Photo: Eva Bocek/Shutterstock

The Climate Win: Addressing Biodiversity and Keeping Fuel Standards High

Sustainability News National Parks
by Tim Wenger Feb 21, 2020

This is The Climate Win, the most positive sustainability news around the world every week.

For week three of The Climate Win, we’re debuting a new feature in the column: the Weekly Climate Resource. This will be something actionable that you can use as part of your travels. Some resources will help you calculate footprint — such as this week’s — while others will help you reduce it, offset it, or even eliminate it. Occasionally we’ll throw in a cool travel product or trip option born of environmental friendliness. Of course, we’ll continue to report the biggest climate wins of the week, because it’s not all doom and gloom out there.

Weekly sustainable travel resource: Rome2Rio Carbon Emissions Calculator


Photo: Rome2Rio

This week’s resource is built to help you find the least impactful route to reach your destination. Route-finding website Rome2Rio has a carbon emissions calculator on its website that shows the total CO2 emissions you will be responsible for should you travel via a chosen manner. When searching transportation options, simply click the button that says “Show CO2 Emissions” at the top of the page. Our example search showing transportation options from Paris, France, to Interlaken, Switzerland, reveals that the least harmful mode of transportation is to take the train with a connection in Basel, emitting just 79 lbs per person for the entire route. If you were to hop in a car and drive, you’d emit 313 lbs. In this instance, the site shows that flying is similar to driving in per-person output, though it’s often higher depending on connections and length of flight.

China to lead worldwide initiative targeting global biodiversity

Global biodiversity has decreased by more than 15 percent as a result of human impact, according to The Verge, and that number looks poised to increase. China, the world’s most populous country, plans to lead an international charge to address the issue. It will host a conference from February 24-29 to address the crisis and, similar to the 2015 Paris Agreement, the aim of the talks is to commit nations to creating an action plan with individual targets. The event, the second in a planned series of three, was scheduled to take place in the Chinese city of Kunming but has been moved to Rome, Italy, due to the coronavirus. More than 190 nations are expected to sign a legally-binding agreement in October.

A major roadblock for weaker fuel efficiency regulations

In 2018, President Trump announced a plan to weaken fuel efficiency standards for automobiles set in place during the Obama administration. The plan would have also reduced states’ rights to set their own rules, effectively ruining forward progress on vehicle development and eliminating one of the most effective methods at combating climate change. However, the government’s draft of the new fuel economy standards showed that consumers would actually lose money because of the proposed changes, according to a report in The New York Times — and that the government-appointed staffers put in charge of drafting it had zero fact-based evidence to back up any of the administration’s claims. Analysts noted that it was doubtful the administration’s proposed rollback would stand up in court, meaning that it will hopefully never even see the light of day.

Bezos (finally) brings his wealth to the table for the cause

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has traditionally shied away from philanthropy. But after repeated calls by Amazon staff and the general public for Bezos, the richest man in the world, to do something about Amazon’s footprint, he announced on Monday that he would commit $10 billion to help fight climate change, The New York Times reported. The campaign, called the Bezos Earth Fund, will direct the money toward scientific research, NGOs, and specific action campaigns to be announced at a later date. The company will also buy a massive fleet of electric delivery vehicles from automaker Rivian. Via Instagram, Bezos said, “I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change on this planet we all share.”

Reduce, reuse, brew

We close this week with a foamy good idea from Earthly Labs. The company has created a product that allows beer brewers to capture the carbon created during their brewing process and reuse it. Fermentation tanks are routine homes for carbon during and after brewing a batch of beer, and the new CiCi Carbon Capture product captures this carbon, cleans it, and makes it usable as a carbonator in a future batch of beer — instead of tossing it out. The company claims its product both makes beer better and achieves higher brand loyalty as customers value companies that take their emissions seriously. We can vouch for the latter, at least — and with that, I’m off for a pint.

See you next week.

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