Koru’s Weekly News Round-Up – January Week 4

Missed the news last week? Not to worry – here, we will recap and link to the most topical stories over the past seven days.

Line streets with trees to prevent serious asthma attacks, say scientists

“Asthma hospital admissions could be cut dramatically by lining streets with trees, the largest ever study has found. Researchers from the University of Exeter’s medical school studied the impact of urban greenery on the respiratory condition and say the results suggest planting trees could help reduce the dangerous effects of traffic fumes. However large areas of grassed gardens or parkland could make asthma worse, the findings suggest, because grass pollen merges with pollution – triggering a condition known as ‘grey fever.’ Asthma affects about five million people in Britain, costs the NHS £1 billion a year and causes around 1,000 deaths annually. Pollution is known to exacerbate asthma, but researchers found that even in the most-polluted areas, a high density of trees led to fewer A&E admissions than in less-polluted neighbourhoods with fewer trees…” via Telegraph.

Norway aims for all short-haul flights to be 100% electric by 2040

“All of Norway’s short-haul airliners should be entirely electric by 2040, the country’s airport operator said on Wednesday, cementing the Nordic nation’s role as a pioneer in the field of electric transport. Avinor, the public operator of Norwegian airports, “aims to be the first in the world” to make the switch to electric air transport, chief executive Dag Falk-Petersen said. “We think that all flights lasting up to 1.5 hours can be flown by aircraft that are entirely electric,” he said, noting that would cover all domestic flights and those to neighbouring Scandinavian capitals. In the near future, Avinor plans to launch a tender offer to test a commercial route flown with a small electric plane with 19 seats, starting in 2025…” via The Guardian

Trump’s tariffs on solar mark biggest blow to renewables yet

“President Donald Trump dealt his biggest blow to the renewable energy industry yet. On Monday, Trump approved duties of as much as 30 percent on solar equipment made outside the U.S., a move that threatens to handicap a $28 billion industry that relies on parts made abroad for 80 percent of its supply. The tariffs are the latest action by Trump to undermine the economics of renewables. The administration already decided to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement on climate change, sought to roll back Obama-era regulations on power plant-emissions and signed sweeping tax reforms that constrained financing for solar and wind. The import taxes are the most targeted strike on the industry yet and may have larger consequences for the energy world. “We are inclined to view it as posing greater trade risk for all types of energy, particularly if other nations establish new trade barriers against U.S. products,” Washington-based research firm ClearView Energy Partners LLC said Monday…” via Bloomberg

Photo Credit: Apple

Apple outlines plans for another US campus

“Apple has announced plans to build a new campus in the United States, in addition to the recently completed Apple Park, as part of a major investment and job creation strategy. The tech company’s giant Foster + Partners-designed campus has barely finished, but Apple already has its sights on another construction venture – away from its headquarters in Cupertino, California. “The company plans to establish an Apple campus in a new location, which will initially house technical support for customers,” said a statement released yesterday. “The location of this new facility will be announced later in the year.” No details were released about who will design the new facility, or how big it will be. However, Apple anticipates it will create over 20,000 new jobs at its existing campuses and the proposed new site over the next five years…” via Dezeen

Boris Johnson proposes a 22-mile bridge across the Channel

“Boris Johnson has floated the idea of a 22-mile bridge across the Channel to enhance transport links with France after Brexit. The foreign secretary discussed the issue with Emmanuel Macron, the French president, at the Anglo-French summit, saying it was “ridiculous” that two of the world’s biggest economies are linked by a single railway line. Macron is understood to have responded positively with an agreement that a second link should be built. At the gathering at Sandhurst military college in Berkshire, Theresa May and Macron held talks alongside their senior ministers. Macron has offered to loan Britain the Bayeux tapestry as a gesture of friendship, and suggested the UK and France were “making a new tapestry together” with their range of bilateral agreements across culture, security, art and trade. Later, Johnson tweeted a picture of himself and Macron both giving a thumbs-up sign, captioned: “En marche! Great meetings with French counterparts today.” Johnson has previously promoted the idea of another Channel Tunnel but is now said to think a bridge could also be possible, telling aides that such feats of engineering have been achieved in Japan…” via The Guardian.

The state of green business, 2018

“The double-barrel impact of the Paris climate agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, both enacted in 2015, is finally being felt as companies begin to align their sustainability goals and, ultimately, their operations with these global commitments. And even though the United States government remains on the sidelines of both efforts, the private sector — allied with states, cities and other nations — is marching forward. If not in lockstep, at least in the same general direction. Indeed, company commitments and achievements continue, unbuffeted by the political winds. Leadership companies such as Walmart and Apple continue to raise the bar — a commitment to remove a billion tons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, in the case of the retail titan, and a pledge to make mobile phones entirely from recycled materials, for the iconic tech company. Newer and smaller firms are making moves, too, ramping up renewable energy purchases and taking on other green initiatives once seen as purely the domain of the world’s biggest brands…” via GreenBiz.

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