Climate wins in court – Climate Weekly

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(Photo: Flickr/James Cridland)


Five years since Urgenda’s landmark courtroom victory forced the Dutch government to up its game – a ruling upheld by the supreme court last December – it’s Ireland’s turn.

Campaigners are celebrating a win at the supreme court in Dublin, which will require the government to develop a more ambitious climate strategy.

The political situation in Ireland had already taken on a greener hue, with a new coalition government last month promising to enshrine a 2050 net zero emissions target in law.

Still, the ruling reinforces the need for immediate action to cut emissions and shows Urgenda’s klimaatzaak was not a one-off.

This week’s stories

The oil trap

There is a fundamental irony to Saudi plans to diversify the economy away from reliance on oil exports: the kingdom’s capacity to do so is lowest just when the need is most obvious.

Religious tourism is a big part of “Vision 2030” to generate jobs in the non-oil economy, reports Rabiya Jaffery. Yet during hajj, when two million Muslims would visit Mecca in a typical year, the hotels are empty.

Travel restrictions and low oil demand create a big revenue shortfall for Riyadh – but officials insist there are no plans to introduce an income tax.

Beating hunger

The food situation in Zimbabwe is grim. Millions of people don’t have enough to eat, with food insecurity levels comparable to war zones.

Droughts are ever more frequent. A government plan to boost farm productivity failed, its $3 billion budget unaccounted for.

Against this backdrop, the women of Rumwanjiva took matters into their own hands, reports Chris Muronzi. They built a dam to water a vegetable garden and field of livestock fodder, allowing them to feed their families in tough times.

Flying comeback

Planes are returning to the skies as coronavirus restrictions ease, with the industry forecasting a return to pre-pandemic levels of traffic by 2023.

Domestic air travel is expected to bounce back before international, Jocelyn Timperley reports, turning the spotlight onto aviation emissions from major markets like the US and China.

Democrat groups are proposing a “second great railroad revolution” in the US to offer a lower carbon alternative to flying across the country.

Gigafactories defy gravity

One industry powering ahead despite the Covid-induced slowdown is electric vehicles.

Plans to build major lithium-ion battery factories across Europe are largely on track, Zak Derler reports, with at least 16 expected to be operating by 2030.

It positions Europe to be the second largest producer after China.

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