing ecological connectivity across the network.” Guardian

14 countries, responsible for 40% of the world’s coastlines, have signed a new pledge to end overfishing, restore fish populations and stop the flow of ocean plastic in the next 10 years. Each of the countries has also committed to making sure all oceans within their national jurisdictions, a combined area roughly the size of Africa, are managed sustainably by 2025. Guardian

The most incredible environmental group you've never heard of is called Pristine Seas. Since 2008, they've inspired the creation of 23 marine reserves - two-thirds of the world’s fully protected marine areas, covering an area of than five million square kilometers. They're now gearing up for another decade of expeditions and believe they can double what's already been accomplished. Nat Geo

21st November 2020 - 27th November 2020

Swedish iron-ore giant, LKAB, is investing €39bn to decarbonize, the biggest transformation in the company’s 130-year history and the largest industrial investment ever made in Sweden. This might be the most important energy news of 2020 - industrial emissions are nowhere close to being solved, and this investment paves the way for desperately needed new technologies and standards.

Remember the good old days when terrorism was front page news? The 2020 Global Terrorism Index is reporting that deaths from terrorism have fallen for the fifth consecutive year. 103 countries has improved - the highest number of countries to record a year-on-year improvement since the inception of the index.

COVID-19 has raised questions about whether authoritarian regimes are better at handling pandemics than democratic societies. They're not. Eight of the top 10 most successful responses have come from democracies. Success appears to rely less on being able to order people into submission, and more on governments engendering a high degree of trust and societal compliance. Bloomberg

Scotland has become the first country in the world to introduce free universal access to period products. Members of the Scottish Parliament unanimously approved the legislation, which makes access to tampons and sanitary pads in public buildings a legal right. “Scotland will not be the last country to make period poverty history – but it now has a chance to be the first. The Scotsman

A new study has shown that air quality in Europe has improved dramatically in the past decade. Thanks to the implementation of better environmental and climate policies, around 60,000 fewer people died prematurely due to fine particulate matter pollution in 2018, compared with 2009. For nitrogen dioxide, the reduction is even greater; premature deaths have declined by about 54%. EEA

250 years after they were stripped of their ancestral homelands, a 1,200 acre ranch has been returned to the Esselen tribe of northern California, a deal that will conserve old-growth redwoods and the California condor and red-legged frog. Guardian

The most incredible environmental group you've never heard of is called Pristine Seas. Since 2008, they've inspired the creation of 23 marine reserves - two-thirds of the world’s fully protected marine areas, covering an area of than five million square kilometers. They're now gearing up for another decade of expeditions and believe they can double what's already been accomplished. Nat Geo


In January 2020, the only thing the world’s scientists knew about the novel coronavirus was its genetic profile. 300 days later, we're on the brink of a major victory after vaccines from both Pfizer and Moderna cleared large scale trials. This is a triumph for science: vaccines normally take a decade from inception to market, and less than one in five that enter human trials get to the finish line. Bloomberg

Humanity is winning its fight against elephantiasis, a horrible parasitic disease causing irreversible disfigurement, and the second leading cause of disability in the world. In the last 20 years, the number of people infected has dropped by 74%, from 199 million to 51.4 million, and last year three countries, Malawi, Kiribati and Yemen, eliminated it altogether. The Lancet

Cambodia has made huge inroads in its fight against malaria this year. In the first nine months of 2020, the country saw a 70% decrease in malaria cases compared to the same period last year. “This is a proud achievement for Cambodia, and our biggest step made so far to eradicate the disease.” Khmer Times

A UNICEF report on the Swachh Bharat Mission, India's massive sanitation drive, has shown that it brought major benefits to poor households across the country. The average benefit per household was US$727 per year, mainly from health savings such as reduced diarrhoea incidence (55%) and savings from sanitation access time (45%).

Argentina has broadened the use of medicinal cannabis, allowing it to be prescribed for any condition backed by scientific evidence, and letting people grow it at home. New rules also state that cannabis should be made available for free in the country’s public health system for patients without insurance. Yes, you heard that right. Publicly funded medical marijuana. The times they are a changin'. Vice

The Falkland Islands have been cleared of all landmines, nearly 40 years after the end of the war with Britain. Tens of thousands of mines and bombs have been removed since 2009, as part of a UK-funded programme, a task carried out by a team of specialist de-miners, many of them from Zimbabwe. "We never thought the islands would be completely mine free, this is a momentous change." BBC

Mexico has changed its laws to prohibit holding migrant children in immigration detention centers. Under the changes, the country will shift responsibility for housing children and their families to the country’s family development agency, and away from those responsible for immigration enforcement and running detention centers. NBC

The British territory of Tristan da Cunha has created the fourth largest completely protected marine area in the world, and the largest in the Atlantic. The 687,000 km2 sanctuary will be a no-take zone, meaning fishing and other harmful activities will be banned to protect the wildlife found on and around the chain of islands, including albatross, penguins, whales, sharks and seals. Nat Geo

Florida has become the latest of 18 states and territories to ban the trafficking of shark fins. Federal prosecutors say it's a milestone in their efforts to stop the smuggling trade, as Florida had served as a key waypoint for international shark fin hauls. Mongabay

The richest person in the world has announced the first 16 recipients of his Earth Fund, who will receive $791 million in donations. Organizations like the World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Natural Resources Defence Council, Environmental Defence Fund, and the World Resources Institute will each receive $100 million, with more to come. Verge

Kopenhagen Fur, the world’s largest fur auction house, has announced it will close its doors within the next three years, citing the impact of COVID-19 and years of steep drops in pelt prices and stockpiles left unsold. It could signal the beginning of the end for the global fur trade, preventing millions of animals from suffering in the future for the fickle whims of fashion. HSI

In the Pacific Northwest, the Yurok tribe has begun the reintroduction of the Californian Condor to its ancestral lands along the Klamath River. The program, a partnership with 16 different federal agencies, private companies, and conservation organizations, will restore North America's largest bird to parts of the country where it hasn't been seen in more than a century. Audubon

That's not all. The same tribe - the Yurok - just signed a historic deal to remove four dams from the Klamath, the largest dam removal project in US  history. This will free up 600km of waterway and spawning grounds for salmon and other migratory species like steelhead trout and Pacific lamprey. “These efforts are as much about ecology as they are to right the wrongs that took place in this country for the last 200 years.” BBC

...and finally, to round up the good news, we had to put this in here. After four years of no pets in the White House (the longest stretch since 1840) two German shepherds, Champ and Major, are moving in. Major will be the first 'First Dog' from a shelter, reflecting a growing embrace by Americans of shelter dogs—more than 1.6 million were adopted last year, and forced euthanasia has fallen by more than two thirds since 2011. Nat Geo


There's been a huge breakthrough in the fight against AIDS. A new antiretroviral administered as an injection six times a year is 89% more effective at preventing HIV in women compared to standard ARVs, which are taken as a daily pill. "This is a major, major advance,” said Dr Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease doctor in the US. “I don’t think we can overemphasize its importance." NYT

What once sounded like a progressive pipe dream — legalize it — is now a reality. Last weekend, New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, Mississippi and South Dakota all legalized either recreational or medical marijuana, Washington DC decriminalized psilocybin, and Oregon became the first US state to decriminalize the personal possession of all drugs, including cocaine, methamphetamine and opioids. Wired

A large new national study has shown that the lives of more than 1.2 million people in the United States were saved following a cancer diagnosis between the year 2000 and 2016, thanks to new treatment options. New drugs commissioned during this period targeting the 15 most common cancer types helped to reduce cancer mortality by 24% per 100,000 people. Eureka Alert

The United Arab Emirates has overhauled some of its strictest Islamic laws to bolster women’s rights. The changes, announced last weekend and effective immediately, include the criminalization of 'honour killings', and tougher penalties for sexual harassment. Umarried couples will now be allowed to live together and suicide and attempted suicide will be decriminalized. The National

More than 130,000 people turned out for Taiwan's LGBTQI+ pride rally this year, marching through the streets of Taipei in a colourful celebration of equality made possible by the island's successful vanquishing of the coronavirus. The parade came a day after two same-sex couples joined a mass wedding hosted by the military for the first time, another gay rights landmark in Asia. SBS

Following litigation by consumer groups and environmentalists, air pollution in more than 40 German cities has plummeted. Between 2018 and 2019 alone, nitrogen dioxide levels fell by an average of 4.2µg/m³. "People are finally breathing cleaner air – legal action works. We see the potential for NO2 to meet legal limits in every German town by 2021." Air Quality News

Voters in Colorado have narrowly approved a ballot initiative that paves the way for gray wolves to be reintroduced back to the state for the first time in more than 80 years. It's the first time a US state has voted to reintroduce an animal to the ecosystem, and there's plenty of space - the Southern Rockies contains millions of acres of suitable habitat. Nat Geo

Record numbers of Olive Ridley sea turtles have hatched in Mexico this year, thanks to reduced human activity during the pandemic and the dedicated efforts of Tortugueros del Desemboque, a conversation group run by the indigenous Comcáac people. Over 2,250 baby turtles were released into the Gulf of California this year, compared to normal numbers of between 500 to 1,000. USA Today

More good news from Seattle. Two more dams have come down on the Pilchuck River, opening more than 60km of habitat to salmon for the first time in more than a century. The project is a collaboration between the City of Snohomish and Tulalip Tribes, and will benefit multiple species of salmon, including threatened chinook salmon, crucial food for resident killer whales. Seattle Times


Another one bites the coal dust. The Philippines, the third largest ASEAN economy, has announced it will no longer accept proposals to construct new coal power plants. This caps off a brutal October for the global fossil fuels industry, after dozens of financial institutions announced exits last month not just from coal, but oil and gas too. IEEFA

Since Donald Trump took office, the clean energy sector in the United States has employed nearly three times as many people as the fossil fuels industry, and between 2016 and 2019, renewables added more than double the jobs that fossil fuels did. Sometimes, a simple piece of data paints a clearer picture than a thousand opinion pieces. #MAGA. Morning Consult

UNESCO says that since 1995, the proportion of girls receiving primary and secondary education has increased from 73% to 89%. In actual numbers, that's an extra 180 million girls in school compared to a generation ago (and three times more women are also now enrolled in universities). Reminder - educating girls and empowering women is the single most effective way to combat climate change.

The number of people suiciding in Japan has plummeted in recent years, falling each year for the last decade. Last year there were 20,169 cases, the lowest number since 1978 when the government first started keeping records, and at least 10,000 fewer deaths per annum than during the early naughts. Japan Subculture

For the second year in a row, Iceland, one of three remaining whaling nations, says it will not be hunting any whales, thanks to changing public opinion and falling consumption of whale meat. Announcements by the country’s two whaling companies suggest this may be the permanent end of the annual hunt. NatGeo

Centuries of colonialism, followed by decades of mismanagement, have almost destroyed the caribou herds of British Columbia. In 2011, First Nations people took matters into their own hands, suing the government and starting their own conservation programs. Slowly but surely, it's working. Numbers are increasing, and the government is now providing funding and protecting land. Civil Eats

23RD OCTOBER 2020 - 29TH OCTOBER 2020

The clean energy juggernaut rolls on. Lazard has just published its annual cost of electricity report, one of the energy industry's most respected benchmarks. It says the cost of onshore wind has fallen to $26 a megawatt-hour and utility scale solar is $29. Forget coal - that means that building new wind and solar is now cheaper than keeping many existing gas plants running (gas-led recovery, anyone?).

Japan, the third largest economy in the world, has committed to reaching zero emissions and achieving a carbon-neutral society by 2050, with a fundamental shift in policy on coal use. The country's new Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga, says “responding to climate change is no longer a constraint on economic growth." Oh, and South Korea has announced it will be carbon neutral by 2050 too. NPR

The world is winning the fight against tuberculosis. The WHO has just published its annual TB report, showing that between 2015 and 2019, global deaths fell by 14%. In fact, since 2000, TB treatment has averted more than 60 million deaths. Naturally, this incredible news has made headlines everywhere, interrupting the news cycle and bumping those two old white dudes off the front pages. WHO

Child marriage is becoming less common in Bangladesh. The proportion of girls being married before the age of 18 has dropped from 64% in 2010, to just over 50% today. In actual numbers, that means there are 10 million fewer girls who have been forced into child marriage today compared to a decade ago. UNICEF

Samoa has launched an ambitious new strategy to protect and preserve its ocean area, with a commitment to protect 30% of its territorial waters by 2025, a significant increase from the 1% currently under protection. This will result in 36,000 km2 of new fully-protected marine protected areas in the next five years. Government of Samoa

Egypt has managed to plant trees in the desert using wastewater, creating a massive 200 hectare oasis known as the Serapium Forest, which has boomed despite a recent drought. Following the success of the project, the country is now looking to plant more desert lands with trees to fight climate change. Al Monitor

Seattle's Duwamish River is visibly healing. In 2001, after a century of unchecked industrial pollution, it was labelled as one of the most toxic sites in America. After two decades of clean up efforts by conservationists and community groups, wildlife is now returning and the river is the cleanest it's been in 100 years. Seattle Met

16TH OCTOBER 2020 - 22ND OCTOBER 2020

The IEA's latest annual report contains a hidden nugget of very, very good news. Last year, the number of people without access to electricity dropped from 860 million to 770 million, a new record low. Africa has made particularly good progress; the number of people gaining access to electricity doubled from 9 million a year between 2000 and 2013, to 20 million between 2014 and 2019. IEA

Global sulfur dioxide pollution levels fell by 6% last year, according to a new analysis of NASA satellite data. SO2 emissions fell in all three of the world’s top emitter countries – India, Russia and China, only the second time ever that this has happened. Researchers say it's due to falling coal usage, especially in India. Air Quality News

In the last quarter century, how far have we come in advancing women’s rights? A new analysis from the IRC reveals some dramatic gains, including a 110% increase in women serving in national parliaments, a 49% increase in women in ministerial positions, a 38% decrease in maternal deaths, and an 18% increase in female literacy. Is it enough? Not even close. But it is progress.

Crime has plummeted in the Philippines this year. In the first nine months of 2020 there was a 46% decline in the country's 'focus' crimes of murder, homicide, physical injury, rape, robbery, theft, and hijacking. Police are scratching their heads; given the loss of livelihoods and other economic difficulties, they were expecting crime to actually go up. Manila Bulletin

Uganda has launched its ambitious Wildlife Habitat & Corridor Restoration Project, which focuses on restoring habitat for endangered chimpanzees by adding 3 million trees to the Albertine Rift Forests. The area is home to endangered chimpanzees, as well as more than 50% of birds, 39% of mammals, 19% of amphibians and 14% of reptiles and plants of mainland Africa. Monde Stuff

Every signature counts. US federal officials have issued new protections for Gulf of Mexico deep-sea coral hot spots, restricting damaging fishing gear in most of those areas. This comes after 11,000 people signed their names in support during a final round of public comment in late 2019. The protections mark a major milestone in safeguarding coral ecosystems in the Gulf. Pew

Every hand counts too. For the last 20 years, the world’s largest seagrass restoration project has been running off the coast of Virginia, and during that time the ecosystem has gone from near death to full flowering. Over 70 million eelgrass seeds have been planted by volunteers. "Today, as far as I can swim, I see lush meadows, rays, the occasional seahorse. It’s beautiful.” Science News

9TH OCTOBER 2020 - 15TH OCTOBER 2020

The proportion of the world's children under the age of five infected with hepatitis B has dropped to just under 1%, down from 5% in the early 2000s. 85% of kids around the world are now getting all three doses of the HBV vaccine - and Gavi says it is on track to avert a further 1.2 million infection-related deaths between 2021 and 2035. Science, B*t©h3$! WHO

We had to dig for this one, seeing as it did not appear in a single mainstream news publication. The US Justice Department has released its crime data for 2019, showing that violent crime in the United States decreased by 0.5% last year, the third consecutive year of declines, and property crime dropped by 4.1%, the 17th consecutive year of declines. Hellholes, anyone?

Crime is declining in France too. While the idea of 'ensauvagement' — long a dog whistle of the far right — is now being parroted by all sides of French politics, the truth is that nearly all major crimes are lower than they were a decade ago. Since 2006, acts of physical violence outside the home have decreased by 8% and thefts with physical violence or threat have dropped by 61% in the same period. NYT

Electric car sales in Europe have smashed through even the most optimistic forecasts by experts. One in 10 new cars sold in 2020 will be electric or hybrid, triple last year’s sales. New forecasts suggest that it will be one in seven in 2021, as manufacturers scramble to comply with tighter emissions standards. Smart regulation + great technology. It really can be that simple. Ars Technica

Here's an even bigger market signal. The world's largest cement producer, LafargeHolcim, has become the the first global building materials company to commit to reducing its emissions within the next decade, and says it will reach 100% carbon neutrality by 2050. Reminder: the cement industry causes 8% of global carbon emissions. FT

Singapore has created the new 400 ha Sungei Buloh Park in the northern portion of the island, a refueling site for migratory birds and home to oriental hornbills, otters, saltwater crocodiles, and many other species. It's part of a wider initiative to turn disused industrial areas back into natural landscapes, and plant 1 million trees across the city-state by 2030. Mongabay

The recovery of the Iberian lynx is one of the best conservation success stories of modern times. The population increased by 23% in 2019. There are now 894 individuals in the wild, up from just 92 in 2002. The EU has also earmarked €18 million to keep the project running for the next five years, giving conservationists a real shot at restoring a stable, genetically diverse population. La Vanguardia


Myanmar has become the second country in southeast Asia, and the twelfth country in the world to eliminate trachoma. Fifteen years ago, the disease was responsible for 4% of all cases of blindness in the country. By 2018, prevalence had dropped to 0.008%, and a month ago, the WHO confirmed its elimination.

