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EGEB: The Guardian makes net zero emissions pledge, what is the Green New Deal? more

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • The Guardian is the first major news outlet to become a B corporation, pledges to reach net zero emissions by 2030.
  • What exactly is the Green New Deal?
  • Wells Fargo signs a solar deal that will power hundreds of Texas locations.
  • We need to talk about industrial heating as a pollution source.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

The Guardian commits to net zero

The Guardian Media Group (GMG) announced on Wednesday that it has become a B corporation. It is the first major international news organization to achieve B Corp certification.

B Corps are “a new kind of business that balances purpose and profit. They are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment.” There are more than 3,000 B Corps organizations worldwide.

Further, GMG has committed to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030. The newspaper made the announcement in an environmental pledge to its readers.

Katherine Viner, editor-in-chief of Guardian News & Media, said:

At the Guardian we believe that the climate crisis is the most urgent issue of our times.

As an organization we will take steps to address the Guardian’s own impact on the environment. Today we commit to achieving net zero emissions by 2030, and we are currently undertaking a full audit of our emissions to assess how we will achieve this challenging goal.

(Disclosure: I have previously worked for the Guardian.)

What’s the Green New Deal?

The Green New Deal is a major talking point when it comes to green energy and the climate crisis. But if someone asked you to explain exactly what it is in a nutshell, could you?

One Green Planet sums the Green New Deal up perfectly and succinctly:

It’s a transformation that moves our current economy from one dependent on fossil fuels to one driven by clean energy, which includes reducing economic inequality and expanding health care for all Americans.

It combines President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s approach in the New Deal during the Great Depression with ideas about green energy and renewables. Writers and activists previously used the term in the 2000s.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) released a 14-page resolution for their Green New Deal on February 7, 2019. It’s a framework, and legislators still need to work out the plan’s nitty-gritty.

At present, the Green New Deal is an exercise in communication and awareness. It would be an extremely difficult bill to pass in Congress, but it’s certainly put the issues on the table.

It also has global momentum, as Electrek explained on October 10 in our story, “Nearly 100 city mayors announce support of global Green New Deal at C40 summit.”

Wells Fargo’s Texas solar deal

Wells Fargo made its largest green energy purchase yesterday when it “signed a 10-year structured renewable energy agreement with NRG Energy company Reliant for 62,000 megawatt-hours of annual solar energy,” according to Environment + Energy Leader.

The purchase will power around 400 of Wells Fargo’s Texas properties.

The energy will come from a new utility-scale solar facility in Texas that’s scheduled to break ground in 2020 and start delivering power to the grid in 2021, according to Wells Fargo.

The company plans to install solar on more than 100 of its facilities across the US. Wells Fargo has committed to providing $200 billion in sustainable financing through 2030.

Industrial heating emissions: a difficult problem

High-heat industrial processes are used for everything from melting steel to molding plastic. And those processes produce carbon emissions, because they usually involve burning fossil fuels.

But the Renewable Thermal Collaborative is working on this problem:

Energy used for heating and cooling comprises approximately 50% of total global final energy demand and 39% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.

The Renewable Thermal Collaborative (RTC) serves as the leading coalition for organizations that are committed to scaling up renewable heating and cooling at their facilities and dramatically cutting carbon emissions. RTC members recognize the growing demand and necessity for renewable heating and cooling and the urgent need to meet this demand in a manner that delivers sustainable, cost-competitive options at scale.

Members include General Motors, Kimberly-Clark, L’Oréal, P&G, and the City of Philadelphia.

Marty Spitzer, senior director of climate and renewable energy with the World Wildlife Fund, helps facilitate the RTC. He said:

We haven’t done very much yet to address that large bucket of emissions. We have to start now in order to have a chance to solve the climate challenge.

Yale Climate Connections adds, “The large energy buyers in the collaborative aim to drive down costs by coordinating their investments.”

Photo: Guardian, King’s Place, London/Glassdoor

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.