A new Global Energy Monitor study has found that China's wind and solar power sectors are growing at a pace that would increase global capacity by 85%, as soon as 2025. With this rapid acceleration of progress, China is now on track to surpass its 2030 green energy targets five years ahead of schedule.
Simultaneously, China remains the world’s biggest coal user, relying on it for over half of its energy consumption in 2022. The report notes that coal plant construction is continuing to rise, partially as a back-up to new wind and solar farms. It notes that battery storage and hydrogen growth will also be a crucial part of the energy mix, if China is to successfully transition away from coal.
Hottest day globally, since records began
In an alarming development, the world's average temperature hit a record high last week, surpassing 17°C for the first time. The global average temperature of 17.01°C on 3rd July broke the previous record from 2016. The record was then broken again on 4th July, and again on 6th July.
This June has been confirmed as the hottest-ever June, with temperatures 1.46°C above the 1850-1900 average. These milestones have been attributed to the El Niño weather event and ongoing warming due to carbon emissions. Concerns have grown as rising temperatures have been observed on land and at sea, leading to heatwaves in Spain, Asia, and the North Sea. China and parts of the southern US are currently also experiencing extreme heat. The impact of high temperatures extends to Antarctica, where a new temperature record of 8.7°C was recorded.
With El Niño intensifying, more record-breaking temperatures are expected this summer.
UK plans to drop flagship Cop26 climate pledge
In a move met with controversy and anger, the UK government is reportedly planning to abandon the £11.6bn climate and nature funding pledge for developing countries, made at Cop26 in 2021.
A leaked briefing note suggests that meeting the global $100 billion per year commitment to developing nations would be a "huge challenge" due to new pressures, including additional aid for Ukraine and debt relief. Government officials have calculated that allocating the necessary funds would require 83% of the Foreign Office's official development assistance budget, leaving limited room for other commitments such as humanitarian and women's programs.
The leaked information has provoked the outrage of former ministers and representatives of vulnerable countries, including small island states, who would have received the funding. Critics have noted that the UK’s reputation as a reliable partner, and a climate leader will be seriously undermined by the decision. This is a point which was likely made by US President Joe Biden during his visit to London this week.
M&S partners with Oxfam and Ebay for circular school uniform initiative
UK supermarket M&S has launched an initiative offering families money off children’s clothing when they donate used school uniforms. The initiative is an extension of M&S’ pre-existing ‘‘schwapping’’ partnership with Oxfam, through which customers swap old clothing for loyalty card points and other perks.
The pre-loved school uniforms collected at M&S stores will be sold via through high-street Oxfam shops, as well as via a new ‘back to school’ Ebay shop. The initiative is evidently a triple win, in which funds are raised for Oxfam, money is saved by parents, and the lifecycles of articles of school uniform are extended. The initiative also highlights the important role of partnerships in scaling the circular economy.