Italy has abolished anti-immigrant decrees installed by former populists, and reinstated humanitarian protection for migrants and refugees. The government has also cut the time needed for citizenship applications from four years to three. "Tonight a wall comes down. Onward towards a country with more humanity." The Local

Same-sex marriages now make up a half a million US households, five years after the Supreme Court made it legal for people to love each other. According to the latest census, there are now 980,000 same-sex households in the country, and half of those are married, an increase of almost 70% since 2014. VOA

During the first term of the most coal-friendly president in American history, 145 coal-burning units at 75 power plants have been shut down, eliminating 15% percent of the country's coal-generated capacity. This is the fastest decline in coal capacity in any single presidential term, far greater than the rate during either of President Barack Obama’s terms. #MAGA. NYT

The number of people suffering from air pollution in London has plunged from 2 million in 2016, to 119,000 in 2019, a fall of 94%. It's thanks to regulations introduced by the city's mayor, Sadiq Khan, which have resulted in 44,000 fewer dirty vehicles now driven in central London every day compared with 2017. Guardian

Greyhound racing is dying out in the United States. Thanks to changing attitudes and the efforts of animal rights activists, 39 American dog tracks have closed since 2001. In the country that invented modern commercial greyhound racing, there are now only seven dog tracks remaining in five states, and within the next two years, those will likely close too. Nat Geo

Vietnam has established a new 22,132 ha tropical forest nature reserve called Dong Chau-Khe Nuoc Trong, whose name means “clear water in the ravine." It is home to 40 globally threatened species, including the singing gibbon and the saola, a mysterious antelope-like bovine with a pair of long, straight horns known as the Asian unicorn. World Land Trust


California just became the first US state to say it will ban the sale of new internal combustion engines, starting the clock on a future that would’ve been unthinkable a few years ago. Automakers now have 15 years left until their products become illegal in one of their most important markets. It's a big deal. California consumes about 1% of global oil production. NPR

The announcement came less than a day after China pledged to go carbon neutral by 2060. The move is largely symbolic given the lack of details. It does however, bring the world's third biggest economy into a loose but vitally important consensus with the second largest (EU), fourth largest (Japan), and fifth largest (California). Four of the world’s six largest economies now have end dates for their carbon emissions. Bloomberg

“When a baby arrives in the world, there is no reason it should be just the mother who takes care of it. The presence of the father is much more important than we thought, much earlier than we believed.” France has just doubled paternity leave from 14 to 28 days starting next summer, and fathers will be required to take at least a week off work after their babies are born. NYT

Kazakhstan has joined an international protocol on the abolition of the death penalty. It's the 88th nation to become a signatory to the protocol, which fulfills a fundamental right to life and human dignity. The country's head of state, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, quoted the Kazakh poet and philosopher Abai, stressing the need for “love, compassion, bold actions, deeds and thoughtfulness.” Astana Times

Ecuador’s highest court has ruled that communities have the right to vote on whether to allow large and medium-sized mining projects in their areas. The court’s decision follows a petition by the government of Cuenca, a city in the country’s highlands, to propose a referendum on seeking to ban mining near water sources.

France's environment minister has announced that wild animals will no longer be allowed in travelling circuses, and that starting immediately, France’s three marine parks won’t be able to import or breed dolphins and killer whales. The measures will also bring an end to mink farming within the next five years. "It is time to open a new era in our relationship with these wild animals." ABC


According to notorious latte-sipping, radical greenies, BP, the world has already passed peak oil. The company estimates that, for the first time ever, global energy demand is levelling off and that in the face of stronger climate action, oil demand will fall by at least 10% this decade and by as much as 50% over the next 20 years. Carbon Brief

Walmart, the world's largest retailer, has committed to becoming a 'regenerative company'. Since 2017, it's cut 230 million metric tons of carbon from its supply chain, and is now targeting zero emissions by 2040, without offsets. The company is also committing to protect, manage or restore at least 50 million acres of land and 1 million square miles of ocean by 2030. Electrek

China has lifted over 50 million people out of poverty in the last five years. The country's requirements are stricter than the World Bank's; in addition to having sufficient income, China doesn’t consider people to be out of poverty until they have enough food and clothing, guaranteed basic healthcare, access to compulsory education and safe housing. Bloomberg

A new agreement between UNICEF and the Serum Institute of India has dropped the global price of the pneumonia vaccine to $2 per dose. The 43% price drop will expand protection against one of the world’s deadliest diseases, forestalling the deaths of millions of children in developing countries. Borgen

Animal rights activists are celebrating a huge win, as Poland's lower house has voted to ban fur farming. The law, which is expected to pass the upper house easily, also bans ritual slaughter for exports and the use of wild animals in circuses. Poland is the world’s third-largest fur producer after China and Denmark, and the ban will spare the lives of more than five million animals. CIWF


In the first half of 2020, renewables (solar, wind, hydro and biomass) didn’t just beat out coal on the European grid — they beat out all fossil fuels put together. As a result, the continent's power sector CO2 emissions fell by 23%. Coal's game in Europe is well and truly up, and gas isn't too far behind. Ember

Has global inequality in the last two decades gotten worse, or gotten better? The answer will probably surprise you. During the 2000s and 2010s, the global Gini coefficient dropped by 15 points and the earnings share of the world's poorest half doubled. The reason this feels surprising is that most of us hardly ever read journalism written by people from Asia, Africa and South America. Uppsala

In a similar vein, the Social Progress Index measures the social and economic performance of all the world's countries over time. According to the 2020 report, the world has improved on 8 of 12 key measures in the past decade. 95% of countries have improved by one point or more, and only 2% have declined.

A new study in The Lancet has shown that between 2013 and 2017, air pollution in 74 key Chinese cities fell by a third, driven by a 85.4% decline in household air pollution and a 12% decline in PM2.5. As a result, the death rate attributable to air pollution has plummeted by more than 60%, saving hundreds of thousands of lives.

The United States Senate has passed a bipartisan agreement to phase out hydrofluorocarbons, a potent greenhouse gas that is widely used in air conditioners and refrigeration. Lawmakers were swayed by a combined push from industry and environmentalists (unlike coal, oil and natural gas, HFCs don't have a lobby). WaPo

Conservationists in Australia have eradicated all feral cats and foxes from a vast 9,570-hectare fenced area at Mallee Cliffs National Park, creating the largest feral predator-free safe haven on the mainland and paving the way for the largest re-wilding project ever to be undertaken in the state of New South Wales. AWC

4 SEPTEMBER 2020 - 10 SEPTEMBER 2020

Bangladesh has one of the largest coal pipelines in the world. Or rather, it did. The government is reviewing 90% of planned plants with a view to finding 'less expensive alternatives.' That's 28GW of coal on the chopping block - larger than Australia's entire capacity. Another coal bomb defused, thanks to the efforts of  ̶b̶u̶r̶e̶a̶u̶c̶r̶a̶t̶s̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶p̶o̶l̶i̶t̶i̶c̶i̶a̶n̶s̶  scientists and engineers. China Dialogue

Trachoma is the world's leading infectious cause of blindness. It's also one of the greatest public health successes of all time. According to latest data the number of people at risk from the disease has been reduced by 92% in the last 17 years, from 1.5 billion in 2002 to 137 million in 2020, and 13 countries have eliminated it altogether. WHO

Togo has become the first African country to officially eliminate sleeping sickness, a parasitic disease that's almost always fatal when left untreated. The achievement comes after more than two decades of sustained political commitment, surveillance and screening, and is part of a much bigger global success story - fewer than 1,000 cases were reported globally in 2019. WHO

Sudan’s government has officially ended 30 years of Islamic state rule. Minority languages will be official and Christians and followers of local religions will be allowed to worship in peace in the mainly Muslim nation. “For Sudan to become a democratic country, the constitution should be based on the principle of ‘separation of religion and state. No citizen shall be discriminated against based on their religion." MEM

Two decades ago, the Burmese roofed turtle was thought to be extinct. Conservationists have since helped the population recover to nearly 1,000 animals, some of which have now been successfully released into the wild in Myanmar. “This is one of the best global turtle conservation successes we have. We came so close to losing them.” NYT

28 AUGUST 2020 - 3 SEPTEMBER 2020

Following staggering losses, Asia’s largest oil and gas producer, PetroChina, has announced a zero emissions target by 2050. This is its first ever emissions target; what makes it so meaningful is that it's the listed arm of state-owned China National Petroleum. Further proof that a major strategic shift is now underway in global oil and gas markets. Reuters

Global AIDS deaths decreased again last year. According to the latest figures from the UN, the number of people who died from the disease fell by 5.4% between 2018 and 2019, reaching the lowest level since 1993. Also crucially, for the first time ever, more than two thirds of HIV-positive people around the world now have access to anti-retroviral treatments. UNAIDS

In 2015, Germany opened its borders to people fleeing war and persecution: arguably the greatest humanitarian act of the 21st century. The country now has 1.7M refugees, the second highest population in the world, and the gamble has paid off. More than half are employed and paying taxes, and over 80% say they feel a strong sense of belonging (C'mon Straya). Guardian

Belize has added another jewel in its crown as a global leader in ocean conservation. Last month, it increased the size of its Sapodilla Cayes reserve to 1,300 km2 to encompass the Cayman Crown, one of the best preserved reef ecosystems in the region, home to many endangered species of corals, as well as previously undocumented reef types. EDF

It's not just Belize. In the last five years the Seychelles has progressed from protecting 0.04% to 30% of its national waters, covering 410,000 km2 of ocean – an area larger than Germany. 85% of the Seychelles’ coral reefs and 88% of the nation’s shallow waters are now protected from fishing, oil exploration and other marine development. BBC

21 AUGUST 2020 - 27 AUGUST 2020

Africa is officially free from wild polio. 25 years ago it paralysed more than 75,000 children across the continent. Since then, billions of oral vaccines have been provided, preventing 1.8 million cases. It's one of the greatest healthcare success stories of all time. If you get a chance today just pause, and take a little moment to appreciate this extraordinary achievement. BBC

It's election season, so naturally this one didn't make headlines. Since 1965, Gallup has been polling Americans about whether they want immigration levels to decrease, increase, or remain the same. In 2020, for the first time in the poll’s history, more Americans said they wanted to increase immigration than decrease it. Cato

In perhaps one of the most globally consequential yet under-reported stories of the year, China has issued new rules for its distant water fishing fleet. The country's Wildlife Protection Law will now apply at sea, ships will no longer be allowed to 'go dark' or approach marine protected areas, ship captains who break the rules will lose their license for five years and company managers will be banned for three years.

A series of studies in the US, the UK and 26 other countries has shown that loneliness during the pandemic has not only leveled out but, in certain cases, improved. People have found ways to maintain social connection, and there's been a renewed appreciation for the importance of relationships. If these trends continue, the social recession many feared could turn out to be a social revolution. Scientific American

Since the 1970s, more than 90,000 km2 of desert in Niger has been regreened, thanks to a technique known as farmer-managed natural regeneration. These huge forests of thorny trees are now productive farmland, yielding over a million more tons of grain than before. A desolate land, once bereft of life and on its way to desertification, has been utterly transformed. Mongabay

14 AUGUST 2020 - 20 AUGUST 2020

While 2020 has been a terrible year for fossil fuels, it's been an incredible one for renewables. Despite a record drop in power demand, wind and solar's share of global electricity has increased from 8.7% to 10% in the first six months of the year. The biggest winner has been offshore wind, with orders up by 319%, making it the fastest-growing industry in the world right now. Science Alert

According to a new study, mortality rates from the most common form of lung cancer have fallen sharply in the United States. "For the first time, nationwide mortality rates for non-small cell lung cancer are declining faster than its incidence, an advance that correlates with the FDA's approval of several targeted therapies for this cancer in recent years.” NIH

Kenya's Wildlife Service says its elephant population has more than doubled from 16,000 in 1989 to 34,000 today. The number of elephants poached is also down significantly from previous years — just seven this year, compared to 34 in 2019 and 80 in 2018. Meanwhile, 140 baby elephants have been born in the Amboseli National Park since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. DW

Remember the insect apocalypse? While it was a worrying piece of news, most of the evidence came from Europe. New research has now shown that there has been no equivalent decline in the United States. Populations are down in some areas, but up in others, resulting in net abundance and biodiversity trends that are generally indistinguishable from zero. In other words, American insects are generally doing fine (bet you didn't hear that in the evening news). Nature

At the turn of this century, Staten Island's landfill was the largest garbage dump in the world, three times larger than Central Park, with trash mounds 20 stories high excreting noxious methane and leaking bin juice into the waterways. Today, it's a green oasis, and one of the most unlikely urban ecological restoration success stories of all time. The radical fix? Bury the rubbish, plant some grass and do nothing for 20 years. NYT

8 AUGUST 2020 - 13 AUGUST 2020

How many times have you heard someone say that because we're living longer, we're more likely to experience cognitive decline? Not true. The risk of a person developing dementia in the US and Europe is now 13% lower than it was in 2010 (Alzheimer’s is falling too, by 16% per decade). Researchers think it's down to less smoking, better cardiovascular health, and better education. NYT

Between 1992 and 2019, Senegal cut its rate of stunting prevalence in half, from 34.4% to 18.8%. Improved access to post-natal care, education, water and sanitation now means the country has the lowest stunting burden in French-speaking West Africa. Exemplars

British retailers sold 226 million single-use plastic bags in the 2019/2020 financial year, 322 million fewer than in 2018/19. That's a 59% drop in a single year. The average shopper now buys four bags per year, compared to a whopping 140 in 2014. Guardian

A record 26 US states removed 90 dams in 2019, thanks to a growing movement of environmentalists seeking to restore rivers to their natural state. In total, 1,722 dams have been removed across the country since 1912, and as they disappear, fish are returning in droves: Atlantic salmon, alewives, baby eels, shad and brook trout, to name a few. NYT

Conservationists are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the re-introduction of red kites to the United Kingdom. In the 1980s, these majestic birds of prey were persecuted to near extinction. Following one of the most successful re-wilding programs in history however, there are now an estimated 10,000 birds across the country, including 1,800 breeding pairs. BBC

11 JULY 2020 - 7 AUGUST 2020

The size of the global coal power fleet fell for the first time ever in the first six months of 2020, with more plants shutting than starting operations. Did someone just say, ‘tipping point’? Guardian

The world’s most valuable company has committed to becoming carbon-neutral by 2030, a pledge that covers its entire supply chain and the lifecycle of all its products, including the electricity consumed in their use. Guardian

The UK’s biggest pension fund, with over nine million members, is divesting from fossil fuels, a landmark move for the industry. Guardian

The world is losing its taste for meat. Production fell last year, and will do so again in 2020 (there have never been two consecutive years of decline). Globally, we’re already at peak pasture, and it now looks like we’re approaching peak beef. Bloomberg

Since 2007, the majority of the world’s countries - 113 countries - have reduced their armed forces, 100 have reduced military expenditure and both imports and exports of weapons have reached their lowest levels since 2009. GPI

A major new study in The Lancet has shown that the average number of children a woman gives birth to has fallen from 4.7 in 1950 to 2.4 in 2017, and will drop below 1.7 by 2100. Global population is now on track to peak in the middle of this century. BBC

Indonesian officials are vowing to end the controversial custom of bride kidnapping, after videos of women being abducted sparked a national debate. Jakarta Post

After more than 30 years of Islamist rule, Sudan has outlined wide-reaching human rights reforms including allowing non-Muslims to drink alcohol, abolishing public flogging, and scrapping the death penalty for renouncing Islam. BBC

Huge, huge win for indigenous rights in the United States. The Supreme Court has declared that because of a treaty signed in 1866, up to half of Oklahoma’s land must be returned as the sovereign possession of the Creek Nation. E-Tangata

More than one million people in the UK have given up smoking during the COVID-19 pandemic. More people quit smoking in the year to June 2020 than in any year since surveys began in 2007. BBC

Parents in OECD countries now spend twice as much time with their children as they did 50 years ago (except for France because, well, France). Economist

Vietnam has banned all wildlife imports and closed illegal wildlife markets, as part of the global response to the threat of zoonotic diseases. WAN

Researchers have shown that noise levels around the world have fallen by 50% in the last six months, the quietest Planet Earth has been since humans developed the technology to listen. They’re calling it The Anthropause. Vice

Britain’s woodlands now cover as much of the country as they did during the Middle Ages, thanks to 20th-century forestry and rewilding practices (Robin Hood eat your heart out). Times UK

25 years after gray wolves returned to Yellowstone, they’ve transformed the ecosystem and stabilized elk populations. “Elk aren’t starving to death anymore.” NatGeo

27 JUNE 2020 - 10 JULY 2020

The UN Security Council has unanimously agreed to a global ceasefire, adopting a resolution that demands a general and immediate cessation of hostilities around the world, to unite efforts to fight COVID-19 in vulnerable countries. UN

