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The week in climate policy: 5 updates you need to know

Switzerland is successfully sued for violating its citizens rights by not addressing climate change, the European Union launches a probe into Chinese wind turbine subsidies.

Swiss flag waving in the wind over snowy mountains under Alps cloudy sky

Swiss flag waving in the wind in the Alps. Photo: Shutterstock/AYMAN KASHEF

Here’s the week in climate policy news:

 

  • The European Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of over 2,000 Swiss women who claimed in a lawsuit that Switzerland violated their human rights with its slow approach to addressing climate change. This ruling establishes a benchmark for other climate change related cases moving forward. It "sets a crucial legally binding precedent serving as a blueprint for how to successfully sue your own government over climate failures," said Ruth Delbaere, legal campaign director at global civic movement Avaaz.  
  • The European Commission is launching a probe into five Chinese wind turbine operations in Spain, Greece, France, Romania and Bulgaria based on the newly established Foreign Subsidies Regulation. The probe is an effort to prevent China’s dominance in the field similar to the country’s leadership in solar energy. China has overtaken the European Union as the largest producer of wind turbine parts, threatening the EU with market dominance.  
  • Green ammonia company Avina Clean Hydrogen purchased the last available water supply from the Nueces River in South Texas. The company’s move to the area is fueled by the availability of federal subsidies provided by the Inflation Reduction Act, but it’s not necessarily a clearcut case of climate success. Locals are worried that the green ammonia facility — recognized by government officials and scientists as a vital step towards the transition away from fossil fuels — will lead to regional water scarcity, impacting the water supply to 600,000 nearby customers. 
  • The Environmental Protection Agency’s power plant rule — expected to enforce strict emissions standards on gas-fired facilities — is going through last minute changes as the May announcement deadline nears, according reporting from E&E News. Among the changes being discussed is giving plant operators more time to retrofit facilities with carbon capture technology, a response to industry pleas for an extended transition period. 
  • In its inaugural 2024 Climate Policy Heroes, GreenBiz highlights 15 honorees, nominated by their peers, who are doing vital work to confront the climate crisis at the state, federal and local levels. Each nominee demonstrates a commitment to mitigating the impacts of climate change by carving a path towards transformative, creative and measurable change in their communities.

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