Sustainability Reads: April 27- May 3

The Most and Least Eco-Friendly States of 2015
A new study evaluated U.S. states on 14 environmental metrics ranging from CO2 emissions per capita, to water and soil quality, to green transportation. Here is a peak into the results:

Top 5: Vermont, Oregon, New York, Minnesota, and Massachusetts
Bottom 5: Louisiana, Texas, Kentucky, Indiana, and Alabama

Study by Wallet Hub, article by Sherrell Dorsey on Triple Pundit.

Break-up of the century: U.S. emissions and economic growth are really, finally separating

Chipotle to Stop Serving Genetically Altered Food
On Monday, Chipotle became the first major restaurant chain to serve only food that is free of genetically modified ingredients. In 2013, Chipotle began labeling products on its menu that had GMO ingredients, and now they plan on taking it a step further by completely eliminating those ingredients from the menu. Although the restaurant will still have beverages that have GMO ingredients (many soft drinks have GMO corn-based sweeteners) as well as some of the meat & dairy supplies (animals fed with GMO grains), the increase in demand for GMO-free products has led the company to stop using GMO corn tortillas and GMO canola and soy oil. Instead, Chipotle will use sunflower oil to fry its chips and tortillas. A non-GMO canola oil will be used to make flour tortillas, and although it was more costly for Chipotle to use this type of oil, consumers are signaling that they are willing to pay a bit more to be sure their food does not contain GMO ingredients. By Stephanie Strom at the New York Times.

Also, Tyson commits to not using human antibiotics in chickens by 2017. Great news this week for rethinking U.S. food system!

The Vatican, US Secretary of State, and California’s Governor Brown all made significant headway in climate action this week as well:

2015 the ‘last effective opportunity’ to safely limit warming, says Vatican conference statement
In a Vatican climate change meeting on Tuesday, scientists, and religious and political luminaries, released a statement suggesting that a 2015 climate accord may be the last chance to keep global warming within a range deemed “safe” for the world, its people and its ecosystems. The statement also said that ‘Human-induced climate change is a scientific reality, and its decisive mitigation is a moral and religious imperative for humanity.” By Chris Mooney at the Washington Post.

US State dept labels climate change “strategic priority”
Also on Tuesday, in unveiling the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, US Secretary of State John Jerry stated that climate change will be one of four foreign policy priorities for the US. Kerry said that in the document, which directs State Department thinking, climate and clean energy lay at the heart of future planning. The document branded climate change as a “national security threat” and ranked it alongside fighting terrorism, promoting economic growth and building open and democratic societies. Kerry also highlighted the role of cities in addressing the issue. Ed King at RTCC.

New California Goal Aims to Reduce Emissions 40 Percent Below 1990 Levels by 2030
In an executive order on Wednesday, Governor Brown of California established the most aggressive benchmark yet to be enacted by any government in North America to reduce CO2. The reduction target, 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, is the same commitment that the European Union has submitted to the UNFCCC for the Paris 2015 treaty. California is on track to meet or exceed the current target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, as established by AB 32. California’s new emission reduction target will make it possible to reach the ultimate goal of reducing emissions 80 percent under 1990 levels by 2050, the required reductions that will limit global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

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