This one got swamped by the coronavirus news, but so important - Congo has declared that the second-largest Ebola outbreak on record is over after nearly two years. Channel News Asia

Germany will almost double funding for the WHO this year, contributing more than half a billion euros. "We need a strong, transparent and accountable WHO today more than ever," said the country’s Health Minister Jens Spahn. DW

A new study has shown that between 2013 and 2017, the availability of medical marijuana in states that had passed cannabis laws led to an average reduction of around 20% in opioid prescriptions. JAAOS

A new study from the CDC showed that infant mortality rates across the United States declined from 2000 to 2017, a trend attributed to fewer women giving birth in their teens. ABC

The US Supreme Court has passed a landmark ruling protecting LGBTQIA+ citizens from workplace discrimination. Conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch authored the decision: “It is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that person based on sex.” BBC

Meet Hasina Kharbhih, whose NGO, Impulse Network, has, in the past two decades rescued over 72,000 women and children trafficked across India, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Nepal. Ozy

The US imprisonment rate is at its lowest level in more than two decades, with the greatest decline coming among black Americans, whose imprisonment rate has decreased 34% since 2006. Pew

As rates fall across the US, former prisons, jails, and detention centers are being converted from facilities that confine people into ones that support them, such as mental health clinics, community centres and homes for former convicts. FreeThink

Georgia’s parliament has passed a landmark democratic reform, bringing the distribution of parliamentary seats into line with the national vote results, and ending the excessive consolidation of power by a single political group. Eurasia

Volkswagen, one of the world’s biggest carmakers, just produced its last ever combustion vehicle at Zwickau, one of its biggest factories in Germany. That factory now claims the title of Europe’s largest electric vehicle plant. Next Web

California has approved a groundbreaking policy to wean its trucking sector off diesel, requiring manufacturers to sell a rising number of zero-emission vehicles from 2024, a ‘major step’ toward reducing the state’s emissions. Reuters

Amazon India has eliminated all single-use plastic in its packaging across fulfillment centers in the country, and local rival Flipkart says that it has cut down the usage of plastic packaging in its own supply chain to about 50%. Reuters

Germany has agreed to end the sale of single-use plastic straws, cotton buds and food containers from July 2021, bringing it in line with a European Union directive intended to reduce the amount of plastic waste. DW

Pakistan has just announced the creation of 15 new national parks, expanding protected areas from 12% to 15% o the country, and creating 5,000 ‘guardians of nature’ jobs for young people within the next three months.  Gulf News

More than 2 million people gathered in northern India last week while practicing social distancing, and planted 250 million trees as part of a government plan to tackle climate change. AP

You know those online petitions? Sometimes they do work. Following a campaign  that garnered more than 280,000 e-mails from concerned shoppers, beauty retailer Sephora has banned mink-fur eyelashes. Independent

Following a concerted reintroduction effort two decades ago, Kentucky is now home to the largest population of elk east of the Mississippi. Their home? The hillsides of former coal mines. NYT

COVID-19 is poised to usher in the biggest retreat for global meat eating in decades. Global per-capita consumption in 2020 will fall to the lowest in nine years and the 3% drop from last year represents the biggest decline since at least 2000. Bloomberg

16 MAY 2020 - 26 JUNE 2020

Renewables have toppled coal in energy generation in the United States for the first time since 1885, the year that Mark Twain published The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and America’s first skyscraper was erected in Chicago. EIA

Denmark’s government has approved a new climate plan quadrupling total offshore wind energy capacity in the next decade, and including the construction of two titanic offshore ‘wind energy islands.’ KEFM

In the last three weeks, the world’s one-millionth public electric vehicle outlet was installed, Germany made it mandatory for all gas stations to include electric chargers, and the EU committed to one million public chargers by 2025, from fewer than 200,000 today.

New Zealand will provide free sanitary products in schools across the country in an effort to tackle period poverty - where girls and women are unable to afford or access sufficient menstrual hygiene products. CNN

The GAVI vaccines alliance has raised $8.8 billion to fund its immunisation programmes through to 2025, exceeded its target of $7.4 billion. This will help immunise 300 million more children against measles, polio and diphtheria. Reuters

More on vaccines - a supply agreement has been approved that lowers the price of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines from $3.50 to $2.00, resulting in millions of dollars in savings for both GAVI and lower income countries’ vaccine budgets. UNICEF

Lawmakers in Gabon have voted to decriminalise homosexuality, reversing a 2019 law. Sylvia Bongo, Gabon's First Lady, said that parliament had “restored a fundamental human right: that of loving, freely, without being condemned.” Thomson Reuters

Just as a brutal killing in America is helping change attitudes towards race, so has one in Iran, challenging traditions that have long devalued the lives and rights of women and children. Following the murder of Romina Ashrafi, lawmakers have approved a measure to criminalise child abuse and neglect, and are considering another criminalising sexual and physical abuse of women. CS Monitor

The Ashaninka people of the Amazon have won a decades long court battle against the forestry industry, setting a precedent that will “define hundreds of thousands of cases on environmental crimes in Brazil.” MPF

In 2005, all the waste from Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital, went to landfill. Today 68% of its waste is recycled, and its landfill receives almost 80% less rubbish, putting it at the top of Europe’s recycling leaderboard. Guardian

China is increasing environmental funding to $57.22 billion this year, up by almost 10% from 2019. It includes new national green development fund, and major new conservation programs in the Yangtze and Yellow river basins. Reuters

China has also removed dogs from the list of animals that can be treated as livestock. While the regulation didn’t come in time to stop the notorious Yulin dog festival, animal rights groups say it effectively ends the sale of live dogs for food and fur. SMH

The Dutch parliament has voted to permanently close the mink fur farms that were shut down following outbreaks of COVID-19, and will close all other remaining farms by the end of the year. Sentient Media

More than 45 transportation and energy companies, as well as dozens of private landowners, have agreed to create or maintain monarch butterfly habitats along ‘rights-of-way’ corridors across the United States. Mongabay

The European Commission is seeking to halve the use of ‘high-risk’ chemical pesticides by 2030 to halt the decline of pollinators. Reuters

Ethiopia planted four billion tree seedlings in 2019 (84% of them survived). This year, led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, more than 20 million people will plant five billion seedlings as part of the country’s Green Legacy Challenge. Quartz

28 APRIL 2020 - 15 MAY 2020

A decade ago over 40% of the UK’s electricity came from coal. This week, it clocked up its first full coal free month since the advent of the power grid in 1882. Gizmodo

Sweden has closed its last coal-fired power station two years ahead of schedule, becoming the third European country to exit coal. Independent

The world’s largest wealth fund has blacklisted Glencore, Anglo American, Sasol, AGL and four Canadian oil firms for excessive emissions. Reuters

Chile has become the 2nd South American country - and the 7th in the world - to update their national Paris Agreement climate action plan. Reuters

The IEA says greenhouse gas emissions will fall by more than 8% this year, the largest annual decrease ever recorded. NPR

Abu Dhabi has announced the lowest price ever for solar - 1.35 US cents per kWh. That’s 45% lower than just three years ago. Forbes

Sudan’s new government has outlawed the practice of female genital mutilation, a major victory for women’s rights campaigners. NYT

Pennsylvania has banned child marriage, the third state to fully outlaw the practice after Delaware and New Jersey. CBS

Germany's parliament has banned so-called "gay conversion therapy" the fifth nation to do so after Malta, Ecuador, Brazil and Taiwan. NBC

Brazil’s Supreme Court has overturned rules that limit gay and bisexual men from donating blood, a victory for LGBTQI+ people in the country. Reuters

An Israeli billionaire is planning to deliver hundreds of generators that can produce drinking water out of thin air to Gaza, “because they are our neighbors and it’s a great pity to look at them suffering from such severe water shortages.” Times of Israel

Canada has introduced an immediate ban on semi-automatic assault weapons. 1,500 models are covered by the new prohibition. NYT

Government data has shown that US traffic deaths fell in 2019 for the third straight year, even as overall road use increased. Reuters

The UK government has announced a £2 billion package to create a ‘new era’ for cycling and walking infrastructure in the wake of the pandemic.

The Welsh government has announced plans for a national forest running the length and breath of the country, "connected ecological network.” BBC

Wildlife experts in Belgium are getting excited to welcome the country's first set of wild wolf cubs in more than 100 years. Brussels Times

Bald eagles have made a huge comeback in Wisconsin in the last 45 years, thanks to the DDT ban, the passage of endangered species laws, river cleanups under the Clean Water Act and public support for nest monitoring. ABC

11 APRIL 2020 - 27 APRIL 2020

Coal continues its collapse in the EU, falling by 25.5% in the first quarter of 2020, and Austria has become the second European country to exit coal altogether, shutting down its last coal-fired power plant last week. Euractiv

The three largest banks in Japan - the #2 financier of new coal overseas - have just announced they will stop financing new coal power projects. Straits Times

South Korea has become the first Asian country to set a 2050 net zero emissions goal, following a landslide win by its Democratic Party. Electrek

German officials have agreed on an ‘eco-scrappage program’ to promote the uptake of electric vehicles in the country’s post-pandemic economy. Electrek

Poland and Denmark are refusing to bail out organisations based in tax havens, saying assistance will only go to companies paying domestic business taxes. BI

Saudi Arabia has abolished the practice of flogging convicts, and a day later, banned the death sentence for minors. DW

Virginia has become the first Southern state to ban discrimination against LGBTQ people for housing, employment and credit applications. The Hill

Virginia’s governor has also signed new gun controls that increase background checks, limit handgun purchases and establish ‘red flag’ laws. USA Today

A five year old ban preventing pregnant teenagers from attending school in Sierra Leone has been reversed by a new administration. Via News

France will require that all new public buildings must be made at least 50% from wood or other sustainable materials from 2022. Archinect

Remember the insect apocalypse? A new study says the picture is more mixed. While land species have declined by 9% per decade, freshwater species have risen by 11%, possibly due to efforts to clean up rivers and lakes. Science

After disappearing in England in the early 20th century, white-tailed eagles are back, thanks to a pioneering rewilding project. Country Living

Thanks to unprecedented conservation efforts, the number of black rhinos in Africa increased from an estimated 4,845 in 2012 to 5,630 in 2018.

21 MARCH 2020 - 10 APRIL 2020

The British government called for a volunteer army to help the NHS. Within four days, 750,000 people had signed up — three times the original target, and the largest volunteer effort since World War II. WaPo

Support for Medicare for All has skyrocketed. 55% of US voters support it, and support for single-payer healthcare has jumped by 9 points. Morning Consult

New Zealand isn’t just flattening the curve - they’re squashing it, thanks to a masterclass in leadership from Jacinda Ardern. The Conversation

A family business in Adelaide that makes packaging for fast-food giants has swung into action to pump out a staggering 145 million masks. FiveAA

A group of 150 employees at a Tunisian factory have chosen to self-isolate for a month, and are now churning out 50,000 face masks a day. BBC

Shenzhen has become the first city in China to ban the eating of cats and dogs, due to fears of future viral outbreaks. DNA India

Amidst the economic fallout, fossil fuel companies have suffered a total bloodbath. Exxon and Peabody Coal are down a stunning 70% compared to 30% for the broader market. Financial Times

In Pakistan, people are pausing outside stores to offer zakat, the traditional Muslim charity tax, for those in need. BBC

Portugal has given all migrants and asylum-seekers full citizenship to ensure they can access public services for the duration of the outbreak. CNN

In South Africa, crime rates have plummeted following bans on sales of alcohol, and the notorious gangs of the Cape Flats have called a truce. BBC

Shipments of PPE from Jack Ma and Alibaba have arrived in Ethiopia, and are now being distributed across the entire African continent. They include six million masks, over a million testing kits and 60,000 protective suits. Daily News

29 FEBRUARY 2020 - 20 MARCH 2020

Global carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector fell by 2% last year, the biggest fall since at least 1990. Reuters

Over 60% of global coal plants are now generating electricity at a higher cost than building new wind and solar. By 2030, it’ll be 100%. Money talks…

… so expect to see a lot more of this: “Vietnam is eliminating 15GW of planned coal,” and “South Korea is shutting down 28 coal plants in March.”

Tesla has just produced its one millionth electric car — the first company to achieve this milestone. It is now the world’s largest electric car maker. Electrek

Doctors in the DRC are celebrating as the last Ebola patient was sent home this month, marking the end of the most recent outbreak. CNN

Terrorist incidents in Pakistan decreased by 13% in 2019, and deaths from terrorism fell by 40% compared to 2018. Dawn

A new report by UNESCO shows that since 2000, the world has reached gender parity (equal numbers of boys and girls) for primary and secondary education, as well as youth literacy. Only adult literacy now remains.

Malawi has decriminalised cannabis for medicinal and industrial purposes, following in the footsteps of Zimbabwe, Zambia and Lesotho. Guardian

New Zealand has legalised abortion, treating the practice as a health matter rather than a criminal one. People will now be able to access abortions from a health practitioner in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Stuff

In the last few months both Saudi Arabia and Palestine have banned child marriage, making 18 the minimum age for weddings.

In a first for the Arab world, an LGBTQI+ advocacy group has been granted legal protection by Tunisian courts. Al-Monitor

After a decades-long campaign by civil society groups, China has abolished a rule that allowed police to detain sex workers without trial. The Diplomat

Spain is changing its laws to prioritise consent in cases of violence against women. It’s being called the "only yes means yes" law. BBC

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has passed a law declaring that a husband has no right over his wife’s property without her consent. Tribune

In a major victory for press freedom, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has ruled against Ecuador for illegally prosecuting a newspaper. Knight Centre

Peru’s recent crackdown on illegal mining has been a big success, cutting deforestation by 92% since kicking off in February 2019. MAAP

A grassroots effort to restore Appalachia’s mountaintops has seen 187 million trees planted on over 1,000 km² of former mining sites. Seattle Times

Madagascar, one of the planet’s most biodiverse places, has launched a drive to plant 60 million trees to mark 60 years of independence. North Africa Post

In one of the largest reforestation projects in the world, Senegal has planted 152 million mangrove buds in the Casamance Delta in the past decade. BBC

Afghanistan has created its second largest national park, the Bamyan Plateau, home to the ibex, urial and the Persian leopard. Mongabay

15 FEBRUARY 2020 - 28 FEBRUARY 2020

Turkey's renewable energy capacity has increased by 11% every year for the past decade. Clean energy now provides 49% of electricity. Daily Sabah

Following years of pressure from activists, Canadian company Teck Resources is pulling out of planned operations in the oil sands. NYT

Following years of pressure from activists, Norwegian company Equinor is pulling out of planned exploration in the Great Australian Bight. SBS

India says it will stop importing thermal coal in the next four years (no doubt Adani will never bow to years of pressure from activists). Economic Times

Foster care adoptions in the US have reached an all time high. 63,000 kids were adopted in 2018, up by nearly a quarter since 2014. Pew

A landmark ruling by India’s Supreme Court means that women will now be granted the same rights as men in all the country’s armed forces. CNN

Colombia says it will allow hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan migrants to legalise their presence in the country through work permits. Reuters

Between 1990 and 2017, the age-adjusted global death rate for cancer fell by 15%, mostly as a result of the worldwide decline in smoking. OWiD

Singapore has announced a ban on internal combustion engine vehicles by 2040, the first Southeast Asian country to do so. Next Web

China has implemented a complete and permanent ban on the eating, hunting, trading and transportation of all wild animals. SCMP

Blue whale populations are bouncing back. Observers have recorded ‘unprecedented’ numbers in the waters around South Georgia. Independent

1 FEBRUARY 2020 - 14 FEBRUARY 2020

Coal generation in the EU collapsed by 24% in 2019, and is now less than half its level in 2007. This led to a 12% fall in power sector carbon emissions – the biggest fall since 1990. Sandbag

The United Kingdom has brought its ban on petrol and diesel powered cars forward by five years, from 2040 to 2035. BBC

The number of foster care adoptions in the United States has reached a record high, up by almost a quarter since 2014. Pew

Swiss voters have overwhelmingly backed a proposal to make discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and sexual identity illegal. BBC

The proportion of 16-18 year old females in England infected by HPV has dropped to zero. In 2008, when vaccinations began, it was 15%.

The prevalence of female genital mutilation in the Kurdistan region of Iraq has fallen by more than 75% in a single generation. UNFPA

Thanks to new regulations on marketing, Chile has cut the purchases of sugary drinks by nearly a quarter in the last two years. NYT

New York has passed the most bird-friendly building policy in the US, which could reduce collision risks by up to 90%. Architectural Digest

Rhino poaching has dropped significantly in South Africa, the 5th consecutive year of declines following major crackdowns on poaching. News24

The world’s largest manufacturer of chlorpyrifos, a pesticide linked to brain damage, will stop producing the chemical by the end of the year. WaPo

11 JANUARY 2020 - 31 JANUARY 2020

The world’s largest money manager is putting climate at the centre of its $7 trillion strategy (high signal value, less clear on substance). More signals: the world’s most profitable hedge fund manager is forcing companies in its portfolio to reduce emissions and reveal exposure to climate risk.

