Norway Is An Electric Car Leader….

…And it is an inspiring story of what can happen when incentives change, and then a culture changes:

It still has some way to go, but the country looks on course to meet a government target – set in 2016, with full cross-party parliamentary support – of phasing out the sale of all new fossil-fuel based cars and light commercial vehicles by 2025.

“It’s actually quite amazing how fast the mindset’s changed,” said Christina Bu of the Norwegian EV Electric Vehicle Association. “Even in 2013 or 2014, people were sceptical. Now, a majority of Norwegians will say: my next car will be electric.”

But I couldn’t help noticing with all Norway’s efforts, EVs are still only 10% of the passenger fleet. So Norway’s success is also a warning about how hard it is to make this sort of transition and how important it is to start yesterday.

Nice to know that not everyone shoots grizzly bears…

…who develop a taste for human garbage:

In early April, a young grizzly bear swam through the chilly waters off the western coast of Canada in search of food.

He came ashore on Hanson Island, one of more than 200 rocky outcrops in British Columbia’s Broughton archipelago, and quickly started eating garbage from a cabin.

It was a dangerous move: bears that get too comfortable eating food waste and start to lose their fear of humans are quickly shot.

But this bear’s death was averted through an unlikely partnership between local Indigenous groups and conservation officers, raising hopes of a more holistic approach to wildlife management with greater Indigenous input.

I guess we should call that progress. Though perhaps we should think a bit more about the garbage.

Reality Check: The pandemic shutdown of the global economy…

…could result in a 5% global reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in 2020.  That would be the largest fossil fuel reduction on record. Pretty amazing.

Unfortunately, the annual reduction required to meet the 1.5 degree C Paris Climate Accord target is 7.6%.

That even putting the global economy in a virtual coma is not enough to meet the Paris targets is mindblowing. And makes you realize that instead of waking the old carbon economy from this coma once the pandemic passes, this is the time to awaken a new non-carbon economy. We are already borrowing trillions at near-zero interest to cushion the economic blow to workers. Why not borrow a few trillion more to make the rapid transition away from the carbon economy, giving life to a new economy based on renewable energy?

This is the opportunity for revolutionary change. If it passes, the revolution will never come in time.

If you don’t believe me, believe climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, who explains it all in crystal clear fashion.

COVID Silver Linings: Cycling Rediscovered…

Much of the world is locked down and turning to cycling. An excellent reminder that it is a superior (carbon-free) mode of transport. And that smart planning would mean making it safer and more accessible everywhere.

Noted For The Record:

Trump Administration easing limits on toxic pollutants:

“This action, which is a gift to the coal industry at the expense of all Americans, is an attack on public health justified by a phony cost-benefit analysis that purposely inflates the cost of MATS and ignores the value of the human health benefits,” Ellen Kurlansky, a former air policy analyst at the EPA who helped to develop the MATS rule, told Reuters.

The Age Of Pandemics Requires Unprecedented Global Cooperation…

Call it Globalism 2.0, and if climate change hadn’t already made clear that humanity needs to start acting more like a family than a chaotic (and violent) gaggle of competing clans, then the prospect of future pandemics certainly does:

An estimated 650,000 to 840,000 unknown viral species capable of infecting humans lurk in wildlife. At the same time, population growth, urbanization, globalization, climate change, the relentless destruction of wildlife habitats and the harvesting of wild species have brought these viruses in closer contact with humans than ever before.

Pandemics may become the new normal.

But that doesn’t have to be. Pandemics are preventable, and the world can do three things to prevent them.

A pandemic, because it affects individuals much more directly than climate change, may be just the sort of wake-up humanity needs to start transcending nationalism and competitive capitalism and start finding our way towards an era of global cooperation and common purpose. Emphasis on “may be”…