Panda cubs, rural jobs, fossil fuel-less steel and other positive stories from this week

Your weekly round-up of planet-positive news

20,000 rural jobs could be created by rewilding 5 per cent of England

New figures have shown that rewilding just 5 percent of England could increase employment by 50 percent and create nearly 20,000 jobs in rural areas, compared with intensive farming.

According to an analysis from Rewilding Britain, in addition to providing obvious benefits for biodiversity and the climate, rewilding would also create job opportunities in the areas of animal husbandry and ecology, nature tourism, species reintroduction, education, livestock management and restoration, alongside a ninefold increase in volunteering positions.

The projection is based on detailed surveys of 27 large rewilding sites in England, totalling about 29,162 hectares (72,062 acres) of marginal land in the charity’s network of estates, farms and conservation areas.

Read more in The Guardian here.

Sweden has produced steel without using fossil fuels

Just 553 conventional steel plants worldwide are responsible for 9 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions, according to research published by Carbon Brief. But this week, a shipment of steel has been delivered to Swedish truck maker Volvo AB that was produced without the use of fossil fuels.

Instead, the steel was created using the HYBRIT process, which replaces fossil fuels both in the production of the iron pellets that are the key ingredient of steel, and in the removal of oxygen from the iron by replacing carbon and coke with green hydrogen.

Read more in Forbes here.

Solar power could provide 40% of U.S. electricity by 2035

Despite seeing growth of 4,000 percent and a drop in cost of energy of more than 70 percent over the last decade, solar power still only accounts for 3 percent of electricity generation in the U.S. The Biden Administration has set a target to increase this to 40 percent by 2035, which it says will be achievable if costs keep dropping.

The Department of Energy’s goal is for the levelized cost of energy for a solar residential system to reach 5 cents per kilowatt hour by 2030, down from 50 cents in 2010, while tax incentives for transmission and storage could also lead to faster solar deployment.

Read more in CNBC here.

New social homes in Wales will meet highest energy efficiency standards from October

The Welsh Government has announced plans to ban fossil fuel heating systems in newly-built social housing from 1st October 2021. Instead, new homes in Wales must meet the highest energy efficiency standards to reduce carbon use during construction and once occupied. The move is part of the government’s commitment to build 20,000 low carbon homes for rent over the next five years.

Housing developers will be required to undertake an as-built assessment of whole-life carbon and post occupancy evaluation of the building’s performance.

Read more in Energy Live News here.

A Chinese giant panda has given birth in Singapore

The first Chinese giant panda has been born in Singapore, in what is a rare occasion for the endangered species.

Weighing about 200 grams, the cub was born at a wildlife park to its parents Kai Kai (13) and Jia Jia (12), who entered their seventh breeding season in April with the aid of artificial insemination, after arriving in Singapore in 2012. Both mother and cub are doing well.

Read more on ABC News here.

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Charli Ferrand

Charli wrote her first novel at the tender age of 9, then dabbled in the idea of becoming a professional ballerina for a few years, before returning to her love of writing, acquiring a BA (Hons) in Journalism, Film & Broadcast from Cardiff University in the UK. A three-month holiday in Australia turned into a 11 year residency, during which Charli cemented her career in PR & Marketing Communications working with some of the biggest brands in the world. She also gained her citizenship, discovered her passion for sustainability and eventually ended up coming full circle, combining her professional skills with her love of the planet and oceans into her role as Editor-in-Chief of Earth Collective. A trained journalist, experienced communications professional and qualified Mental Health First Aider, Charli has her finger on the pulse of the latest political and environmental developments around the world. You can find her writing about current affairs, political activism and mental health.

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