Solar energy’s share of the power mix in India increased from 7.9% to 9.6% in 2019, and renewables now account for 36% of installed capacity. Mercom

Vietnam went from almost no solar in 2017 to more than Australia by the end of 2019. It’s now ten years ahead of its original clean energy targets. Economist

China’s birthrate has fallen to its lowest level since 1949, and is now below that of England and Wales. Al Jazeera

HIV infections in the UK have plummeted since 2012, especially for gay/bisexual men, falling by 71% due to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). BBC

The Dutch Cancer Registry says that the five year cancer survival rate in the Netherlands has increased from 42% in 1989 to 65% in 2018. NOS

Utah has become the 19th and most conservative state in the United States to ban conversion therapy for minors. NPR

Following improvements in cycling infrastructure, the average number of bicycle trips in Paris has increased by 54% in a single year. T&E

Germany is converting 62 military bases west of the old Iron Curtain into nature reserves for eagles, woodpeckers, bats, and beetles. Independent

Peru has begun reforesting the area around Machu Picchu, with plans to plant one million trees on the site in the next five years. France24

A huge survey of the world’s fisheries says overfishing has been reversed for half the world’s catch, and where fisheries are being managed, stocks are above target levels or rebuilding. Anthropocene

Bangladesh has announced a ban on single-use plastics in all coastal areas and in all hotels and restaurants by the end of 2020. Reuters

China has unveiled a major plan to reduce single-use plastics. Bags will be banned in major cities by the end of 2020 and in all towns by 2022. BBC

1 DECEMBER 2019 - 10 JANUARY 2020

In 2019, renewables produced 43% of electricity in Germany, wind power alone contributed 47% of electricity in Denmark, carbon emissions from electricity in Spain fell by 33%, zero carbon electricity outstripped fossil fuels in the United Kingdom for the first time ever, and in the United States, overall emissions fell by 2.1%.

The WHO says 11 countries received 18 million doses of its new cholera vaccine in 2018, bringing the number of global cases down by 60%. UN

The Philippines has become the first country with a serious vitamin A deficiencies to approve genetically modified golden rice.  New Scientist

US cancer death rates dropped 29% between 1991 to 2017, and the most recent update saw the largest single-year decline in mortality ever reported. NYT

Pakistan’s security forces are reporting a 31% reduction in terror and counter-terror related deaths in 2019. The Tribune

As of last month, more than half of Colombia’s municipalities are free of landmines, and the country is on track to remove all mines by 2021. Reuters

Indian Railways recorded zero passenger deaths in rail accidents in 2019, making it the national transporter's safest year in history. Economic Times

Child marriage in Bangladesh has dropped by two thirds in the past 20 years, and the country is on track to for zero under-15 marriages by 2021. IFPRI

Tunisia has become the first Arab nation to begin providing sex education for elementary and middle school students. Washington Post

Following a major drive to tackle pollution, water quality in China has improved significantly: since 2003, average chemical oxygen demand is down 63% and ammonium nitrogen levels have dropped by 78%.

China has also banned all commercial fishing on the Yangtze – the first ban ever for Asia’s longest river - to restore aquatic life. SCMP

As of the 1st January 2020, single-use plastic plates, cups, and cotton buds are not allowed in France; straws and cutlery will follow in 2021. France24

9 NOVEMBER 2019 - 29 NOVEMBER 2019

The world’s largest multilateral financial institution, The European Investment Bank, has agreed to stop all financing for fossil fuels within the next two years. Guardian

New Zealand has passed a bill to reach zero carbon by 2050, will plant a billion trees in the next decade, and run its grid entirely from clean energy by 2035. Independent

India and Pakistan have opened a peace corridor on their border, allowing Sikhs to visit their second holiest site for the first time in 72 years. Al Jazeera

The number of children dying from pneumonia, "the ultimate disease of poverty," has decreased from 6,410 per day in 1990 to 2,216 per day in 2017. OWiD

Germany has passed a law requiring all children attending school to be immunised, with fines for parents who do not comply. NYT

Cigarette smoking among US adults has reached an all-time low of 13.7% — a decline of approximately two-thirds in the last 50 years. CDC

A new survey across 167 countries has shown that tolerance towards LGBTQIA+ people has risen in almost every region of the world in the last decade. Japan Times

The United States has passed a new law outlawing animal cruelty, punishable with fines and up to seven years imprisonment. WaPo

Thailand will phase out all plastics that degrade into fragments by the end of this year, and will ban plastic bags, styrofoam, cups and straws by 2022. Xinhua

Zambia's government has bowed to pressure and banned any future mining activities in the lower reaches of the Zambezi River. Zambian Eye

19 OCTOBER 2019 - 8 NOVEMBER 2019

The largest private coal company in the United States has filed for bankruptcy, the fourth major fossil fuels company to go under there this year. #MAGA. Bloomberg

The Australian electricity grid reached a new milestone in the first week of November 2019: for a few minutes, solar, wind and hydro met more than 50% of demand. Guardian

According to the World Bank, India has halved its poverty rate in the past 30 years, and zero extreme poverty in the next decade is now within reach.

Type 3 polio has officially become the second species of poliovirus to be eliminated. Only Type 1 now remains - and only in Pakistan and Afghanistan. STAT

In the biggest breakthrough for cystic fibrosis in decades, a new drug that targets the genetic roots of the disease has been approved by the FDA. WaPo

Between 1990 and 2019, cancer mortality rates fell by 18% in Argentina, 26% in Chile, 14% in Colombia, 17% in Mexico and 13% in Venezuela, corresponding to almost 500,000 avoided deaths. Int J Cancer

Northern Ireland has officially legalised the right of women to decide what to do with their own bodies, and the right of people to marry anyone they choose. HRW

The murder rate in India has dropped to its lowest level in 54 years. Traditional theories of criminal justice are at a loss to explain why. Times of India

Toxic air pollution in London has fallen by roughly a third inside a new ultra low emissions zone that was launched 6 months ago. NPR

After an 18 year campaign, environmental campaigners have successfully saved one of the most important wetland areas in the Balkans from development. MongaBay

In a watershed moment for environmentalists and community activists, fracking has been halted in the United Kingdom with immediate effect. BBC

5 OCTOBER 2019 - 18 OCTOBER 2019

In the third quarter of 2019, wind, solar, biomass and hydro generated more electricity than coal, oil and gas in the United Kingdom. Carbon Brief

Carbon emissions are now falling in 30 of the world's cities, averaging 22% below their peak. Curious to know if you live in one of them? Check it out. CityLab

A new study covering 90% of the world's population shows the international homicide rate has dropped by 20% since 1990. Eureka Alert

Bolivia has been more effective at combating extreme poverty than any other South American country, slashing it from 33% in 2006 to 15% in 2018. WaPo

Nepal has been declared as an open defecation free country. Eight years ago, 9 million people did not have access to clean sanitation facilities. Rising Nepal

30,000 children in Cambodia have been rescued from hard labour in the past five years, and 180,000 prevented from being child workers. Phnom Penh Post

Nigeria, in partnership with the WHO, just immunized over 51 million children in a single month during its annual national immunization campaign. ReliefWeb

Sometimes you have to wonder what it takes to make the headlines. Children must be an easy sell right? WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN??!! Apparently not. Save the Children just released their 2019 Global Childhood Report showing that in the last 20 years, children's lives have improved in 173 out of 176 countries. Today there are:

  • 4.4 million fewer child deaths per year
  • 49 million fewer stunted children
  • 130 million more children in school
  • 94 million fewer child laborers
  • 11 million fewer girls forced into marriage or married early
  • 3 million fewer teen births per year
  • 12,000 fewer child homicides per year

Not a peep from media outlets anywhere…

Grown-ups don't get a look in either. Did you hear that stroke rates for US adults over the age of 65 have decreased by 32% each decade for the last 30 years. Reuters

Under the United States' Affordable Care Act (ACA), nearly 2 million diabetics, many of them poor, have received access to health insurance. US News

Sales of plastic bags in England’s largest supermarkets have fallen by 90% in the four years since the government introduced a 5p levy. ICAEW

The Welsh government just planted the ten millionth tree in the heavily-deforested region of Mount Elgon region in eastern Uganda. The Ecologist

Bottlenose dolphins are living and breeding in the Potomac River again for the first time since the 1880s, following 50 years of restoration efforts. Smithsonian

New surveys suggest there are now 25,000 individuals humpback whales in the southwest Atlantic - back to 90% of pre-whaling levels. BBC

For the first time since 1870, herds of bison are roaming the Badlands National Park in South Dakota. 1,200 bison now have 80,000 acres to graze. WWF

21 SEPTEMBER 2019 - 4 OCTOBER 2019

Australia's per capita levels of clean energy are the fastest growing in the world. Between 2018 and 2020, Australia will install 220 watts per person per year - nearly three times more than the next fastest country, Germany. The Conversation

The largest retail company in the world says it will run entirely on renewable energy by 2030 and will be fully carbon neutral by 2040. The Verge

Nine Latin American countries just set a collective target of 70% renewable energy use by 2030, more than double what the European Union is planning. Reuters

Melanoma is one of the most common forms of cancer in the UK. Ten years ago, one in twenty people survived. Today the survival rate is more than 50%. BBC

Russian alcohol consumption has decreased by 43% since 2003. As a result average life expectancy in 2018 reached its highest level ever. BBC

Italian officials are saying that after a decades long battle, the Sicilian Mafia has been brought to its knees and is now a ghost of its former self. Guardian

Abortion is now legal in every state in Australia, Oaxaca has become the second state in Mexico to give women autonomy over their own bodies and in the US, abortion rates have reached their lowest level since Roe vs. Wade in 1973. CNN

In 1990 the global annual death rate for children under the age of five was 82 for every 1,000 live births. In 2018, it was 37 per 1,000 live births. WaPo

The literacy rate for Palestinians over the age of 15 has increased from 86.1% in 1997 to 97.2% in 2018. Palestine Chronicle

China now has equal numbers of girls and boys in primary and high school, and more than half of university students are women, from less than a quarter in 1978. Xinhua

A new report on the social performance of 149 countries in the last five years, using indicators like nutrition, shelter, safety, education, health, rights and inclusiveness, says only four countries have regressed overall since 2014. First Post

China's tree stock rose by 4.56 billion m³ between 2005 and 2018, deserts are shrinking by 2,400 km² a year, and forests now account for 22% of land area. SCMP

7 SEPTEMBER 2019 - 20 SEPTEMBER 2019

Coal shipments to the United States have fallen to their lowest since 1983 - and the dramatic reduction of coal in the country's energy mix has reduced deaths from air pollution and cut the cost of damages by more than $200 billion. Ars Technica

The number of cigarettes being smoked in the UK fell by nearly a quarter between 2011 and 2018 - meaning 1.4 billion fewer cigarettes smoked every year. Cancer UK

Saudi Arabia says women may now travel overseas, register births, marriage & divorce, receive family documents and be eligible as guardians to minors. Reuters

Indonesia has lifted the minimum legal age for marriage to 19. Previously, girls of 16 could be married (and there was no minimum age if parents requested it). Reuters

The United States' poverty rate has reached its lowest point since 2001. There were 1.4 million fewer people living in poverty in 2018 than in 2017. US Census

The Canadian government has lifted almost 900,000 people out of poverty since 2016, including 300,000 children. CBC

The Asian Development Bank says that Pakistan's extreme poverty rate fell from 28.6% of total population in 2001 to 3.9% in 2015. APP

California has banned the operation of private prisons - a major victory for criminal justice reform because it removes the profit motive from incarceration. Guardian

Four years after the WHO declared Delhi the world’s most polluted city, the government has announced that pollution has dropped by 25%. Indian Express

A year ago, Chile began a campaign to ban plastic straws. Since then, 200 million fewer straws have been delivered to shops and restaurants. Emol

11 AUGUST 2019 - 6 SEPTEMBER 2019

Refugees are integrating into Germany's job market far quicker than expected. Around 400,000 people of working age are now employed. The Local

Five months after the 'ghost battalion' overthrew the dictatorship, Sudan's leaders have signed a landmark deal for transition to civilian government. Al Jazeera

Speaking of Sudan, a campaign begun in April 2019 has managed to provide 13 million children with vaccines against measles and polio. ReliefWeb

Dementia is declining in Australia. The hospitalisation rate has dropped by almost a quarter – from 408 per 100,000 people in 2007 to 313 in 2017. AAA

A new cure for tuberculosis (the world's leading infectious cause of death) has been approved by the US FDA, clearing the path for global distribution. NYT

The new Ebola vaccine is working miracles. Over 200,000 people have been innoculated, and the mortality rate has dropped from 70% to as low as 6%. The Brink

Canada's government has partnered with Inuit custodians to create its largest marine reserve ever. The country now protects 14% of its oceans. National Observer

In the first half of 2019, Beijing reported its lowest level of air pollutants since the city first started monitoring air quality 35 years ago. CX Tech

169 countries at the UN have just agreed to significant new protections for elephants, giraffes, sharks and rays and dozens of other species. New Scientist

More than 100 seal pups have been born on the shores of the Thames, 60 years after the river was declared 'biologically dead.' Telegraph

NASA says that the number of fires around the world is decreasing. Between 2003 and 2019, the area of land being burned has fallen by around 25%

20 JULY 2019 - 10 AUGUST 2019

Electricity generation from coal power stations across Europe fell by nearly one fifth in the first half of 2019, the steepest decline ever recorded. New Scientist

In the second quarter of 2019 the Tesla Model 3 was not only the best selling car in its segment in the United States, but outsold all of its petrol and diesel powered equivalents combined. Elektrek

Last year, Japan saw its population decrease by over 444,000 people, the tenth straight year of declines, and the largest annual decrease since the end of World War Two. Mercatornet

Sri Lanka has been declared free of measles, the fourth country in south-east Asia to reach this milestone after Bhutan, Maldives and Timor-Leste. The country reported its last homegrown case of the virus in May 2016. WHO

Americans are becoming more tolerant. A major survey of attitudes towards sexuality, race, skin tone, age, disability and body weight has shown that explicit bias has decreased in all six categories since 2007; ranging from 49% (sexuality) to 15% (body weight). Implicit bias also decreased—33% for sexuality, 17% for race and 15% for skin tone. Scientific American

A decade ago, Scotland adopted a nationwide ban on indoor smoking. Over the next decade there was a 13% reduction in heart attacks for people over the age of 60. Reuters

Panama has become the first Central American nation to ban single-use plastic bags, joining more than 60 other countries that have passed total or partial bans, or introduced taxes to reduce their use. Reuters

Ethiopia has smashed the world record for tree planting. Led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, millions of Ethiopians planted more than 350 million trees in 12 hours on the 29th July. BBC

Since 1990, thanks to better protection and a decline in farming, France’s wooded or forested areas have increased by nearly 7%. Forests now cover 31% of the country. Economist

The population of tigers is recovering in India. The tiger population has risen from 2,226 in 2014 to 2,967 in 2018, an increase of over one third. This is a major conservation success. BBC

6 JULY 2019 - 19 JULY 2019

In the first six months of 2019, sun, wind, water and biomass produced more electricity in Germany, the world's fourth largest economy, than coal and nuclear combined. DW

In the first six months of 2019, Scottish wind turbines generated enough electricity to power 4.47 million homes - almost double the number of homes in Scotland. CNBC

According to the United Nations, in 2018, global HIV-related deaths fell to 770,000, 33% lower than in 2010 when 1.2 million deaths were recorded. DW

A new report by UNESCO says that between 2006 and 2016, India, Ethiopia and Peru achieved significant improvements in nutrition, sanitation, child mortality, drinking water, schooling, electricity access and housing. India alone lifted 271 million people out of poverty during this period. Understandably there's been wall-to-wall coverage of this story on every major global news channel. The Hindu

New diabetes cases in the US have declined by 35% since 2009, the longest decline since the government started tracking the statistic nearly 40 years ago. STAT

Mali has announced it will begin providing free healthcare for pregnant women and children under five. Universal healthcare, not just for rich countries. Guardian

Drug overdose deaths in America declined by around 5% last year, the first drop since 1990. It's almost entirely due to better control of opioid painkillers. NYT

Last year crime rates in the 30 largest cities in the US declined by 3.5%, violent crime by 4% and murders by 8%. Did someone just say 'hellholes?' Brennan Centre

Ethiopia has kicked off a new campaign to plant four billion trees and will monitor progress with a satellite the country is launching in November.

