From Ecuador's electric buses to Balearic climate laws, BusinessGreen rounds up all the green business news from the world this week
Audi and E.ON team up to deliver Europe's largest solar rooftop
An Audi factory in Hungary could soon be home to Europe's largest solar rooftop installation thanks to a new partnership between the auto giant and energy supplier E.ON. The companies are set to build a 'solar energy park' on the roofs of the two logistics centresin Győr covering about 160,000 square metres. The installation will have a peak output of 12MW. Construction work is scheduled to start in August 2019 with renewable energy generation beginning at the start of next year.
"We are committed to the economical use of resources and therefore want to keep the environmental impact of our production as low as possible," said says Achim Heinfling, chairman of the board of management of Audi Hungaria. "Approximately 70 per cent of Audi Hungaria's heat requirements are already covered by climate-neutral, geothermal energy. Our goal is to have completely CO2-neutral plant operation in the future. With the construction of the solar-cell park, we are now taking a further step to achieve this in terms of power supply."
BYD ships 50,000th electric bus
Chinese electric vehicl giant BYD has reportedly shipped its 50,000th pure electric bus, as global demand for zero emissions buses continues to accelerate.
The company said it now has clientele in 300 cities around the world, with the delivery of its latest K9UB pure electric bus to the Spanish city of Badajoz later this Spring.
The milestone comes in the same week as Ecuadorian Vice President, Otto Sonnenholzner, traveled to the port of Manta to welcome the first 20 BYD electric buses to the South American country. The buses are to operate in the city of Guayaquil.
Sarajevo joins Green Cities initiative
Sarajevo has become the latest city to join the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development's (EBRD) Green Cities programme, with the launch of a dedicated environmental action plan.
Under the plan, the Sarajevo Canton will identify its environmental priorities and then develop a long-term 10 year vision backed by mid-term targets and short-term actions to improve the cities environmental performance.
Balearic Islands adopt sweeping new climate law
They may be famous for partying, but Spain's Balearic Islands just got serious about climate action. Just a year after it was first presented, the Balearic Climate Change and Energy Transition plan was passed into law this week, setting a 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050 target for the islands of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera.
The law coincides with confirmation of a new agreement to close Mallorca's coal fired power station, which will see its operating hours curbed from 2020 ahead of complete closure in 2025.
The legislation also bans the sale of diesel cars from 2025 and new petrol cars from 2035.
LA switches from gas to renewables plan
Reuters reported on moves by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti this week to shelve plans to replace three gas power plants with new gas technologies and instead step up investment in renewables.
"This is the beginning of the end of natural gas in Los Angeles," Garcetti said in a statement. "The climate crisis demands that we move more quickly to end dependence on fossil fuel, and that's what today is all about."
Pew Research Centre: Climate change seen as top global security threat
A poll covering 26 countries undertaken by the influential Pew Research Centre has revealed concern about climate change has risen sharply in recent years, making it the top security concern for the public in many countries.
Reuters reported that overall climate change was seen as the top security concern by respondents, followed by Islamist terrorism and cyber attacks. The polling echoes the results of the World Economic Forum's recent survey of business leaders, which similarly identifed climate change and environmental factors as some of the top threats to the global economy.
Australian court blocks coal mine on climate grounds
An Australian court has issued a landmark ruling, rejecting an appeal against a planning decision for a proposed New South Wales coal mine on environmental grounds, including the potential climate change impact.
Justice Brian Preston upheld the origianl decision to refuse the Rocky Hill Coal Project a development application, citing "significant adverse impacts on the visual amenity and rural and scenic character of the valley, significant adverse social impacts on the community and particular demographic groups in the area, and significant impacts on the existing, approved and likely preferred uses of land in the vicinity of the mine".
However, in what could prove a significant step he also ruled that the "the construction and operation of the mine, and the transportation and combustion of the coal from the mine, will result in the emission of greenhouse gases, which will contribute to climate change" and as such the costs of the project exceeded the projected benefits.
Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, lawyers for the campaign group that opposed the mine hailed the decision as a major breakthrough. "When we first argued that our client, the Groundswell Gloucester, should be a party to this case and put a climate-change ground before the court, the mining companies thought it a laughable proposition, and said it would be "a sideshow'," they wrote. "As it happens, climate change became the main event in this court, as it is elsewhere.
"The ramifications are likely to ripple out across Australia and possibly the world. This is climate litigation writ large."
Dutch government floats plan for new EU aviation fuel tax
The Dutch government is set to call on the EU to introduce new aviation tax in support of the bloc's climate goals. In a new position paper, the Dutch government argues that "to prevent galloping climate change, we need to be more ambitious". As such it suggests the bloc should consider emulating those countries that already have an aviation tax in place and should look at how it could step up aviation levies across the bloc.
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