O'Vert Dose: Some good news related to the environmental issue

The environment is in a critical state, of course, and one more cause and consequence is discovered every day. But for a change, here is some good news related to the environmental issue, just to take a break and see the bright side of things.

The solutions we need for a zero-carbon future already exist

Low-cost solar, wind and battery technologies are on profitable exponential trajectories that, if sustained, will halve emissions from power generation by 2030. Wind and solar now exceed fossil fuels regularly in most parts of the world. Electric vehicle growth has the potential to reach 90% market share by 2030 if sustained, but only if strong policies support this direction.

Developed responsibly, we can harness these technologies, and potentially develop unproven ones, to reduce nearly two-thirds of potential emissions in 2030.

The hole in the ozone layer is closing

It was one of the main environmental causes of the 1980s: trying to stop the hole in the ozone layer, which protects the planet from harmful UV rays, from getting bigger. Activists mobilized street protests and politicians held summits. The hole in the ozone layer remains enormous – the size of North America – but it is being replenished at a rate of one to three percent every decade, according to the United Nations. The hole in parts of the northern hemisphere is expected to fully close by the 2030s, and full repair in the southern hemisphere and polar regions by the 2060s, according to UN data.

Giant pandas no longer in danger of extinction

China, home to more than 1,800 giant pandas living in the wild, announced in July 2021 that these iconic bears were no longer officially “endangered”. Thanks to conservation efforts, they are now classified as simply “vulnerable”. The International Union for Conservation of Nature, an independent monitoring group, had made a similar assessment several years earlier.

The improvement in the giant panda population is partly due to the expansion of the network of protected areas in the world’s most populous country, which covers about 18% of China’s landmass, according to Chinese authorities.

Renewable energy production hits record high

Thanks to new solar installations, wind farms and other technologies, the world added 290 gigawatts of renewable energy generation capacity in 2021, according to a report by the Paris-based International Energy Agency. By comparison, that’s twice as much as Canada’s total electricity generating capacity, which is about 145 gigawatts.

Based on these trends, renewable energy capacity could exceed the current global capacity of fossil fuels and nuclear power combined by 2026. The pace of growth, however, is not yet fast enough to meet the target. net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Coffee can survive climate change

Almost all of the coffee we drink comes from two species of beans, both of which are susceptible to drought and rising temperatures, conditions exacerbated by climate change. But researchers at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK, have recently rediscovered a coffee bean in West Africa that not only tolerates high temperatures, but also has a superior flavor.

People are on the streets demanding action

On September 22, 2019, around 6 million people around the world joined the Global Climate Strike, making it possibly the largest climate rally ever. Although the protests were led by younger people, the event brought together individuals of all ages, backgrounds, cultures and even parties. Protests for the climate continue today to multiply all around the globe, but also at the level of social networks.

Alaska returns to a more natural state

In June, the Biden administration suspended new oil and gas concessions in the delicate Arctic nature reserve. She then announced new protections for the state’s Tongass National Forest, including halting large-scale logging of old-growth forests and ending a Trump decision allowing new roads to be built in this fragile ecosystem. .

The world is starting to commit to tackling the climate crisis

The Paris climate negotiations were a pivotal moment: for the first time in history, nearly 200 countries agreed to take collective action against climate change.

In 2015, world leaders from 196 countries gathered in Paris to sign the first truly global agreement to tackle the climate crisis. An initial signatory, the United States later announced its intention to withdraw from the agreement in 2017. However, a growing coalition of more than 3,600 leaders from cities, states, tribal businesses, colleges and universities came together to ensure America’s continued commitment to the Paris Agreement as part of the We Are Still In movement.

This coalition spans all 50 states, represents 155 million people, over $9.46 trillion in GDP, and is growing every day. This type of coalition is now pushing nations around the world to take more ambitious climate action, and to accelerate the planning and implementation of crucial actions.

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