Since introducing new fuel efficiency rules a decade ago New York has cut nitrous oxide and particulate emissions from taxis by 82% and 49%, respectively. Nature

Costa Rica has just signed a new law banning the importation, commercialisation and delivery of all styrofoam containers and packaging. Costa Rica News

South Africa has nearly doubled its number of marine protected areas, increasing the proportion of conserved territorial waters from 0.4% to 5.4%. Cape Talk

For the first time in 17 years there will be no commercial whaling in Iceland after the sole company certified to hunt whales failed to renew its license in time. Newsweek

15 JUNE 2019 - 5 JULY 2019

Los Angeles has announced the largest, cheapest solar + storage project in the world, at half the cost of a new natural gas plant. Wright's Law FTW. Forbes

Ireland has joined the growing list of countries that say new petrol and diesel powered vehicles will not be allowed on the roads after 2030. BBC

8.8 million Nepalis have gained access to electricity since 2010, and officials say the country is on track for universal access by 2022. Kathmandu Post

Heart disease rates in the UK have declined significantly - it's still the leading cause of mortality, but deaths have decreased by almost half since 2005. Telegraph

Good news from North Korea. According to the WHO, smoking rates have declined by 8.4% since 2012, thanks to a government-led anti-smoking campaign. DailyNK

Rates of HPV in Britain have fallen by 86% among young women aged 15 to 19 since they started being vaccinated in schools in 2008. Times

UNESCO says that 19 African countries have reached gender parity (equal numbers of boys and girls) in primary education in the past decade. Brookings

Kenya's High Court has ruled that rape survivors have the right to an abortion, a landmark ruling in a country where abortion is still illegal. Reuters

An estimated 10,000 LGBTQIA+ teens in the US have been protected from conversion therapy in states that have banned the practice since 2012. NBC

Canada has passed its most progressive Fisheries Act in history; for the first time since 1868, there's a legally binding requirement to rebuild fish populations. Oceana

The Scottish government has met its annual tree planting targets for the first time. 11,200 hectares were planted last year, a significant increase on 2017. BBC

Since 2000, the area of land dedicated for livestock pasture around the world has declined by 1.4 million square kilometers — an area the size of Peru. MongaBay

Thanks to rigorous anti-poaching strategies, one of Africa’s largest wildlife reserves has just gone a year without losing a single elephant. Independent

1 JUNE 2019 - 14 JUNE 2019

Germany produced 47% of its electricity from clean sources in the first five months of 2019, putting it well ahead of its 2025 targets. Renew Economy

The number of people killed in wars around the world has reached it lowest level in seven years, and battle fatalities have fallen by 43% since 2014. PRIO

In a landmark victory for Africa's LGBTQI+ activists, Botswana's High Court has decriminalized homesexuality, overturning a colonial-era law. Independent

The number of malaria cases in India was cut by almost half last year, an indication that the country’s malaria elimination programme is succeeding. HT

In Rwanda, 95% of babies are now receiving vaccinations for rubella, measles and polio, and it's also on track to be the first country to eliminate cervical cancer. CNN

Inspired by the EU, Canada has announced it will phase out harmful single use plastics, such as water bottles, plastic bags and straws, by 2021. HuffPo

Vietnamese authorities have banned herbicides containing glyphosate after it was discovered that the substance causes cancer. Asia Times

Israel has partnered with seven other, mostly Muslim countries, to collaborate on a research project in the Red Sea. Science diplomacy FTW. Times of Israel

Canada has banned whales, dolphins and porpoises in captivity, as well as the trade, possession, capture and breeding of cetaceans. NPR

An area nearly twice the size of England will become a 'blue belt' of protected waters after the government created 41 new marine conservation zones. Guardian

18 MAY 2019 - 31 MAY 2019

The UK's astonishing coal free run continues - 13 days and counting. The National Grid says the country has not switched on its coal plants since 18th of May.

Algeria and Argentina have officially eliminated malaria. That means there are now 38 countries free from one of humanity's most devastating killers. CNN

The AIHW says that more people are surviving cancer in Australia than ever before. Since 1989, the mortality rate has dropped by 32% for men and by 21% for women.

In the last three decades, dementia rates in Europe and North America have declined by an average of 15% per decade (and they're also declining in Australia).

The WHO has officially decided to remove 'gender identity disorder' from its list of mental illnesses. Welcome to the 21st century folks. CBS

A majority in Brazil's Supreme Court has voted in favour of criminalising homophobia and transphobia, making them the equivalent of racism. BBC

In 2018, employment reached its highest ever rate in Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany, and 22 other OECD countries. Did someone just say robots? Economist

New research says US states that legalised marijuana have experienced a remarkable decline in serious injury from domestic violence. C'mon 'Straya. Green State

Bangladesh has banned all fishing off its coast for 65 days. All vessels will be covered by the ban, and it will be carefully enforced by coast guards. BBC

Staggering numbers of whales are being sighted off the shores of New York. Cleaner waters have caused a 540% increase in numbers in just eight years. Newsweek

4 MAY 2019 - 17 MAY 2019

Last year, more global coal capacity was closed than approved for the first time since the 19th century, and the UK just had its first coal-free week since 1882. BBC

Chile has reached its 2025 clean energy targets six years ahead of schedule, and says it's now on track for 70% electricity from renewables by 2030. BN Americas

The world's largest car supplier, Bosch, says it will be fully carbon neutral by 2020, making it the first major industrial company to take that step. Reuters

Big new dataset here, we've been waiting for this for a while. The proportion of people in extreme poverty has fallen from 36% in 1990 to 8.6% in 2018. Absolute numbers are down from 1.9 billion in 1990 to 610 million in 2018. ODI

The 2019 election in India is on track for the highest turnout in history, driven by unprecedented numbers of women voters, who may be the majority this year. Quartz

The number of people incarcerated in American prisons has declined again, to 1.48 million people, down from 1.61 million in 2009. Washington Post

New Global Burden of Disease Report says that between 1990 and 2017, deaths of kids and teenagers decreased by 51.7%, from 13.77 million to 6.64 million. CNN

The United Nations says that 187 countries have agreed to control the movement of plastic waste between national borders, in an effort to curb waste. CNN

Tanzania has become the latest country to implement a plastic ban. From the 1st June, no one will be allowed to produce, import, sell or use plastic bags. WWF

California, the United States' most productive agricultural state, has banned a widely used pesticide blamed for harming brain development in babies. Associated Press

Costa Rica has doubled its forest cover in the last 30 years; half its land surface is now covered with trees, a huge carbon sink and a big draw for tourists. NYT

19 APRIL 2019 - 3 MAY 2019

Renewable energy use in Japan in the last fiscal year increased by 10%, and emissions fell by 1.2% - the fourth straight year of decline. Japan Times

New York just passed a law requiring any new building to have a roof with either plants, solar panels, wind turbines, or a combination of all three. Dwell

The UN says that family planning and more education have caused a 'significant decline' in India’s population growth rate since 2010. The Print

A new Ebola vaccine given to more than 90,000 people in the DRC has been shown to be 97.5% effective. Next challenge? Distribution. STAT

The Philippines has passed a Universal Health Care Act, entitling all of its 107 million citizens to health insurance and access to medical treatment. WHO

Malawi has become the first country to begin immunising children against malaria, and similar programmes are about to start in Kenya and Ghana. Independent

Deaths after surgery in Scotland have dropped by more than a third since 2008, thanks to the use of a safety checklist. Sometimes, the solutions are simple. BBC

China says it's lifting a law that requires animal testing for cosmetic products. From 2020, non-animal tests will be the preferred method. IIVS

The indigenous Waorani community of Ecuador has won a landmark case against oil companies, protecting 180,000 hectares of their land against exploitation. Al Jazeera

Canada has unveiled new standards for its marine protected areas, banning all oil-and-gas activity, as well as mining, dumping and bottom-trawling. Globe & Mail

Chile has formally taken over the management of 407,000 hectares of pristine national parks, thanks to the largest private land donation in history. Reuters

30 MARCH 2019 - 18 APRIL 2019

Malawi has eliminated trachoma, the second African country to do so after Ghana. In 2014 more than 8 million people were at risk. Today, that number is zero.

The introduction of routine HPV vaccinations for young women in Scotland ten years ago has wiped out 90% of cases of cervical pre-cancer. BBC

In an effort to reduce period poverty, British Columbia has become the first Canadian province to provide free tampons and pads to all students. CBC

Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions fell by 4.2% in 2018, the first major decrease in Europe’s biggest economy in four years. Associated Press

In Madrid, a ban on vehicles in the city centre has reduced levels of nitrogen oxide by 38%, and Barcelona is now planning a similar ban for next year.

Paris has ordered 800 new electric buses as it begins the process of replacing its old fleet. It's the largest public EV order in European history. Elektrek

Chicago is now the largest city in the United States to commit to getting 100% of its energy from clean sources. PV Magazine

Between 2000 and 2015, houses with adequate sanitation, sufficient living area and reliable construction doubled in sub-Saharan Africa, from 11% to 23%. Nature

The Gambia has become the 22nd country to ratify the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), meaning it now has enough signatories to go into force. This is a massive boost - the biggest free trade agreement since the WTO. WEF

South Korea used to recycle 2% of its food waste. In 2013, the government introduced compulsory collection. Now they recycle 95%. C'mon Australia. HuffPo

Germany has closed its last fur farm three years ahead of schedule, signalling the end of the fur trade in yet another European country. PETA

Ecologists have confirmed that the Netherlands has its first resident wolf population in 140 years, and that the first Dutch wolf pack could be months away. BBC

Belize has approved a plan to protect 12% of its territorial waters, doubling the size of ocean reserves around the world’s second largest barrier reef. Reuters

15 MARCH 2019 - 29 MARCH 2019

Volkswagen, the largest car manufacturer in the world, responsible for 1% of global carbon emissions, has committed to going fully carbon neutral by 2050. NYT

America has officially entered coal cost crossover. 74% of existing coal plants now cost more to operate than to replace with wind and solar. Utility Dive

Between 10th and 17th March, Germany got 72.6% of its electricity from renewable energy resources. Did someone just say "baseload power?" Renew Economy

In January 2015, at the height of ISIS's power, 7.7 million people were estimated to live under its rule. As of last week, that number is zero. CNN

Between 2010 and 2013, India ran a measles vaccination campaign. A new study estimates that it saved the lives of about 50,000 children. Nature

This year will see almost two billion people in 50 countries vote, the largest number in history. Did someone just say "death of democracy?" Al Jazeera

Indian tech billionaire Azim Premji is giving away $21 billion to philanthropy, the fifth largest endowment in the world and the biggest in Asia. ET Tech

Clever win by animal rights activists. Australia has passed a law that prevents companies using data from animal testing for developing cosmetics. The Age

Deep in the frozen forests of Russia's far east, the Siberian tiger is staging a quiet comeback, thanks to government-led conservation efforts. CBC

23 FEBRUARY 2019 - 14 MARCH 2019

The biggest global story you haven't heard about right now is India's sanitation drive. Since 2014, 90 million toilets have been built, 93% of households now have access, and 500 million people have stopped defecating in the open. Economic Times

California, the fifth largest economy in the world, has reached its 33% clean energy target two years ahead of schedule, and petrol sales are officially decreasing.

The UK, the sixth largest economy in the world, has reduced its carbon emissions for the sixth year in a row. The last time emissions were this low was 1888. Carbon Brief

The Finnish parliament has approved a ban on the use of all coal to produce energy by 2029. After that date, coal will only be allowed in an emergency. Reuters

Canada's poverty rate has reached the lowest level ever recorded. The proportion of people below the poverty line is now 9.5%, down from 15.6% in 2006. CBC

Using a new data-based approach, three cities in the United States have ended chronic homelessness, and nine have ended veteran homelessness. FastCo

In a bid to curb obesity, London's public transport authority will no longer allow advertising for unhealthy food anywhere on its network. BBC

The Indian state of Tamil Nadu, home to 80 million people, has imposed a full ban on the usage, manufacture, storage, supply and sale of single use plastic. ICD

New Zealand just expanded the Kahurangi National Park by 64,000 hectares, the largest addition of land to a national park in the country's history. NZ Herald

In the last five years, Kenya's poaching rates have dropped by 85% for rhinos and 78% for elephants. In 2018, elephant poaching alone dropped by 50%.

9 FEBRUARY 2019 -  22 FEBRUARY 2019

Sales of fossil-fuelled vehicles are now officially on the decline in the world’s three largest car markets: China, Europe and the United States. Clean Technica

Remember bird flu, the disease that was going to be the next global pandemic? There hasn't been a single H5N1 human infection since February 2017. STAT

Global health experts at the UN have recommended that marijuana and its key components be formally rescheduled under international drug treaties. Forbes

Pakistan experienced an unprecedented drop in violence last year. Violence-related casualties declined by 45%, and have dropped by 86% since 2013. The News

The rate of victimisation from violent crimes for teenagers in the United States is now one sixth of what it was in the mid 1990s. Child Trends

The US Senate has passed its most sweeping conservation legislation in a decade, protecting 1.3 million acres and withdrawing 370,000 acres from mining. LA Times

After watching an animated film about abandoned dogs, the mayor of Seoul has announced the city will shut down all remaining dog butcheries. Korea Times

The number of rhinos killed by poachers fell by 25% last year thanks to South Africa's efforts to save the endangered species, the fifth annual decrease in a row.

Satellite data from NASA says that compared to the early 2000s, the planet now has five million extra square kilometres of green leaf area per year – a 5% increase.

25 JANUARY 2019 -  8 FEBRUARY 2019

Germany, the fourth largest consumer of coal on the planet, has announced it will shut down all 84 power plants in the next 19 years. C'mon Australia. LA Times

India added 17.6 GW of power generation capacity in 2018 (the equivalent of nine Hoover Dams) and 74% of it was clean, mostly solar. Clean Technica

Sweden has announced a ban on the sale of gasoline and diesel engines after 2030, joining Denmark, India, the Netherlands, Ireland and Israel. Electrive

As predicted, global terror attacks fell by 33% last year, and deaths halved. Attacks by Daesh fell by 71%. Naturally this was front page news everywhere. IHS

The WHO says there are now adequate supplies of the new Ebola vaccine to control the latest outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. STAT

Big legal milestone for human rights in Europe. Germans can now choose 'diverse' as an option for gender on their birth certificates and other records. NYT

Angola has become the latest African country to decriminalise same-sex conduct, overturning the penal code it inherited from colonisation. HRW

The largest rewilding project in Australian history, the Great Southern Ark, has just begun on the Yorke Peninsula, providing a safe haven for 20 native species.

Tanzania has created a new protected area, the Magombera Reserve, protecting the endangered Udzungwa red colobus monkey and Verdcourt's Polyalthia tree. PSMag

1 JANUARY 2019 -  24 JANUARY 2019

Nothing like a little east west rivalry to speed up the energy transition. New York just one-upped California, committing to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040. Utility Dive

In the last four years, the Indian government has provided 100 million families with gas connections, meaning they no longer have to cook over wood stoves. The Print

It's now looking very likely that 2018 was the peak year globally for sales of cars with internal combustion engines. The EV revolution is here folks. The Drive

The Powering Past Coal Alliance has added two more countries to its list, with Senegal and Israel announcing that they will stop all use of coal by 2030. Reuters

The Economist is reporting that democracy had a good year in 2018. Only 42 countries experienced a decline, while 48 improved. Progress isn't a straight line.

The Malaysian government has started providing free healthcare insurance for the country's poorest 40%, providing coverage against 36 critical illnesses. Malay Mail

The number of suicides in Japan dropped by 3.4% last year, the ninth annual decrease in a row, and the lowest rate since records began in 1978. Japan Today

The latest Global Terrorism Index says terrorism deaths dropped by 27% in 2017, the third consecutive year of improvement. 2018 is on track to be even better.

The number of financial institutions that fund banned cluster bombs fell from 166 in 2017, to 88 in 2018, and investments fell from $31 billion to $9 billion. Swiss Info

South Korea's ban on plastic bags has just kicked in and so has a ban on single use plastics in Bali, largely thanks to a five year campaign by two teenage sisters.

Argentina has created two new marine parks in the South Atlantic, covering an area of 96,000 square kilometres, bringing total protected ocean waters to 8%. Nat Geo

1 DECEMBER 2018 - 13 DECEMBER 2018

The world’s largest maritime shipping company is slowly ditching fossil fuels, and has just committed to eliminating all of its carbon emissions by the year 2050. It’s a key moment for maritime shipping. Quartz

Last year, 120 million people gained access to electricity. That means that for the first time in history, the number of people without access is less than one billion. IEA

Germany has announced one of the most ambitious waste management schemes in history. The government plans to recycle 63% of its total waste within the next four years,  up from 36% today. DW

Following a ban by two of its biggest retailers, Australia has cut its plastic bag usage by 80% in the last three months, saving 1.5 billions bags from entering the waste stream. NY Post

Since 2010, global HIV/AIDS infection rates have fallen by 16% in adults and by 35% for children. Most countries are on track to eliminate infections by 2030. Undark

Tunisia has become the first Arab nation to pass a law giving women and men equal inheritance, overturning an old provision of Sharia Islamic law. Dhaka Tribune

25 million doses of a new cholera vaccine have been administered globally, and five countries are preparing to run the largest vaccination drive in history. UNICEF

Jean Paul Gaultier has become the latest fashion designer to ban fur, joining Gucci, Versace, Armani, and just about every major fashion house. Independent

9 NOVEMBER 2018 - 30 NOVEMBER 2018

A little perspective. Global suicide rates have dropped by 38% since 1994, saving 4 million lives, four times the number killed in combat during that time. Economist

Cigarette use among Americans has dropped to its lowest level since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention started collecting data in 1965. CNN

In the DRC, doctors are winning the war on sleeping sickness. At the turn of the century there were 30,000 cases. Last year, there were 1,100. Guardian

More ammo for fun conversations with population-obsessed baby boomers. The global fertility rate (average number of children a woman gives birth to) has halved since 1950. Half the world's countries are now below replacement levels. BBC  

Scotland is the first country in the world to include teaching of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex rights into its state schools curriculum. The Scotsman

Officials in South Korea are bulldozing the country's largest dog slaughterhouse. The reason? Years of campaigning by activists, and shifting tastes in millenials. BBC

The Republic of Congo has created its fifth national park, protecting western lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, elephants and other threatened wildlife. MongaBay

27 OCTOBER 2018 - 8 NOVEMBER 2018

The United States is on track to set a new record for coal plant closures this year, with 22 plants in 14 states totalling 15.4GW of capacity going dark. #MAGA. Clean Technica

Spain will shut down most of its coalmines by the end of this year, after the government agreed to early retirement for miners, re-skilling and environmental restoration. Guardian

In the last two decades, female genital mutilation has fallen from 57.7% to 14.1% in north Africa, from 73.6% to 25.4% in west Africa, and from 71.4% to 8% in east Africa. Guardian

Nepal has become the 54th country in the world, and the first country in South Asia, to pass a law banning corporal punishment for children. End Corporal Punishment

According to a new report by UNICEF, Bangladesh has reduced its child mortality rate by 78% since 1990, the largest reduction by any country in the world. Kinder-World

The Portuguese parliament has just passed a new law, approved with support of left-wing and right-wing lawmakers, banning the use of wild animals in circuses by 2024.

