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Aug. 23, 2019, 1:07 p.m. EDT

‘Flight shaming’ apparently sways Prince William and Kate, and Bernie’s electric school buses

Coral seeks a cooler refuge and more from today’s climate-change headlines

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By Rachel Koning Beals


Getty Images
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and her husband Prince William, Duke of Cambridge are shown at a regatta earlier this month.

Evidence of the increasing effects of climate change is building, as are the investing opportunities and changes in consumer habits linked to environmental concerns and resource use. Here are select dispatches about the companies responding to customer demands and climate risk, the ESG investors and their advisers, and the enterprising individuals and scientists preparing for tomorrow.

Prince William and Kate opt for budget flight after Harry and Meghan slammed over private jet . Prince William, his wife Catherine and their three children took a budget airline to travel on holiday to Scotland Thursday — just days after his brother Prince Harry and wife Meghan, vocal advocates for efforts to fight the effects of climate change, faced some wrath for their use of private jets.

Earlier this week, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex faced criticism after using private jets to fly to the south of France and Ibiza in two trips just days apart. Environmental campaigners accused the pair of hypocrisy, given that aviation is one of the world’s major polluters and is responsible for more than 2% of global emissions, CNN reported . The environmental footprint of a private jet is also much greater than that of a commercial plane although this contributor to Forbes argues the smaller-plane industry is wrongly singled out and that the dexterity of private jets can ultimately help in the climate-change fight.

Read : ‘Flight shame’ by Greta Thunberg boosts carbon-offset programs

Read: Brazil says it’s lacking resources to fight Amazon fire as Europe’s leaders urge a G-7 response

Bernie’s best idea? Electric school buses . One “little” proposal within 2020 candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders’s $16 trillion climate plan — a pitch that this Mother Jones columnist gave a D- — could be proof that the proposal is best chopped for parts. Catching interest in particular was an idea focused on the youngest of his would-be constituents: students and the yellow school buses that about 55% of U.S. public school attendees use.

Don’t miss: Bernie Sanders’s $16 trillion climate plan builds on the Green New Deal

The candidate has proposed $407 billion in grants for states to help school districts and transit agencies replace all school and transit buses with electric buses. Researchers have measured pollutant levels on those buses, and they’re five to 10 times higher than pollution levels elsewhere. As Vox pointed out, about 95% of those public school buses run on diesel . The Sanders campaign suggests that once older buses are replaced with clean electric buses, school districts will save in fuel and maintenance costs over the life cycle of the bus.

Social media commentary noted that the large chunks of time that school buses sit idle make them an ideal charging candidate . At least one response to the proposal on Twitter asked, why not mandatory seat belts first?

Yale: Some good news for disappearing coral . The coral reefs of the tropics have looked doomed. Bleached by marine heatwaves, suffering mass die-offs, and stuck to the sea bed, they have no obvious escape as the oceans warm. Some experts say they will be gone by mid-century, the first great ecosystem casualty of the climate emergency. But the news is not entirely grim, writes Fred Pearce for Yale Environment 360 .

It turns out that young corals can be surprisingly mobile, able to move in ocean currents, if their homes become inhospitable, and relocate to more equable waters. “I do believe there is a glimmer of hope for them,” says Nichole Price of the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in Maine, the lead author of the first global study of their sporadic recovery.

Marine ecologists are reporting migration of tropical coral into subtropical regions, part of a wider “tropicalization” of ocean ecosystems as species seek cooler waters away from the Equator, the report says. While struggling in their former habitat, they are proliferating between 20 and 35 degrees north and south of the Equator, with young refugee corals creating new reefs hundreds of miles from home.

Read: The rise of artificial intelligence comes with rising needs for power

And: Wind-farm operator reveals a problem — not enough wind

Rachel Koning Beals is a MarketWatch news editor in Chicago.

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