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  • September 24, 2019
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Weekly Briefing: How public servants can fight the climate crisis

Our weekly rundown of global policy

Climate change is reaching a crisis point. The only way to fix it is with collaboration — and innovation — from governments around the globe. In the past week, we saw leaders convening at the UN to talk solutions, and young people from Nairobi to New York demonstrating to demand they work faster.

This week’s briefing is devoted to what’s working to solve the climate crisis. From the ancient Arabic technique saving Spain from floods to the promise of using the power of nature itself to save the planet, these are the innovations that give us hope.

Top Stories

Learn how to combat the climate emergency with nature-based solutions. Climate change is already starting to impact every sector — and everyone in government has a role to play. This 10-day boot camp will teach you everything you need to know about one clever tool to combat the climate emergency: nature. (Apolitical)

There are five things every government needs to do right now to tackle climate change. From spreading responsibility for climate action across all departments and listening to citizens to implementing symbolic policies, here are the must-dos for the public sector. (Apolitical)

An innovation lab is solving climate financing. With government funding lagging and the private sector still slow to invest, the lab has developed non-traditional financial instruments to fund climate solutions. So far, it’s made $1.9 billion in investments across 35 projects.(Apolitical)

San Francisco is spinning climate gold from the city’s trash. Through a curbside collection initiative, the city amasses 700 tons of compost daily. It sells it to vineyards, farms and rangelands, which use the compost to reduce and even replace fossil fuel-based fertilisers and pesticides. (Apolitical)

Want to save the planet? Put the world’s poorest in the driver’s seat. Less than $1 out of every $10 invested reaches the people most affected by climate change. Making sure these communities are involved in climate finance and decision-making is critical to reaching targets. (Apolitical)


Climate action requires cross-sector collaboration more than ever before. In this free online workshop, you’ll learn how being an effective collaborator can help you achieve your goals and discover ways to get buy-in from teams with conflicting priorities. Join us on October 9. (Apolitical)


How are you or your department working to prevent climate change? What should the public service change to protect the environment? Share your work and ideas with influencers in 170+ countries by contributing to Apolitical as an opinion writer. Submit your idea here.

Barcelona’s plan to expand its car-free ‘superblocks’ could save 667 lives per year. The city plans to turn over 70% of street space to pedestrians and cyclists, which will cut pollution, reduce noise and create more green space, helping citizens to lead healthier lives. (CityLab)

Twice as many Swedes are choosing to travel by train instead of flying compared to a year-and-a-half ago. Swedish Railways said people have changed their behaviour “dramatically” as a result of the country’s climate debate: 37% now choose rail over air. (Positive News)

Australia’s capital city will soon run on 100% renewable energy. As of January 2020, Canberra will run solely on solar and wind power. It’s the first city outside of Europe to switch from fossil fuels to 100% renewables: Rhein-Hunsrück in Germany became the first in 2012. (Nature)

New Zealand is using procurement to push forward its climate agenda. It will start looking beyond the price of bids and focus on how contracting can help it achieve wider policy objectives, like transitioning to a low-carbon economy and achieving inclusive growth. (The Conversation)


“I know you are trying, but just not hard enough. Sorry.” — Teen activist Greta Thunberg to the US Congress

An ancient Arabic technique is saving Alicante from floods. The Spanish city built a park designed to store and collect rainwater, which is later diverted to a nearby treatment plant and recycled. It resembles an aljibe, a technique developed centuries ago in which water is collected in a cistern. (The Guardian)

Rotterdam’s circular economy will create 7,000 jobs in 10 years. The Dutch city said it wants to become a “living laboratory” where new ideas for a waste-free future are tested. Most of the new jobs will involve software development, design, digital and working to extend the lifespan of products that already exist. (Circular Rotterdam)

And finally

Apolitical throwback: A social network for birdwatchers could save the planet. Conservationists are using birds’ movements to predict which parts of the world will be hit hardest by climate change. Aficionados have submitted 450 million sightings, which the platform uses to track migratory patterns and population shifts. (Apolitical)

(Picture credit: Unsplash)


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