The United Nations says that the ozone hole will be fully healed over the Arctic and the northern hemisphere by the 2030s, and in the rest of the world by 2060. Gizmodo

The European Parliament has voted for an extensive ban on single-use plastics, estimated to make up over 70% of marine litter. It will come into effect in 2021. Independent

250 of the world's major brands, including Coca Cola, Kellogs and Nestle, have agreed that 100% of their plastic packaging will be reused, recycled or composted by 2025. BBC

$10 billion (the largest amount ever for ocean conservation) has just been committed in Bali for the protection of 14 million square kilometres of the world’s oceans. MongaBay

The Kofan people of Sinangoe, in the Ecuadorian Amazon, have won a landmark legal battle to protect the headwaters of the Aguarico River, nullifying 52 mining concessions and freeing up more than 32, 000 hectares of primary rainforest. Amazon Frontlines

We usually try to keep our heads above the fray, but we can't help ourselves this time around. One of the big winners in the recent US midterms? SCIENCE. Nine new members of Congress have STEM or medical backgrounds and at least six have kept their seats. So good. Bloomberg

12 OCTOBER 2018 - 26 OCTOBER 2018

India installed 4.9GW of solar in the first half of this year, meaning it is now the second largest installer in the world for 2018 (first place is China). #MEGA. The Hindu

New York City, home to 8.6 million people, just went a whole weekend without any shootings for the first time in more than a decade. #MAGA? Time

Thanks to tougher anti gun laws, between 1990 and 2016, the rate of deaths from firearms in Australia went from 3.4 deaths per 100,000 people to 1 per 100,000. JCU

Malaysia has abolished the death penalty for all crimes and has halted all pending executions, a move hailed by human rights groups in Asia as a major victory. SMH

This one goes out to all our Malthusian fans. The United Nations says India’s fertility rate has halved since 1980, thanks to better family planning and fewer unwanted pregnancies.

Abiy Ahmed strikes again. Ethiopia now has the most diverse government in the country's history, with women ministers making up 50% of the new cabinet. Face2FaceAfrica

Marijuana is now legal in Canada. A major crack in the grass ceiling, and a wonderful moment for fans of evidence-based decision making everywhere. BBC

Thanks to stricter catch limits and better monitoring, the population of eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna has increased from 300,000 tons in 2005 to 530,000 tons today. NatGeo

27 SEPTEMBER 2018 - 11 OCTOBER 2018

Quietly and unannounced, humanity has just crossed an extraordinary milestone. For the first time in 10,000 years, more than half of the world is middle class. Brookings

The Journal of Peace Research says that global deaths from state based conflicts have declined for the third year in a row, and are now 32% lower than their peak in 2014.

Following 30 years of public health efforts, Malaysia has become the first country in the Western Pacific to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. MalayMail

According to the WHO, teenage drinking has declined across Europe, the continent with the highest rates of drinking in the world. The country with the largest decline? Britain.

It's not just the kids. Suicides among elderly Britons have dropped so much that the country now has one of the lowest rates in the rich world. Economist

Honduras had the highest homicide rate in the world in 2012. Murders have decreased by half since then, more than any other nation. Here's how they did it. Ozy

Denmark is the latest country to announce a ban on internal combustion engines. It will stop the sale of petrol or diesel cars in 2030, and hybrids by 2035. Bloomberg

Following China's ban on ivory last year, 90% of Chinese support it, ivory demand has dropped by almost half, and poaching rates are falling in places like Kenya. WWF

14 SEPTEMBER 2018 - 26 SEPTEMBER 2018

Japan's Marbeni, one of the world’s biggest power developers, has just announced it will no longer be building any new coal plants. Just 1,600 more plants to go! Quartz

A new global youth survey says that young people in all countries are more optimistic than adults, though there is widespread dissatisfaction with politicians. Nine in 10 teenagers in Kenya, Mexico, China, Nigeria and India report feeling positive about their future. Guardian

According to the UNDP, 271 million people in India moved out of poverty between 2005 and 2016, and the country's poverty rate has been cut nearly in half. Times of India

Youth crime in California has fallen so dramatically that many state detention centres, built in the 1990s in anticipation of a crime wave, are now sitting empty. Voice of San Diego

Theresa Kachindamoto, a female chief in Malawi, has established a new law to prevent child marriage and has annulled 850 child marriages across the country to date. Femalista

Three years after India made it compulsory to use plastic waste in road construction, there are now 100,000 kilometres of plastic roads in the country. Himalayan Times

Deforestation in Indonesia fell by 60% last year, as a result of a ban on clearing peatlands, new educational campaigns and better law enforcement. Ecowatch

The population of wild tigers in Nepal has nearly doubled in the last nine years, thanks to efforts by conservationists and increased funding for protected areas. Independent

31 AUGUST 2018 - 13 SEPTEMBER 2018

California has just unveiled the most ambitious climate target ever, with a commitment to making the world's fifth biggest economy carbon neutral by 2045. Vox

After 20 years, troops have been withdrawn and the Ethiopian and Eritrean border has been reopened at two key crossing points, reuniting hundreds of families. BBC

India’s highest court has just struck down a more than century-old prohibition on gay sex, calling the Victorian-era law “irrational, indefensible, and manifestly arbitrary.” Al Jazeera

In a huge step forward for gender equality, Morocco has passed a law that criminalizes violence against women, and imposes harsh penalties on perpetrators. Albawaba

New Zealand has become the latest country to outlaw single-use plastic shopping bags, and will phase them out over the next year. Time

France has become the first country in Europe to ban all five forms of neonicotinoid pesticides that researchers believe are killing off bees. Telegraph

The Malaysian government has announced it will not allow any further expansion of oil palm plantations, and that it intends to maintain forest cover at 50%. Malaymail

2 AUGUST 2018 - 30 AUGUST 2018

In 2000, trachoma threatened 2.8 million people in Ghana (15% of the population) with blindness. It is now the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to eliminate the disease. Devex

India is in the middle of the largest sanitation building spree of all time. Almost 80 million household toilets are estimated to have been built since 2014. Arkansas Democrat Gazette

In Germany, 26% of refugees admitted since 2015 are now employed and the share of MPs with migrant backgrounds has risen from 3% to 9% in the last two elections. Economist

Costa Rica's Supreme Court has ruled that the country's same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional, and has given the government 18 months to change the law. BBC

Scotland has become the first nation in the world to guarantee free sanitary products to all students at schools, colleges, and universities. Quartz

The rate of prison recidivism (people who return to state prison after being released) in the United States has dropped by nearly a quarter over a recent seven-year period. Pew

Brazil cut its carbon emissions from deforestation by 610 million tons last year, reaching its 2020 climate change targets three years ahead of schedule. VOA

New Caledonia has agreed to place 28,000 square kilometres of its ocean waters under protection, including some of the world's most pristine coral reefs. Forbes

In the past three decades, southern Niger has been transformed by 200m new trees, part of the largest positive transformation of the environment in African history. Guardian

20 JULY 2018 - 1 AUGUST 2018

Guess which country had the largest overall reduction in carbon emissions in 2017? If you've been following us for a while you'll probably know the answer. #MAGA. Fortune

Sweden is on course to reach its renewable energy targets 12 years ahead of schedule, with wind turbines making its original 2030 goal achievable in 2018. The Local

South Africa, home to the world’s largest population of people living with HIV, has shocked health officials with a 44% decline in the number of new infections since 2012. Telegraph

Following months of campaigning by human rights activists, India's finance ministry has announced it will scrap the 12% GST on all sanitary products. BBC

New Zealand has become the second country in the world (after the Phillipines) to pass legislation granting victims of domestic violence 10 days paid leave. Guardian

In a major milestone for human rights in the Middle East, a Lebanese court has issued a new judgement holding that homosexuality is not a crime. Beirut

The number of homeless people in Japan has fallen to its lowest level in 15 years, following additional housing and counselling support from the government. Japan Times

Adidas is expecting to sell 5 million pairs of shoes made from ocean plastic this year, and it has committed to using only recycled plastic in its products by 2024. CNN

In California, the world’s smallest fox has been removed from the Endangered Species List, the fastest recovery of any mammal under the Endangered Species Act. Conservaca

7 JULY 2018 - 19 JULY 2018

Six sovereign wealth funds representing more than $3 trillion in assets have committed to only invest in companies that factor climate risks into their strategies. UNFCCC

Meet Ethiopia's new prime minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed. He's been in office for 100 days, has ended the 20 year war with Eritrea, and released over 7,600 political prisoners. BE

75% of Americans say immigration is good for the nation, the highest share since 2001, and only 29% say it should be decreased, the lowest share since 1965. NYT

Thanks to anti-pollution measures, parking restrictions and new cycle lanes, the number of vehicles on the streets of Paris has fallen by 6.5% since the beginning of 2018.

For the first time since 2005, and for only the second time on record, no one was killed by tornadoes in the United States in either May or June. USA Today

Seattle has become the first US city to ban plastic straws, and New York and Virigina have become the first two states to enact laws requiring mental health education in schools.

Spain is creating a new marine wildlife reserve for the migrations of whales and dolphins in the Mediterranean and will prohibit all future fossil fuels exploration in the area. AP

Following 'visionary' steps by Belize, UNESCO has removed the Belize Barrier Reef, the second largest in the world, from its list of endangered World Heritage Sites. BBC

22 JUNE 2018 - 6 JULY 2018

Ireland has become the world’s first country to divest from fossil fuels, after a bill was passed with all-party support in the lower house of parliament. Guardian

In 2017, the solar industry in the United States employed 250,000 people on a full time basis. Coal industry jobs are now less than half of that, at 92,000. #MAGA. Clean Technica

Between the 17th and 23rd June, the Qinghai province in China used only hydropower, wind and solar to generate energy for 6 million people. Business Insider

The share of black men in poverty in the US has fallen from 41% in 1960 to 18% today, and the share in the middle class has risen from 38% to 57% in the same time. CNN

India, home to 500 million internet subscribers, has just approved the principles of net neutrality, ensuring online access is unrestricted and non-discriminatory. Times of India

Single use plastic bans work. The use of plastic bags in Holland has dropped by 71% since the government banned shops from giving them out for free in 2016. NL Times

India's second most populous state, Maharashtra, home to 116 million people, has banned all single use plastic (including packaging) as of the 23rd June. Indian Express

Colombia has officially expanded the Serranía de Chiribiquete to 4.3 million hectares, making it the largest protected tropical rainforest national park in the world. WWF

8 JUNE 2018 - 21 JUNE 2018

Scotland's carbon emissions have halved since 1990, and its leaders have announced a new target to reduce levels by 90% by the middle of the century. BBC

Ikea has announced it will phase out all single-use plastic products, including straws, plates, cups, freezer bags, garbage bags, from its shops and restaurants by 2020. CNN

India has registered a 22% decline in maternal deaths since 2013. That means on average, 30 more new mothers are now being saved every day compared to five years ago. The Wire

The World Health Organization has just certified Paraguay as having eliminated malaria, the first country in the Americas to be granted this status since Cuba in 1973.

In 2017, crime and murder rates declined in the United States' 30 largest cities. The overall crime rate fell by 2.1%, violent crime rate by 1%, and the murder rate by 3.4%. Vox

Crime falls when you take in millions of refugees too. The number of reported crimes  in Germany fell by 10% in 2017, dropping to the lowest level in 30 years. Washington Post

Following the collapse of ISIS, civilian deaths in Iraq have decreased dramatically. 80% fewer Iraqis were killed in the first five months of 2018 compared to last year. Anti-War

Still worried about the kids? Youth crime in New South Wales has plummeted in the last 20 years. Vehicle theft is down by 59%, property theft by 59%, and drink-driving by 49%. ANU

Mexico's population of wild jaguars, the largest feline in the Americas, has grown by 20% in the past eight years, and 14 Latin American countries have just signed an agreement at the UN to implement a regional conservation program for the big cats through 2030.

25 MAY 2018 - 7 JUNE 2018

India's environment minister has announced the country will eliminate all single-use plastic by 2022, the largest, most ambitious anti-plastic pledge of all time. Economic Times

Hawaii has passed a law to become fully carbon neutral by 2045, the most ambitious emissions reduction and renewable energy plan of any state in the United States. FastCo

Norway has become the first country where electric vehicle adoption has started to affect the oil industry, with consumption of gasoline and diesel falling in 2017. Elektrek

Ireland has overwhelmingly voted to liberalise abortion. More than two-thirds of voters said yes to overturning a 35 year old law that restricted women's rights. Irish Times

France has seen a sharp fall in daily smokers, with one million fewer lighting up between 2016 and 2017. There has also been a decline in low income and teenage smokers. BBC

After five successful, annual rounds of large-scale, school-based deworming across Kenya, worm-related diseases have fallen from 33.4% in 2012 to 3% in 2017. KEMRI

High school dropout rates among Hispanic students in the United States is at record lows, extending a decades-long decline. College enrollment is also at a record high. Pew

Beijing continues its successful fight on pollution. Levels of particulate have dropped by 20.5% compared to the average level in 2016, and by 35% since 2013. Xinhua

In the forests of central Africa, the population of mountain gorillas, one of the world’s most endangered species, has increased by 25% since 2010, to over 1,000 individuals. Reuters

11 MAY 2018 - 24 MAY 2018

Repsol has become the first major fossil fuels producer to say it will no longer be seeking new growth for oil and gas, and will reduce its reserves to only eight years. Bloomberg

India's coal industry is in big trouble. Thanks to plummeting clean energy prices, 20% of coal plants are stressed assets, and a fourth of those are now unviable. Quartz

Mexico has almost finished building the largest solar farm in Latin America, a "sea of panels turning the desert green." Once switched on, it will power a million homes. SBS

Annual deaths from tuberculosis (TB) the most deadly vaccine-preventable disease, have been reduced from 1.8 million in 1990 to 1.21 million in 2016. OurWorldinData

Following a successful five year pilot in its capital, Estonia is set to become the first country in the world to make public transport free everywhere, for everyone. Popupcity

Canada has signed another conservation deal with its First Nations people, creating the largest protected boreal forest (an area twice the size of Belgium) on the planet. BBC

Evidence of an environmental Kuznet's curve? Between 1990 and 2015, forest cover increased by 1.31% per year in rich countries and by 0.5% in middle income nations. BBC

Following a decade long drive by scientists and volunteers, South Georgia's birds are safe from rats for the first time in two centuries, the largest eradication effort of all time. NPR

13 APRIL 2018 - 10 MAY 2018

Allianz, the world’s biggest insurance company by assets, will immediately cease insuring coal-fired power plants and coal mines and ban new coal from its investment portfolio.

In the first two months of 2018, 98% of new power generation capacity added to the grid in the United States came from wind and solar projects. #MAGA. ThinkProgress

China is now adding an electric bus fleet the size of London's every five weeks. If they continue at this rate, by 2025 half the world's buses will be battery powered. Bloomberg

The global shipping industry, which has always been excluded from climate change negotiations, has for the first time agreed to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases. BBC

Seventy years after independence, India has finally managed to bring electricity to every village in the country (three years ago, 18,452 villages had no electricity). Moneycontrol

In 1990, 70% of Africa's urbanites and half of Asia and Latin America's, lived in slums. By 2014, those figures had fallen to 56%, 35% and 25%, respectively. HumanProgress

Still worried about the kids? In the last generation, arrests of Californian teenagers have fallen by 80%, murder arrests by 85%, gun killings by 75%, imprisonments by 88%, teen births by 75%, school dropouts by half, and college enrollments are up by 45%. Sacbee

The proportion of people being sent to prison in the United States has fallen to its lowest level in 20 years, according to new data from the Department of Justice. Pew Research

Trinidad and Tobago is set to decriminalize homosexuality after its high court ruled that the Caribbean nation’s colonial-era law banning gay sex is unconstitutional. NBC

Pakistan's parliament has passed a landmark law guaranteeing basic rights for trans-gender citizens and outlawing all forms of discrimination by employers. Al Jazeera

Good news for cyclists... since 1999, total traffic in the City of London has fallen by 40% and bicycles are now the dominant vehicle during the rush hour. Guardian

Eight months after enacting the world's toughest plastic bag ban, Kenya's waterways are clearer, the food chain is less contaminated – and there are fewer 'flying toilets.' Guardian

France has passed a new law mandating that by 2020, all plastic cups, cutlery and plates should be compostable, and made of biologically-sourced materials. Independent

Chile has become the latest country to pass a plastic bag ban. A new resolution has been passed which will ban all bags in commerce within the next 12 months. Latercera

In an effort to protect the continent's bees, the world’s most widely used insecticides will be banned from all fields in the European Union within the next six months. ABC

Following decades of efforts from conservationists and scientists, the lesser long-nosed bat has been removed from the endangered list — the first US bat species to do so. NatGeo

Colombia has announced it will protect 80,000 km2 of new land for conservation and will also give indigenous communities autonomy to govern their own territories. Yale360

30 MARCH 2018 - 12 APRIL 2018

Portugal generated enough renewable energy to power the entire country in March, and the government has also just suspended all fossil fuel subsidies. C'mon Australia. Quartz

More bad news for fossil fuels. New Zealand just banned new oil and gas exploration, and only half of the United States' coal plants earned enough to cover their costs last year.

