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South Africa’s energy crisis team unveils finance plan that could bring a just transition

South Africa is a kingpin of the Global South: we are the biggest carbon emitter on the African continent, and the 14th biggest globally. Our economy runs on a grid of ageing coal power stations, and our financially-crippled national utility, Eskom, doesn’t have the money to replace them. But a new funding proposal sitting with government could rescue the utility from financial ruin, force the rapid phase-out of coal, and pool funds to catch the workers who will lose their livelihoods as coal energy dwindles. Leonie Joubert reports

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Unions can – and will – play a leading role in tackling the climate crisis

How did a billionaire win over coal miners in Pennsylvania and West Virginia to become president? Three words: “Trump digs coal”. By linking deindustrialisation and the decline of working communities in America’s “rust belt” to environmental regulation, Donald Trump could paint his greener rivals as out of touch with the concerns of ordinary Americans. Never mind that climate change and pollution will hit working class people hardest – when it’s “jobs or the planet”, the former will always be a more immediate worry for the precarious and impoverished. Matt Perry reports for The Conversation


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Poland Discovers Ecology

After a long time of being either ignored or seen as a Western luxury topic, the state of the environment has begun to occupy a broad space in Polish public debate. From the threat of air pollution to the climate crisis, sustainability is now more visible than ever in the media and the campaign ahead of parliamentary elections on October 13. But will this shift produce a real change in direction for the good of both people and planet?

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Fire in the holes: Transforming mined out lands into solar plants

While most post-mining plans, especially for surface mines, calls for pits to be redeveloped into lakes or farm land, an increasing body of research and evidence shows that these ripped-up landscapes can be successfully transformed into clean energy gold mines—whose solar PV resource potential, unlike coal’s, is infinite. L. Michael Buchsbaum reports

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Look to Europe to Improve the Green New Deal: Why Laws Matter

The Green New Deal (GND) pact embraced by scores of US Democrats is chock- full of vibrant ideas and urgent policy considerations. It’s right that with the climate crisis accelerating faster than scientists predicted and our window to curb it narrowing, we have to think big – indeed something at least as sweeping in scope as the New Deal recovery program of the 1930s. Paul Hockenos reports

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New trains for old tracks – how Guatemala City aims to tackle its traffic chaos

Sometimes clean and efficient energy solutions do not require rocket science or fancy buzzwords, such as block chain or other digital jargon. When it comes to reforming public transportation in urban areas the City of Guatemala is now retrieving old train tracks – put in place in the late 1800s to aid the country’s growing banana exports – to solve its mounting traffic nightmare. Rebecca Bertram reports

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