1,000 Electric Buses on Moscow Streets by 2022? China Winning the Green Space Race, Maryland Passes Landmark Climate Change Law, and a One Planet Summit Recap

by | Apr 12, 2021 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Russia Pledges 1,000 Electric Buses on Moscow Streets by 2022, plus China Crushes Both America and Russia in the Race To Replace Diesel Buses With Electric. Maryland Passes The “Climate Solutions Now Act Of 2021″ and A One Planet Summit Recap.




France recently hosted the One Planet Summit, and because top US officials were absent, very little of it was reported in the US press. So, here are a few highlights: One Planet Summit host, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, has now been joined by 50 countries. The High Ambition Coalition was launched in 2019 by Costa Rica, France and Britain to set a target of protecting at least 30% of the planet, both land and water, by 2030.

A side conference at the One Planet Summit focused on investment for Africa’s Great Green Wall project. The Climate Daily reported earlier on that project, which involves gigantic efforts to stop the Sahara Desert from spreading further south– last month. A quick reminder—Africa’s Great Green Wall project was launched in 2007. It aims to plant an arc of trees running 7,000 kilometers (4,350 miles) across Africa — from Senegal along the Atlantic all the way to Djibouti on the Gulf of Aden. Participants in the side conference welcomed the creation of a so-called accelerator, which is expected to release $14.3 billion over the next five years to finance the program.

Another initiative involves a new coalition of Mediterranean countries working to better protect the sea from pollution and overfishing. And Britain’s Prince Charles launched an “urgent appeal” to private sector leaders to join a new investment alliance targeting $10 billion by 2022 to finance nature-based solutions.

DEEPER DIVE: Press Democrat, Great Green Wall, UN, Campaign for Nature



In an earlier episode of The Climate Daily, we reported on Russia’s purported foray into climate change research—building a 100 MILLION -dollar research ship set to sail up the Neva River. We also expressed some skepticism about Russia’s commitment to combating climate change. Well, in a nod to them, it was recently announced that the city of Moscow will have deployed 1,000 electric buses on their public transportation system by the end of 2021.

According to the State Research Center of the Russian Federation, that system currently has 660 electric buses. Mosgortrans operates the city’s bus and tram system. Over the next four years, that company’s goal is to replace all its more than 26-hundred diesel buses with electric. The plan is to replace diesel for electric on a one for one basis. World Wildlife Fund Russia spokesman, Mikhail Babenko, welcomed this commitment to greening Moscow’s public transportation sector. If all goes well, all Mosgortrans’s trams also will be all-electric by 2030.

By way of comparison, New York City has a goal of purchasing 500 electric buses for all 5 of its boroughs by 2024. That figure represents only about 11% of its entire fleet of almost 47-hundred buses. Although in its defense, the NYC MTA did state 2040 as their all-electric deadline.

So if this news is the kind to spark a new version of the Cold War, let’s call it the Green War, pitting Russia vs. the USA on who’ll go green fastest, I say, “Bring it on!” 

DEEPER DIVE: Electrek, State Research Center of Russian Federation, Reuters



In a related story, somebody recently asked NASA’s launch director Charlie Blackwell-Thompson if the push by China and Russia to build a research station on the moon would re-ignite the Space Race. Her reply was, “No. America won the space race—six times.” 

In 2010, the Chinese government decreed that the 22-million-person megacity of Shenzen would convert its entire 16,000-bus public transportation system from diesel to electric—in a decade. As of late 2020, not only is the entire bus fleet electric, so are all 22,000 of its taxicabs! So, if you apply Space Race analogy, China won the Green Race—six times. 

The shift to electric had the dual purpose of cleaning Shenzen’s air and reducing CO2 emissions in that city by 440,000 tonnes. That’s over 970 million pounds. To put that into perspective, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, that’s the equivalent of providing energy for almost 51,000 US homes for a year. Or planting 7.2 million trees.  

Switching from diesel to electric in less than a decade in a city almost three times the population of Manhattan was a monumental task. Why this story is significant is it shows that people with a singular purpose can do a bunch relatively really fast.  

Is it possible for the free-wheeling, liberty-loving United States to buckle down and follow the lead of a China in terms of electrifying all public transportations in its major cities? In 1995, Tiger Woods was asked if it were possible for him to win that year and become the youngest person to win The Masters: “Whether it’s possible or not, I cannot say, but I think it can be done,” he said. And for this, I agree.

DEEPER DIVE: The Guardian, GoFleet.com, EPA.gov


“The devastating impacts of climate change become more apparent each day,” said Maryland Democratic Sen. Paul Pinsky of Prince George’s County just after the Maryland state senate overwhelmingly approved passage of the Climate Solutions Now Act of 2021, 36 to 11. The new law commits Maryland to curtailing climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions 60% below 2006 levels before 2030, and to achieve net-zero emissions by 2045. 

Supporters described it as a far-reaching measure to address climate change in a state particularly vulnerable to sea level rise due to its large number of tidal communities.

Maryland League of Conservation Voters Executive Director Kim Coble said in a statement. “We applaud the Senate for taking definitive action today in support of the Climate Solutions Now Act. This is a huge leap forward in correcting the long-standing inequity of climate pollution in communities of color and fighting climate change.”

“This is not anything we can ignore,” state senator Pinsky added. “We see – here in Annapolis and in Baltimore – days during flooding, people cannot get to their businesses. It is already starting to affect our economy.” Climate Solutions Now Act of 2021 orders climate action on multiple fronts, including:

  • Planting 5 million trees statewide, with 10% targeted at underserved areas
  • Requiring increased electric efficiency from utilities
  • Shifting the state’s fleet of transit buses and other vehicles to zero-emission electric
  • Mandating carbon neutrality in most new state buildings and setting new energy conservation requirements for all buildings
  • Making newly constructed schools at least “solar-ready”

This law places Maryland at the forefront of state action.

DEEPER DIVE: Insurance Journal, Bay Journal, Maryland Matters, Maryland.gov