Around the world, the number of people dying due to insufficient calorie or protein intake has fallen from almost half a million in the 1990s to roughly 300,000 today. OurWorldinData

The global media went into a frenzy over Cape Town's water shortages and Day Zero. Strangely, nobody is reporting how the Mother City successfully averted the crisis. apolitical

A cryptocurrency startup just funded all 35,647 open projects on public school crowd-funding platform, reaching more than 16,500 schools in the US. Fast

A new report says that, thanks to shifting tastes amongst millenials, 70% of the world's population is reducing meat consumption or leaving meat off the table altogether. Forbes

Four years after imposing a 5p levy, the United Kingdom has used 9 billion fewer plastic bags, and the number being found on the seabed has plummeted. Independent

Colombia has been ordered by its courts to protect the Amazon, in Indonesia they're cleaning up the world's dirtiest river, and in Mumbai, turtles are returning to the beaches.

9 MARCH 2018 - 29 MARCH 2018

Big milestone for us here down under. This summer, for the first time ever, renewable energy generated more electricity than brown coal (nice work Australia). AFR

The world's solar market grew by almost 30% in 2017. That brings the planet's total solar power to 405 GW, nine tenths of which was installed in the last 7 years. Yale 360

The number of new coal plants under development around the world fell by an additional 28% in 2017, bringing the total decline to 59% in the last two years. EndCoal

The United Kingdom just struck a major blow for equality, making it compulsory for all companies with more than 250 employees to publicly disclose gender pay gaps by April 2018. apolitical

NPR says South Sudan has stopped transmission of Guinea Worm. Zero cases were reported in 2017 and the country hasn't had a case in 15 months (nice work Jimmy Carter).

Meet Vania Masías, a former ballerina whose non-profit dance school has taught hip hop classes to more than 100,000 underprivileged kids in Peru since 2005. Guardian

Have you heard of the Akshaya Patra Foundation? They run the largest charitable meal scheme in the world. Every day, they feed lunch to 1.6 million students at 13,839 schools across India. LiveMint

Four years ago, China declared a war on pollution. It's working. Cities have, on average, cut concentrations of fine particulates in the air by 32%. New York Times

Adidas, the German sportswear giant, sold 1 million shoes made out of ocean plastic last year. Each pair of those shoes re-uses the equivalent of 11 plastic bottles. USA Today

Chile has passed a new law protecting the waters along its coastline, creating nine marine reserves and increasing the area of ocean under state protection from 4.3% to 42.4% BBC

Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay have signed a declaration to protect the Pantanal, the world's largest tropical wetland and one of the most biologically rich ecosystems on Earth. WWF

23 FEBRUARY 2018 - 8 MARCH 2018

There are now more than 100 cities around the world that get at least 70% of their electricity from renewable sources such as hydro, geothermal, solar and wind. CDP

Canada has just announced $3.1 billion in new funding for science, “the single largest investment in basic research in Canadian history." Nature

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, which sends free books to children from birth until their start of school, has just delivered its 100 millionth book. Mashable

Since 2010, South Africa, the country with the world’s largest concentration of people with HIV/AIDS, has halved the infection rate and decreased deaths by 29 percent. Borgen

Taiwan has announced a ban on single-use plastic items. Straws, cups and bags will be eliminated by 2030 and restaurants will face restrictions from 2019. Channel News Asia

Rome, one of Europe’s most traffic-clogged cities, has announced plans to ban all diesel cars from its center by 2024. That follows similar, recent announcements from Milan and Turin

The Seychelles has created a new 130,000 square kilometre marine reserve in the Indian Ocean, protecting their waters from illegal fishing for generations to come. National Geographic

9 FEBRUARY 2018 - 22 FEBRUARY 2018

Under the current US administration, more 'beautiful' coal plants have been closed in the first two months of 2018, than during Obama's entire first term. MAGA. Greentech Media

After a decade long effort, Herat, Afghanistan’s deadliest province for landmines, has been declared free of explosive devices. Nearly 80% of the country is now mine free. Reuters

Thanks to growing awareness from #metoo, the biggest anti-sexual violence organization in the US has reported the highest ever number of calls to its crisis hotlines. Vice

Rwanda has become the first low income country to provide universal eye care to all 12 million of its citizens, with 3,000 nurses trained in over 500 health clinics. Telesur

In the last ten years Tanzania (a country where nine in ten people live in a malaria zone) has reduced the malaria death rate by 50% in adults and 53% in children. Borgen

Germany is about to start a radical plan to reduce road traffic by making public transport free in five cities, in an effort to meet EU air pollution targets and avoid big fines. Guardian

Thanks to tightening restrictions, the United Kingdom has reported a 12% drop in vehicle emissions since 2012, as well as significant overall drop in air pollutants. BBC

26 JANUARY 2018 - 8 FEBRUARY 2018

94% of net new electricity capacity in the United States came from renewables last year, and the country lowered its total emissions by 1%. Electrek

In 2017, for the first time, the EU generated more clean energy than coal (five years ago coal generated twice as much as renewables). Carbon Brief

China brought 12.89 million people out of poverty in 2017, dropping the rate to 3.1%. About 70 million rural people have climbed out of poverty since 2012. Channel News Asia

Despite rising air pollution, respiratory disease death rates in China have fallen by 70% since 1990. The reason? Rising incomes, cleaner cooking fuels, better healthcare. Twitter

India has announced plans to create the world's largest government-funded healthcare programme, covering more than 100 million of the country's poor. BBC

A massive new study on three quarters of all the cancer cases around the world from 2000 to 2014 has shown that survival rates are increasing in most countries. Jamaica Observer

A new report says democracy is more widespread than ever. Six in ten of the world's countries are now democratic - a post war record. Pew Research

13 JANUARY 2018 - 25 JANUARY 2018

Chile has managed to quadruple its clean energy sources since 2013, resulting in a 75% drop in the average cost of electricity. C'mon Australia. IPS News

Russians are drinking and smoking less than at any point since the fall of the Soviet Union, with tobacco use down by a fifth since 2009, and alcohol by 20% since 2012. Straits Times

Following the legalisation of medical marijuana in US states that border Mexico, robberies have declined by 19%, murders by 10%, and drug-related homicides by 41%. Forbes

After a 30 year long fight, the Norwegian Animal Rights Organization (NOAH) has just announced that Norway will implement a total ban on fur farming. Live Kindly

The number of suicides in Japan dropped by 3.5% in 2017, marking the eighth straight year that the overall rate has come down. NHK World

The United Kingdom is creating a forest of 50 million trees between Liverpool and Hull, and China will plant 6.66 million hectares of new forests this year, an area the size of Ireland.

Plastic bans go into effect this month in Montreal, Vanuatu & the United Kingdom, Iceland has become the first major supermarket to say it will eliminate plastic within five years, and the European Union says it will make all packaging reusable or recyclable by 2030.

1 JANUARY 2018 - 12 JANUARY 2018

The United Kingdom smashed almost every record there is for renewable energy in 2017. Wind power alone now generates twice as much electricity as coal. The Conversation

The annual murder rate in the United States declined by more than 5% in 2017, and in New York, crime rates dropped to their lowest level since the 1950s. CS Monitor

In a year when more people flew to more places than ever, 2017 was the safest ever for airlines. There were no passenger jet crashes anywhere in the world. Independent

Ammunition for your next dinner party. In 2017, natural disasters caused fewer deaths than almost any year in human history. Headline news everywhere, obviously.  Buzzfeed

As of the 1st January, the US military has been allowing transgender people to openly sign up to serve in the armed forces, providing they meet certain medical criteria. EuroNews

The Brazilian government says it will no longer build dams in the Amazon, and Belize has permanently suspended oil operations on the largest reef in the Western hemisphere.

After more than ten years of debate, 140 nations have just agreed to begin negotiations on a historic "Paris Agreement for the Ocean," the first-ever international treaty to stop overfishing and protect life in the high seas. National Geographic

10 NOVEMBER 2017 - 23 NOVEMBER 2017

The fossil fuels divestment stories are coming fast and thick now. Norway's sovereign wealth fund is officially out, and the global insurance industry has pulled $20 billion.

A new report from the EU says that between 1990 and 2016 the continent cut its carbon emissions by 23% while the economy grew by 53%. C'mon Australia. CleanTechnica

Thanks to government welfare policies, the child-poverty rate in the United States has reached an all time low, dropping to 15.6 percent in 2016. The Atlantic

According to the World Health Organisation, global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 53 million lives since 2000 and have reduced the TB mortality rate by 37%.

Two weeks ago, Germany's top court ruled that lawmakers must legally recognize a third gender from birth. This will make it the first European nation to pass this kind of law. CNN

Victoria is poised to become the first Australian state to legalise euthanasia, after historic laws passed the upper house yesterday. The Age

Hot on India's heels, the Italian parliament has voted to ban the use of all animals in circuses and traveling shows. It joins 40 other nations with similar bans in place. Inhabit

Bowing to overwhelming scientific evidence, and pressure from environmental groups, the UK government has agreed to an extended ban on neonicotinoid pesticides. BBC

And finally... we know everyone heard about it, but we're including it anyway. AUSTRALIA VOTED YES TO GAY MARRIAGE (and had a serious party to celebrate it). About bloody time. Welcome to the 21st century everyone!

27 OCTOBER 2017 - 9 NOVEMBER 2017

On Saturday 28th October, a record 24.6% of electricity came from wind power in the 28 countries of the European Union, enough to power 200 million homes. Electrek

In the past year, China has carried out its largest ever crackdown on pollution, reprimanding, fining or jailing officials in 80,000 factories, 40% of the country's total. NPR

A new report says that nearly 1.2 billion people around the world have gained access to electricity in the last 16 years. 500 million of those people live in India. IEA

The United States' official poverty rate in 2016 reached 12.7 percent, the lowest level since the end of the global financial crisis almost a decade ago. US Census Bureau

New research from the CDC estimates that between 2000 and 2016, the measles vaccine has saved 20.4 million lives. Breaking news everywhere right? ACSH

Poland has become the latest country to legalise medical marijuana. Pharmacies will be able to sell cannabis after legislation came into force last Wednesday. Radio Poland

After a year of investigations into animal cruelty, the Indian government has officially banned the use of all wild animals in circus performances. One Green Planet

Brazil has started the largest tropical reforestation project in history. 73 million trees will be planted using improved techniques across the Amazon's “arc of deforestation." Fast Co.

13 OCTOBER 2017 - 26 OCTOBER 2017

One of China's richest women, He Qiaonv, has announced a $2 billion donation for wildlife conservation, the largest environmental philanthropic pledge of all time. Bloomberg

The Dutch government has just confirmed a plan to make all new cars emission-free by 2030, meaning new combustion engines will be banned within the next 13 years. Elektrek

A new report by the ILO says that global child labour has plummeted. In 2016, there were 98 million fewer boys and girls being exploited than in 2000. CS Monitor

India's Supreme Court has outlawed non-consensual marital sex with child brides, and has raised the age of sexual consent for all women to 18. CNN

Global abortion rates have fallen from around 40 procedures per 1,000 women in the early 1990s, to 35 procedures per 1,000 women today. Washington Post

The immigrant population of the US (people born in another country) reached 43.7 million people in 2016, one out of every eight residents, the highest proportion in 106 years. CIS

California has become the first US state to legally recognize nonbinary genders, allowing residents to identify as male, female, or nonbinary on all ID documents. Mary Sue

The Italian fashion brand Gucci will go fur-free next year and auction off all remaining fur items. It follows in the footsteps of Armani, which went fur free in 2016. Harper's Bazaar

Victoria has become the latest Australian state to announce a ban on single-use plastic bags. New South Wales is now the only remaining state without a ban. ABC

29 SEPTEMBER 2017 - 12 OCTOBER 2017

TransCanada has terminated its tar sands pipeline, triggering a $1 billion loss and ending an epic 4 year battle between politicians, big oil, environmentalists and indigenous communities. One of the great climate change victories of our time. Calgary Herald

On the eve of one of their major feast days, 40 Catholic institutions from five continents announced the largest ever religious divestment from fossil fuels. Catholic Reporter

Peru has reduced the prevalence of chronic malnutrition and stunting in children under the age of five from 39% in 1990, to 16% in 2016. Global Goals

Thanks to better use of contraceptives, America’s teen birth rate has fallen from 41.5 births per 1,000 girls in 2007 to 20.3 births per 1,000 girls this year. Vox

Following news that England has achieved a 95% vaccination rate, the World Health Organisation has announced the elimination of measles in the UK for the first time. BBC

New figures from the American Cancer Society have revealed that between 1989 to 2015, deaths from breast cancer dropped by 39%, saving the lives of 322,600 women. Time

In a major victory for transgender people in Botswana, the country's High Court has ruled that a transgender man can hold official documents that reflect his gender identity. HRW

Eleven countries are planting a wall of trees from east to west across Africa in order to push back the desert - and in Senegal it's already working. BBC World Hacks

1 SEPTEMBER 2017 - 28 SEPTEMBER 2017

The cost of solar plants in the United States has dropped by 30% in one year and in the United Kingdom, the price of offshore wind has dropped by half in less than two years.

France will pass legislation later this year to phase out all oil and gas exploration and production by 2040, becoming the first country to do so. Bloomberg

Women now occupy 23% of parliamentary seats around the world, up from 12% in 1997. The Middle East and North Africa have seen a fourfold increase in that time. World Bank

Heckler & Koch, the world's deadliest arms manufacturer, has announced it will end gun sales to countries falling short of corruption and democracy standards. Deutsche Welle

September has been a great month for the war on plastic. Kenya became the 9th country to ban plastic bags, then Western Australia announced a ban starting in 2018, and now Chile says it will be the first country in the Americas to ban plastic bags in coastal cities.

The Minamata Convention, the first global treaty on mercury pollution, was ratified six weeks ago, and 156 countries are meeting this week to discuss further action. Swiss Info

One of the world's largest marine parks has just been created off the coast of Easter Island, and will protect 142 species, including 27 threatened with extinction. Guardian

In more than 60 regions across the globe, more populations of large sea turtles are improving than declining, a big change from a decade or two ago. Nice. Associated Press

18 AUGUST 2017 - 31 AUGUST 2017

In the last decade between 3,000 and 12,700 premature deaths have been avoided in the US thanks to better air quality from installations of solar and wind energy. Ars Technica

China has now stopped construction on more than 150GW of coal plants. And in June and July they installed more solar than Australia's entire existing capacity. Clean Technica

They've also invested more than $100 billion into treating and preventing water pollution, and launched nearly 8,000 water clean-up projects in the first half of 2017. Reuters

Zika has all but disappeared. Cases are plummeting in Latin America & the Caribbean, and much of the population is now immune. Headline news everywhere... right? Science Mag

The US Food and Drug Administration has given the go ahead for clinical trials for MDMA for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). MAPS

In the last two months, Tunisia, Jordan and Lebanon have repealed provisions in their penal codes that allow rapists to escape punishment by marrying their victims. Al Jazeera

India’s Supreme Court has issued a historic ruling confirming the right of the country’s LGBTQ people to express their sexuality without discrimination. Independent UK

On the 31st August 2017, Canada became the 9th country to allow a third gender X, rather than male or female, on passports and government documents. NY Times

4 AUGUST 2017 - 17 AUGUST 2017

Following in China's footsteps, India is on track to double its solar installations this year, installing more in the first half of 2017 than in all of 2016. C'mon Australia. Clean Technica

JPMorgan Chase has just announced it will source 100% of its energy from renewables by 2020 and will facilitate $200 billion in clean financing through 2025. PV Tech

Rhode Island has become the fourth state in the United States to make community college free, following similar initiatives in New York, Oregon and Tennessee. CNN

The World Health Organisation has declared Somalia polio free, after confirming there have been no new recorded cases in the last three years. Arab News

Nepal has passed a law criminalising an ancient Hindu practice called chhaupadi that banishes women from the home during menstruation and after childbirth. Al Jazeera

The British government has unveiled new plans to require compulsory CCTV cameras in all slaughterhouses, in order to enforce laws against animal cruelty. Guardian

A province in Pakistan has planted a billion trees in the last two years as part of an effort to restore forests and protect against natural disasters such as floods. Independent

In Germany, the total area of land under organic agriculture increased by 15% in 2016, reaching 3.09 million acres, or 7.5% of all arable land. Deutsche Welle

Inuit groups and the Canadian government just signed a deal to protect the 'Serengeti of the Arctic,' creating by far the largest marine reserve in the country's history. Globe & Mail

14 JULY 2017 - 3 AUGUST 2017

China is set to easily surpass the record they set in 2016 for installations of solar energy, adding 24GW of new generating capacity in the first half of 2017. Bloomberg

In the last 30 days, both the United Kingdom and France have agreed to ban the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040.

