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The week in climate policy: 4 updates you need to know

Permitting reform holds up renewable energy transmission in the West; the EU is getting serious about ocean conservation.

Fish and plastic pollution in sea.

A fish swimming next to plastic pollution in the ocean. Photo: Shutterstock/Rich Carey

  • The need for a more effective and efficient permitting system is proven again in western states. Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Montana all have the option to repurpose old transmission lines — once used to transport fossil fuel-generated energy — to ferry renewably generated energy instead. An RMI report estimates that if the existing infrastructure is updated, the region could generate up to $50 billion in new profits by 2050, but a backlog of 12,000 projects requesting permits could stop the process before it even begins.
  • The European Union announced its investment of $3.71 billion to advance ocean sustainability and conservation in 2024. The funding covers marine conservation, the promotion of a blue economy, sustainable fisheries and maritime security, among others. This follows the news that Greece will invest $830 million into ocean conservation.    
  • The Canadian house of commons passed a sustainable jobs act despite up to 20,000 amendments introduced by the minority Conservative party. The act is meant to provide structure as the country’s labor market transitions to a net zero economy by introducing a council of stakeholders, including unionized workers and members of Indigenous groups, for oversight.  
  • Former president Donald Trump vowed to kill wind power development should he win the presidential election to a room of oil and gas industry executives at a private dinner at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida resort, according to the Washington Post. His remarks came as the Global Wind Energy Council released a report that says the U.S. and China led the world in onshore wind development in 2023.

[Continue the conversation on climate policy at Circularity 24 (May 22-24, Chicago), the leading conference for professionals building the circular economy.]

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