Around the world people are taking the initiative to mitigate climate change. Here are some good news briefs compiled by the Climate Issue group of the LWV of Bellingham/Whatcom.
Two Washington Towns Recognize the Rights of Orcas
Gig Harbor, Washington, last December became the second city in the Pacific Northwest region to proclaim (1) that southern resident orca whales have legal rights. A week earlier, Port Townsend, Washington, made the same proclamation, (2) marking the first time a U.S. city council has made such a recognition.
“The rights of the southern resident orcas include, but are not limited to, the right to life, autonomy, culture, free and safe passage, adequate food supply from naturally occurring sources, and freedom from conditions causing physical, emotional or mental harm, including a habitat degraded by noise, pollution and contamination,” both towns’ nonbinding proclamations say.
Issuance of the document represents the latest development in the “rights of nature movement” which recognizes that nature and all of its constituent parts — including wild animals, mountains, forests, rivers and humans.
Inside Climate News, 12/06/22, Katie Surma
Bigger Is Better: Panama to Protect More Than 54 Percent of Its Oceans
This initiative, backed by data from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, aims to mitigate climate change, protect the country’s deep-sea marine-mountain environments, and safeguard wildlife from human intervention.
During the Our Ocean Conference 2023 held in Panama City on March 2 and 3, Panama’s President Laurentino Cortizo and Minister of Environment Milciades Concepción signed an Executive Decree that gives the marine protected area (MPA) of Banco Volcán, in the Panamanian Caribbean, 36,058 square miles of protection. Panama now protects more than half of its oceans.
Created in 2015, with 5,487 square miles, the “Banco Volcán Managed Resources Area” is an area with unique natural resources, such as deep mountain ranges and high biodiversity that includes various migratory species and protected and endangered species, all important for the health of the oceans. The proposal to expand its limits was made in response to a request from the Ministry of the Environment last year, after a review of the protected area by STRI scientist Héctor Guzmán and considering the ecological integrity of the region.
The expansion of the Banco Volcán Marine Protected Area in 2023 has not only led Panama to protect more than 54 percent of its oceans, but will also buffer climate change, protect Panama’s deep-sea mountain environments, and help safeguard fauna from human interventions, including several fish and invertebrate species of high commercial value, such as the Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus). Therefore, this action will have a direct impact on the protection of an important sustainable resource for the indigenous and Afro-Caribbean coastal communities of Panama. In addition, it could maintain the connectivity of migratory routes for oceanic and marine-coastal species in the area that extends along the Caribbean coasts of Jamaica, Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.
“With the protection of more than half of its seas, including extensive ocean reserves on both sides of the isthmus, Panama is not only ensuring the conservation of its marine biodiversity and the livelihoods of the people who depend on these ecosystems in the long-term, but is also positioned to lead a much more ambitious regional effort,” said STRI marine biologist and MigraMar co-founder Héctor Guzmá. (3)
Arlington’s Eviation Announces Electric Plane Order
Arlington-based electric airplane maker Eviation Aircraft (4) today announced that a company based in the United Kingdom signed a letter of intent for up to 30 of Eviation’s all-electric commuter aircraft known as Alice.
MONTE (5), a regional aircraft lessor focused on sustainable aviation, will provide financing and leasing solutions for the Alice and its associated charging infrastructure to its global customer base of regional aircraft operators, according to a news release recently from Eviation.
The Eviation Alice is a nine-passenger electric aircraft built from a clean-sheet design around Everett-based magniX’s industry-leading electric propulsion system. Alice produces zero carbon emissions. It completed its first test flight (6) in September.
“The need to accelerate technological solutions to climate change, such as Eviation’s Alice, is becoming ever more urgent,” Loic Questiaux, a sales director for Eviation, said in the release. “Just one month ago, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that the planet is likely to pass the threshold of 1.5C warming over pre-industrial temperatures by the early 2030s, a tipping point for the planet’s climate. By supporting groundbreaking innovations such as Alice, MONTE is helping to advance much-needed innovation in confronting one of the greatest challenges facing mankind.”
“We are delighted to enter into this agreement with Eviation,” Rishi Majithia, director of MONTE, added. “The Alice is a unique, well-designed and pioneering aircraft that we are excited to offer to our global customers in the regional aviation industry.”
Eviation said it has passed $4 billion in Alice orders.
“We are thrilled to welcome MONTE as our latest customer, as they share our vision for a new era of sustainable, responsible aviation,” Gregory Davis, president and CEO of Eviation, said in the release. “The leasing community has an important role to play in reducing the aviation industry’s carbon emissions.”
425 Business, May 11, 2023, John Stearns
New Pollution Control Law Benefits Poor Communities
Maryland lawmakers have approved a measure requiring that, year by year, manufacturers ensure that zero-emissions vehicles make up a growing share of the trucks and buses sold in the state.
The measure, signed on April 21 by the state’s Democratic governor, Wes Moore, will apply to vehicles from the model year 2027 onward. It requires the Maryland Department of the Environment, the state’s environmental regulator, to adopt regulations by December that establish sales targets for manufacturers through 2035.
The law is geared toward adopting California’s Advanced Clean Trucks rule, which serves as a model for states making the transition to emissions-free vehicles. It requires that 15 percent of vehicles ranging from 8,501 to 14,000 pounds in size need to be emissions-free by the 2027 model year. The same would apply to Maryland once it adopts the rule under the new legislation.
Environmental advocates have hailed the legislation as a victory for low-income communities made up primarily of people of color, which have been disproportionately affected by air pollution from highways, freight hubs and ports located next to their neighborhoods.
The Baltimore Banner (7)