If the climate news hasn’t scared you, then you haven’t been paying attention. We’re watching the brutal reality of what scientists predicted would happen play out across the planet, in some cases at the furthest extremes, and it’s terrifying. “I told you so” is small comfort when confronted with so much bad news.
However, now more than ever, it’s crucial to resist the allure of despair. The narrative of climate doom, while grounded in harsh reality, leads to inaction. As Rebecca Solnit points out, this narrative is a strange mix of confidence and defeatism: confidence in positions that are increasingly based on outdated information, and defeatism about our ability to shape a liveable future.
Renewable energy is scaling exponentially and getting more efficient and cost-effective every year. Vested interests are doing everything in their power to obstruct its progress, but the ledge they’re standing on gets narrower by the month.
In the face of all of this, you’re allowed to be heartbroken and hopeful. Hope, not as a naive belief in a rosy future, but as a commitment to search for possibilities. In that spirit, we’re going to kick things off this week with all the climate stories you didn’t see in the news. There are tens of millions of people working to solve this thing now. Don’t forget that.
Read the rest of the article in Future Crunch.
There’s been so much loss, grief and heartbreak in 2020 that it feels almost wrong to be compiling our traditional annual list of good news. Things can and do fall apart, and this year it felt like they really did. Amazing as it may seem however, there were also big wins for conservation, living standards, peace, safety and human rights, clean energy, and yes, even global health. The reason you didn’t hear about them is because good news doesn’t sell advertisements or generate clicks, and that was more true in 2020 than ever before.
16. Attitudes in China towards the eating of wild animals changed drastically in 2020. Up to 90% of the public now supports strict bans on the trade and consumption of wildlife, and more than 15,000 people were prosecuted for wildlife crimes this year, a 66% increase from 2019. China also removed dogs from the list of animals that can be treated as livestock, signalling the beginning of the end of the sale of live dogs for food and fur across the country.
35. The WHO revealed that malaria deaths have reached the lowest level ever recorded, a drop of almost 60% in the last two decades. Take a moment to let this sink in: between 2000 and 2019, 1.5 billion malaria cases and 7.6 million malaria deaths were averted globally.
Peace, Safety & Human Rights
44. A new report by the Global Peace Index showed that since 2007, the majority of the world’s countries – 113 countries – have reduced their armed forces, 100 have reduced military expenditure and both imports and exports of weapons have reached their lowest levels since 2009.
74. The IEA’s annual report contained a hidden nugget of very, very good news this year. The number of people without access to electricity dropped from 860 million to 770 million, a new record low. Africa has made particularly good progress; the number of people gaining access to electricity doubled from 9 million a year in 2013, to 20 million a year by 2019.
82. 2020 saw an unprecedented acceleration in national climate pledges. South Korea became the first Asian country to set a 2050 net zero emissions goal, followed by Japan, and then most importantly, China, which committed to net zero by 2060 – perhaps the single most important development in climate policy since the Paris Agreement.
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