While climate change remains one of the biggest threats to human civilisation and there remains significant work to be done in order to mitigate its worst effects, there were a number of positive steps taken in 2018 that should not be overlooked.
Perhaps most significantly, renewable energy is being established faster than ever, with the largest annual increase in global renewable generation capacity seen in 2018. During this time the amount of new solar power capacity outstripped the combined additions of coal, natural gas and nuclear energy.
Fossil fuel divestment also reached new heights in 2018 with total funds committed to divestment now totalling more than $8.5 trillion dollars. The divestment campaign began in 2011 on U.S. university campaigns, but soon spread internationally. Today almost 1,000 institutional investors have committed to selling off coal, oil and gas investments, along with several major cities and even a national government in Ireland.
Speaking of cities, it’s been another big year of clean energy pledges in the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 campaign, which encourages U.S. cities to transition to 100 percent renewable energy. In 2018 a further 45 local governments signed on, bringing the total number to 102 in less than four years. With action on climate change stalling under the current administration at the national level, local government action will be crucial to keeping the U.S on track to curb emissions in the immediate future.
However, it’s not just in local government where attitudes to climate change are changing in the U.S. The latest ‘Climate Change in the American Mind’ survey, conducted by researchers from Yale and George Mason University, measured a significant rise in the acceptance of climate change amongst the general public in 2018. Over 60 percent of respondents said global warming is caused mostly by humans, while 72% see global warming as an issue that is personally important. Perhaps even more significantly, just14 percent disagree that climate change is happening.
So while there remains much to be done up to and including cooperative international action, one can take some solace knowing there are people all over the world who see the need for concerted action on climate change.
- If you are a business-owner looking to decarbonise and reduce your own carbon footprint, check out the range of clean energy solutions offered by Planet Ark Power.
- Stay up to date with the latest in climate change science by following the Climate Council, Australia’s leading climate change communications organisation.
Subscribe to Positive Environment News
Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.