According to UNAIDS, for the first time in history, half of all people on the planet with HIV are now getting treatment, and deaths have dropped by half since 2005. Science Mag

The WHO says Cuba has officially become the first country in the world to eliminate the transmission of HIV/AIDS and syphilis from mother to child, and the epidemic is 'coming under control' in Swaziland, the country with the world’s highest prevalence of HIV.

Ethiopia just became the 42nd country to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus since 2000, another big milestone in the global campaign to end this cruel disease. UNICEF

A new report shows that incidents of bullying and the number of violent attacks in American public schools has decreased significantly since 2010. Associated Press

Kenya has become the latest country to ban plastic bags, and in the Indian province of Tamil Nadu, more than 1,000km of roads has been laid using recycled plastic.

Vietnam has agreed to end bear farming, and will work with Animals Asia to rescue 1,000 remaining caged animals (thanks to one of our subscribers, Kyle Mahaney, for this one).

Chile just set aside 11 million acres of land for national parks in Patagonia, following the largest ever private land donation from a private entity to a country. Smithsonian

30 JUNE 2017 - 13 JULY 2017

“This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car.”Volvo says that starting in 2019 it will only make fully electric or hybrid cars. Atlantic

India has ratified two key global agreements on eradicating child slavery. According to Nobel Laureate and child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi, it's 'a paradigm shift.' Reuters

Leprosy is now easily treatable. The number of worldwide cases has dropped by 97% since 1985, and a new plan has set 2020 as a target for the end of the disease. WHO

The French government has announced that in an effort to combat new measles outbreaks, parents will be legally obliged to vaccinate children from 2018. Independent

Gay adoption is now legal in all 50 states in the US, following a ruling by a federal judge that Mississippi's ban on same-sex couples adopting children is unconstitutional. HuffPost

In a major blow for Monsanto, regulators in California have taken a pivotal step towards requiring weed killer Roundup to come with a warning that it’s known to cause cancer. AP

1.5 million people in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh have set a new Guinness record for reforestation by planting more than 67 million trees in a 12 hour period. RT

Scientists have discovered that a new kind of naturally occurring underwater bacteria has eaten a considerable portion of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. CNBC

16 JUNE 2017 - 29 JUNE 2017

Sweden’s largest pension fund has divested all investments from six companies that violate the Paris Agreement, including Exxon, Gazprom and TransCanada. CleanTechnica

France will stop granting all licences for oil and gas exploration in a major transition towards clean energy being driven by the new Macron government. Independent

Since 2010, tobacco use by young people in India has fallen by 33%, and for high school students in the United States it's dropped by almost half since 2011.

Not that you'd know it from the evening news, but the homicide rate in Australia has dropped to one victim per 100,000 people, the lowest ever recorded. Guardian

The gender pay gap in the US has narrowed from 36% in 1980 to 17% in 2015. For young women the gap has narrowed even further, and now stands at 10%. Pew Research

Hot on the heels of Ireland's appointment of its first gay Prime Minister, Serbia has achieved a double first, with the appointment its first female and gay Prime Minister. BBC

Pakistan has started issuing passports with a separate gender category, X, for transgender citizens who don't identify as male or female. Vox

Five remote Pacific islands are once again safe havens for four of the world’s rarest bird species following one of the most ambitious island restoration projects of all time. BirdLife

2 JUNE 2017 - 15 JUNE 2017

A shareholder rebellion just forced ExxonMobil, the world's largest oil company, to start reporting on the effect of preventing climate change on its bottom line. Washington Post

South Korea announced a major U-turn on energy, shifting one of the world's staunchest supporters of coal and nuclear power toward natural gas and renewables. Reuters

Meet Sanduk Ruit and Geoff Tabin, two eye doctors responsible for helping restore sight to 4 million people in two dozen countries, including North Korea and Ethiopia. CBS

The United Kingdom has seen a 20% fall in the incidence of dementia over the past two decades, meaning 40,000 fewer people are being affected every year. Reuters

Thanks to better access to clean water and sanitation, the number of children dying in the world from diarrhoea fell by a third between 2005 and 2015. That means we are saving the lives of an extra 250,000 children every year. BBC

Since 2005, Afghanistan has built 16,000 schools, the nation-wide literacy rate has increased by 5%, and the youth literacy rate has increased by more than 16%. USAID

17% of newlyweds in the United States now marry someone of a different race or ethnicity, a fivefold increase since 1967, when interracial marriage was legalised. Pew

The price of raw ivory in Asia has fallen by around 50% since the Chinese government announced plans to ban the domestic legal ivory trade six months ago. Guardian

At a recent UN oceans summit, delegates from China, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines made major new commitments to keep plastic out of the sea. BBC

18 MAY 2017 - 1 JUNE2017

Taiwan's constitutional court ruled in favour of allowing same-sex marriage. Huge story, hard fought for, and a major milestone for LGBTQI rights in Asia. SCMP

New data shows that young people are officially less racist than old people. The worldwide trend is towards towards less discrimination on the grounds of skin tone or caste. Quartz

In 1991 more than 40% of Bangladesh lived in extreme poverty. The World Bank says that number has now dropped to 14% (equating to 50 million fewer people). Quartz

Premature deaths for the world’s four biggest noncommunicable diseases­ - cardiovascular, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory - have declined by 16% since 2000. World Bank

Rwanda’s universal basic healthcare system has achieved a 75% decline in maternal mortality and over an 80% decline child mortality in the last 15 years. New Times

One year after a nationwide ban on smoking in public took effect in Spain, women are giving birth to significantly fewer premature or underweight babies. Reuters

In an effort to combat misinformation and fearmongering, the Italian government has made vaccinations mandatory for children attending school up to the age of 16. Independent

Germany has banned fur farming. This follows similar decisions by Japan and Croatia within the last year. A victory that’s been two decades in the making. Well done PETA!

The largest community led beach clean up in history is finished. 85 weeks and 5.3 million kilograms of trash later, this is what Versova beach in Mumbai now looks like. Daily Mail

5 MAY 2017 - 17 MAY 2017

The global coal industry is taking a hammering. A 48% drop in pre-construction activity, a 62% drop in construction starts and a 19% drop in ongoing construction. CoalSwarm

China's electricity output from solar PV plants rose 80% in the first quarter of this year. Considering that last year was already a record, this is remarkable. Independent UK

Lots of sound and fury in US politics these days, and yet quietly and unannounced, Congress recently boosted famine relief funding by $990 million. Humanosphere

The Zika emergency in Brazil is over. The number of cases has dropped by 95% compared to a year ago. Wonderful news that featured in every media outlet. Right? Al-Jazeera

"One of the greatest public health success stories of the past 40 years." Thanks to new ARV treatments, young people with HIV now have near normal life expectancy. BBC

Saudi Arabia has just issued an order allowing women to access government services on education and healthcare without the prior consent of a male guardian. The Star

The Ocean Cleanup project has unveiled a new design to deploy its trash-collecting booms in the Pacific Garbage Patch in 2018, four years ahead of schedule. Fast Company

Thanks to new imaging techniques, estimates for global forest cover have been revised upwards by 9%, an area of forest two-thirds the size of Australia. Science

2 APRIL 2017 - 4 MAY 2017

The world's assault on tropical diseases is working. A massive, five year international effort has saved millions of lives, and countries are now signing up for another round. STAT

Rates of violent crime and property crime have dropped by around 50% in the United States since 1990, yet a majority of people believe it's gotten worse. Pew Research

Canada's federal telecom regulator has just ruled to uphold the principle of net neutrality - the idea that all web services should be treated equally by providers. Motherboard

Soft drink sales in the US have dropped for the 12th year in a row, thanks to consumer education and new sugar taxes aimed at stemming obesity and diabetes. Reuters

A new government initiative has given 275 million Indians access to proper sanitation since 2014. Read that again and think about how many people that is. Gates Notes

In a significant public health victory, Mexico has become the first country in the Americas to eliminate trachoma, the leading cause of blindness worldwide. NBC

Last Friday the EU imposed new, stricter limits on pollutants such as nitrogen, sulphur, mercury and particulates that will apply to all 2,900 of Europe's large power plants. Reuters

Great Britain, the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, has gone an entire day without using electricity produced from coal for the first time since the 1880s. Verge

6 APRIL 2017 - 20 APRIL 2017

Solar power recently broke through the 50% mark for electricity in California. They used to say it could only ever provide a fraction. Now they say it can never be 100%. Electrek

Canadian coal production has dropped to a 30 year low, and is expected to see further decline as the country moves to phase out coal fired power plants by 2030. Globe & Mail

The number of executions recorded worldwide has fallen by 37% since 2015. The decline was largely driven by fewer deaths recorded in Iran and Pakistan. BBC

A doctor in Virginia has found a cheap, effective cure for sepsis, one of the planet's deadliest diseases and major problem in hospitals around the world. Independent UK

India's Ministry of Sanitation has just issued a nationwide guideline allowing transgender people to use any public toilet of their choice. INDIA 1. NORTH CAROLINA 0. The Wire

Japan has officially recognised a same-sex couple as foster parents, marking a first for the country and signalling a growing recognition of LGBTQ rights in Japan. Mashable

A five month old whistle blowing policy in Nigeria has already helped recover more than $200 million from corrupt businessmen and politicians. Quartz

Taiwan has become the first Asian country to ban the eating of cats and dogs, with new laws imposing fines for consumption and jail time for killing and cruelty. China Post

23 MARCH 2017 - 5 APRIL 2017

Industries that now employ more people than the entire coal sector in the United States: bowling | skiing | travel agencies | used cars | theme parks | carwashes. Washington Post

Paris surrendered its streets to cars in the 60s and 70s. Today, under siege from smog and traffic it's leading some of Europe’s most aggressive efforts to fight back. City Lab

Germany's gamble to take in a million refugees is paying off handsomely. Its economy has strengthened and unemployment has dropped by almost 1% since 2015. Twitter

Between 2010 and 2014 death rates in the US decreased for 11 of the 16 most common cancer types in men and for 13 of the 18 most common cancer types in women. OUP

Israel's Agriculture Ministry is planning on halving food waste by changing packaging and labelling rules, and redistributing unused farm produce to feed families in need. Tablet

Twenty years ago the average malnourished person on planet Earth consumed 155 fewer calories per day than they needed. The World Bank says that number is now down to 88.

The European Commission is preparing to enact a permanent ban on all bee killing insecticides across the continent. Science + Adults in the Room = Good Policy.  Guardian

The European Union has also passed fresh rules that make it more difficult for armed groups to finance their activities through the sale of conflict minerals.

3 MARCH 2017 - 21 MARCH 2017

UK carbon emissions have fallen to the lowest levels since the Victorian era. The last time they were this low was 1894, the year the petrol car was invented. Independent UK

Hot on the heels of International Women's Day comes some good news from India, where parliament has passed a bill giving women 26 weeks maternity leave, and from Iceland, where the government has just made gender pay equality compulsory by law.

After rising dramatically in the 1990s and 2000s, income inequality in China has been falling steadily since 2010. Simon Kuznets is doing fist pumps in his grave... Quartz

China has also just introduced a surprisingly progressive sex education curriculum for kids, promoting sex positivity, gender equality and LGBT rights. Shanghaiist

Meet Josh Browder, the 19 year old inventor of a chatbot that’s overturned 160,000 parking fines and is now helping refugees claim asylum in the US, the UK and Canada. Mic

Meet Felix Finkbeiner, the 19 year old environmentalist who's worked with the United Nations to plant more than 14 billion trees in more than 130 nations. National Geographic

In a big win for two of the world's most endangered big cats, the Amur leopard and tiger, China has just approved a national park that's 60% larger than Yellowstone. HuffPost

More people are adopting old dogs in the US than ever before. Okay, okay, we know we're cheating a little here but c'mon, it's a great story. Look at that face! Washington Post

17 FEBRUARY 2017 - 2 MARCH 2017

Suicide attempts by gay, lesbian and bisexual teenagers have decreased by 14% in US high schools, thanks to the legalisation of same-sex marriage. Guardian

Good news for LGBT rights in Europe too. The Finnish government just voted down a revolt against same-sex marriages, ensuring it will become law next month, and in Slovenia, a new law permitting same-sex marriages came into effect last Friday. Reuters

Since 1980, life expectancy in Vietnam has jumped from 67.6 to 75.8 years, average schooling from 4.2 years to 7.5 years, and income has seen five-fold increase. Borgen

After quintupling between 1974 and 2007, the imprisonment rate in the US is now dropping in a majority of states, with an overall drop of 8.4% from 2010 to 2015. New York Times

Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest exporter of crude oil, is investing $50 billion into a massive renewable energy push in an effort to wean the country off fossil fuels. Bloomberg

Meanwhile, in Canada two of the world's biggest oil producers have just written off 4.7 billion barrels of oil from their tar sands projects because they're too expensive. OilPrice

Indonesia has pledged $1 billion to clean up its seas from plastic, and Cameroon has committed to restoring over 12 million hectares of forest in the Congo Basin. IUCN

A decrease pollution in the Ganges has brought Gangetic dolphins, one of the four freshwater dolphin species in the world, back from the brink of extinction. Hindustan Times

2 FEBRUARY 2017 - 16 FEBRUARY 2017

The world finally has a vaccine that's cheap and effective enough to end one of humanity's greatest scourges, cholera, a disease that's killed tens of millions. New York Times

Between 2000 and 2015, HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths in Ethiopia fell by 79%, underlining a remarkable turnaround in the country's fight against the disease. Global Fund

The elephants in Chad’s Zakouma National Park were supposed to have been wiped out by poachers years ago, yet the population is thriving. Here's why. National Geographic

The US is quietly making historic progress on farm animal welfare, with 10 states and hundreds of brands coming out against the most notorious kinds of factory farming. BI

A group of Israeli charities has successfully pulled off a secret mission to deliver 100 tonnes of winter supplies and clothing to refugees trapped in Syria. Jerusalem Post

As plunging crime closes prisons across the Netherlands, the government is turning them into housing and cultural hubs for ten of thousands of refugees instead. Co.Exist

Solar jobs in America increased at a record setting pace in 2016. Over the last 12 months, solar was responsible for one in every 50 new jobs created in the country. CNBC

Sweden has committed to phasing out all carbon emissions by 2045. Best thing about this story is the picture of the signing ceremony. Remind you of anything? Independent

19 JANUARY 2017 - 1 FEBRUARY 2017

Since 1980 the US has been a beacon of freedom for refugees, taking in 2.5 million people. Not one of them has been responsible for an act of domestic terror. The Age

86% of children now receive the DTP3 vaccine. That means the number of vaccinated humans on the planet has risen from 1 to 6 billion in two decades. Our World in Data

Since 2008, the rate of violent crime in the US has been lower than at any point since 1976. And thanks to better education and contraception techniques, abortion rates have reached their lowest level since Roe vs. Wade in 1973.

Unilever, one of the world's largest consumer goods companies, has committed to making all of its packaging fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. Plastics News

Delhi has introduced a city-wide ban on disposable plastic, prohibiting the use of cutlery, bags and other plastic items amid concern over pollution of the sea and air. Independent

Brazil has pledged to rehabilitate 22 million hectares of forests, croplands and pastures, the largest restoration commitment ever made by a single nation. Pacific Standard

Deutsche Bank has $2 trillion in assets and is one of the coal industry's biggest financiers - and it's just announced it will stop financing all new coal projects. Ouch.

1 JANUARY 2017 - 18 JANUARY 2017

India is going to meet its renewables targets for the Paris Agreement 42 months ahead of schedule, meaning it will not need any new coal-fired power stations. Guardian

China has announced it's investing $361 billion into clean energy by 2020. Oh, and they've just suspended the building of an additional 104 coal plants. Energy Desk

New York City recorded its lowest number of shooting incidents in 2016 and narrowly missed setting a record low for homicides since record keeping began. Associated Press

Cancer deaths have dropped 25% in the US since 1991, saving 2.1 million lives. That's 50 times the number of US citizens killed by war and terrorism in that period. Science Daily.

1.3 million households in Kenya gained access to electricity last year. That means that the percentage of connected Kenyans is now at 55%, up from just 27% in 2013. Quartz

Good news for plane passengers. Apparently 2016 was the aviation industry's second safest year of all time, with only one death per 10.7 million travellers. Irish Independent

China has agreed to completely ban domestic ivory trade by the end of 2017. The move is being called a 'gamechanger' for elephant conservation. Washington Post

Mexico has created a new coastal and wetlands conservation area covering more than 5.7 million hectares, a 25% increase over its existing reserves. Pacific Standard