Ten Reasons To Feel Good About Climate Change
Well, pretty good. So much news we get is dire and I do not want to decrease our sense of urgency that much needs to be done. But a little good news can stimulate hope-based action. So here it is. Wendy Becktold just published an article by this title, beginning with “Humanity’s on the brink, but signs are emerging that we’ll pull back.” She lists these signs of positive change.
- The divestment movement is growing, forcing the fossil fuel industry to realize its stocks are stranded assets. Peabody Coal used divestment as a reason to file bankruptcy. New York City is dumping $189 billion in fuel stocks from its pension fund.
- The Paris Agreement holds in spite of Trump’s attacks and at a meeting in Poland the world negotiated a set of rules on how to better measure progress nations are making.
- The law still rules: many of Trumps efforts to roll back former limits on greenhouse gas emissions are being challenged in the courts.
- Renewable energy is on the rise: now so cost effective it will replace fossil fuels in 20 years.
- Coal is going, going. . . . During Trump’s first two years, 20 gigawatts of coal fired plants were retired (8 times what happened in Obama’s 4 years), and Sierra Club predicts that by 2035 there will be no coal plants in the U.S.
- Technology is advancing including better wind generators, reforestation, no till agriculture and the possibility of carbon capture from the air by 2029.
- Transportation is headed in the right direction. Several U.S. regions are planning comprehensive transportation strategies to reduce emissions, electric vehicles are on the rise including school busses. California is fighting the Trump administration to hold on to their strict tail pipe standards.
- The scales of justice are tipping. About 90 big companies are responsible for nearly 2/3 of rising surface temperatures and they are being sued by municipalities, unions, and environmental groups.
- The political winds are shifting including the 2018 Congressional elections which put many new representatives in the U.S. house who oppose Trump’s efforts to roll back environmental legislation, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who’s Green New Deal will be taken up at least in part by the new House.
- Youth are on the march, including the Sunrise Movement kids who did a sit in in Nancy Pelosi’s office, 15,000 high school students in Australia, and Greta Thunberg, the Swedish school girl who drew world-wide attention to government inaction. She skips school every Friday and sits on the steps of the Swedish Parliament.
To paraphrase Winston Churchill, this is not the end of climate deterioration, it is not even the beginning of the end, but it is the end of the beginning. So let’s all get to work.