Happy Earth Day! It seems only fitting that it falls on a Wednesday and right in time to share our weekly Hopeful Headlines. In addition to the global movement to combat climate change taking place right this moment, this week has been full of major actions that contribute to a healthier planet. Most notably, Oxford University (perhaps the most famous on the planet) passed a motion to divest from fossil fuels investments.

We can only hope this lights a fire under Harvard’s well-endowed behind…

Oxford University Passes Resolution Banning Investment In Fossil Fuels

By Matthew Kayanja, The Oxford Student, April 20, 2020

  • A group of 5500 academic staff and university leaders passed a resolution “reqiring its endowment fund to divest from all direct investments in fossil fuel companies, and end future investments in funds that primarily hold stock in fossil fuel companies.”
  • Per the report: The preamble to the resolution hails it as a chance to put Oxford “in a strong position to act as a world leader on climate conscious investment” in partnership with “the best available research on climate conscious business practises.”
  • The Oxford Endowment Fund is valued at over 3 billion pounds.

While We’ve Been in Lockdown, Solar Cell Technology Has Smashed Three Big Records

By Carly Cassella, Science Alert, April 18, 2020

  • Scientists in the United States and Germany broke three solar panel efficiency records in the last month. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory achieved 48.1 percent efficiency with its “six-junction” solar cell – “the most efficient in the world under concentrated light conditions.”
  • The same six-junction cell achieved 39.2 percent efficiency without concentrated light — breaking another record.
  • German engineers achieved 24.16 percent efficiency with a “tandem cell made from stacked silicon and perovskite.” The combination is lightweight and could have applications for satellite and space technology.

Citigroup is Latest Major US Bank to Rule Out Funding for Arctic Refuge Drilling

By Gabby Brown, Sierra Club, April 20, 2020

  • Megabank Citigroup updated its energy policy to rule out financing for Arctic Drilling, coal mining, and coal-fired power plants.
  • Citigroup joined a dozen major global banks in refusing to finance Arctic Drilling, including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.
  • Per the report: “For years, we have been speaking out about the need to keep drill rigs out of our sacred lands in the Arctic Refuge, and it’s amazing that a growing number of major banks are listening,” said Gwich’in Steering Committee Executive Director Bernadette Demientieff. “The Arctic Refuge is critical to our people’s food security and way of life. Our human rights will not be dismissed. The fight to protect this place is far from over, and we will continue to hold accountable any bank, oil company, or politician that seeks to benefit from its destruction.”

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Feature photo by delfi de la Rua on Unsplash.