8 Encouraging Signs in the Fight Against Climate Change 

Written by Poppy Stringer
June 12, 2024
4 min read

In a world dominated by climate anxiety, it can be difficult to see the positive strides being made in combating the global crisis, as they are often overshadowed by alarmingly negative headlines. But there are several wins taking place for the planet behind the scenes which deserve our attention. Here are 8 developments this year which offer hope in the fight against climate change.

EU fossil fuel CO2 emissions hit a 60-year low 

Investing in cleaner energy seems to have paid off. The Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air found that emissions from fossil fuels in the European Union dropped by 8% between 2022 and 2023, reaching the lowest level seen in 60 years. 

The EU has made it one of its top priorities to invest in the generation of cleaner energy, moving away from the use of coal, oil and gas towards the use of solar panels, wind turbines and dams. Whilst levels are still falling slowly this is a huge improvement and as investment in green energy is only increasing we can expect emissions to continue to fall, a huge win for our planet!

Trees stalling the effects of global warming 

Scientists have found that some Eastern states in the US are cooling down due to the reforestation schemes which have been taking place. Whilst like the rest of the world the US has experienced a rise in temperatures since the industrial revolution an area in the South-East of the United States has experienced a cooling which the West has not. 

The reason for this anomaly is the vast reforestation that has been taking place in the East in the last century. These reforested trees cool the surrounding area through transpiration; they draw water up through their roots and it travels to their leaves where it is then released as water vapour which cools the air. In the areas where the trees were replenished, the temperature drops by 1-2 degrees Celsius each year, compared to the surrounding areas.

​​If reforestation continues to take place on such a large scale this cooling effect will be able to take place on a grand scale and may slow the impacts of global warming.

Lagos bans single-use plastic 

Nigeria is doing its part to curb plastic pollution by banning the use of styrofoam and single-use plastics. In January of this year this ban was put into immediate effect for the use of styrofoam and single-use plastics will be gradually phased out. 

Whilst the EU has already banned a large number of single-use plastics such as straws and takeaway containers, all countries must implement these rules to prevent plastic pollution as every little helps. With Lagos enforcing this ban more countries will soon follow suit hopefully ending the use of single-use plastic entirely shortly. 

Biden pledges $7 billion for solar panels 

In honour of Earth Day President Biden announced $6.6 billion in federal grants for residential solar projects. This amount is intended to serve 900,000 households with electricity in low and middle-income communities. 

Alongside this pledge which will bring down the amount of carbon emissions released from generating power, Biden spoke against politicians who do not make the climate crisis a priority.

“Despite the overwhelming devastation in red and blue states, there are still those who deny the climate is in crisis.” 

World leaders speaking out and funding climate projects facilitates the necessary changes that need to be made to slow global warming. 

The European Court of Human Rights ruled that government inaction on climate change is a violation of fundamental human rights 

In April this year the European Court of Human Rights ruled that in Switzerland, the government has a responsibility to combat climate change to protect the human rights of their populations.  

This ruling strengthens the pathway to making carbon offsetting a legal obligation and will hopefully have a ripple effect across the world. 

The EPA has launched a $20 billion venture into clean energy aims 

The Environmental Protection Agency has launched a new $20 billion initiative focused on supporting clean energy aims in disadvantaged communities. The aim is to set up renewable energy sources such as solar panels and heat pumps in low-income areas. This will not only reduce these communities' carbon emissions, ensuring they are aiding in the carbon reduction efforts but also have huge positive socio-economic impacts.

Disadvantaged communities are often hit the hardest by climate change as they lack the resources for climate resilience, implementing renewable energy sources in these areas will ensure they do not fall behind the rest of the rapidly adapting world. It will also help propel less developed countries towards a developed status. 

7 countries can now produce more than 99.7% of their electricity from clean energy sources 

Albania, Bhutan, Nepal, Paraguay, Iceland, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo are now able to meet 99.7% of their electricity needs using only renewable energy sources. Rather than polluting our planet by generating energy with fossil fuels these countries are now able to create all their energy almost exclusively with geothermal, hydro, solar or wind power.  

Fossil fuels generated less than a quarter of the EU’s electricity in April 

This year the share of electricity generated by fossil fuels in the EU fell to the lowest point we have seen so far in the renewable energy journey. Fossil fuels generated 23% of the electricity last month, the previous low was 27% in May 2023. Instead, wind and solar energy are replacing fossil fuels, particularly coal whose usage has a record low this year.  

While the challenges posed by climate change are daunting, these 8 developments offer hope and inspiration for a brighter future. Our work is still far from done so let’s continue to work together towards a future where our planet thrives, and all life flourishes.

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Written by Poppy Stringer
June 12, 2024
4 min read