Somehow it wasn’t all bad this year.
Don’t get me wrong, 2020 was terrible. Co.vid-19 caused unprecedented suffering around the world and hit the used ecologically Communities The hardest. It also locked all sorts of other crises, like poverty and Climate disasters. The oil industry went belly upbut that too is not worth celebrating because so many workers were laid off in the process Shareholder Profits were protected.
But there was also something Glimmer of hope for the future of our planet. The climate movement celebrated some great victories and the polluters took some important Ls. Here are five of the greatest victories for the planet in 2020.
Renewable energy is booming
The energy industry has suffered a massive blow due to falling fuel consumption triggered by the Covid-19 lockdown. However, renewable energies proved resilient. Found a report that almost 90% of the new electricity infrastructure The capacity installed this year will be renewable and by the end of 2020 global renewable capacity will increase by 7%.
Offshore wind had a particularly good year worldwide. A Bloomberg NEF analysis showed These investors invested $ 35 billion in new offshore wind projects in the first half of 2020. That is more than 300% more than in the same period in 2019. And in the US, solar energy is growing rapidly. Trade group research published This week shows that solar panels are expected to grow 43% by the end of the year, almost in line with the pre-pandemic prediction by industry analysts.
Renewable energies have more growth in store. Bloomberg analysts expect 1,123 gigawatts more wind and solar capacity to be installed worldwide by 2024, which is more capacity than the US currently has available. New, exciting forms of renewable energy will also go online. In May, Ohio Legislature Approved a proposal to build North America’s first freshwater offshore wind farm. It won’t be easy to build, but if built it could generate 20.7 megawatts of energy or enough electricity 7,000 houses
All of this shows that the coal, oil and gas transition is already happening, but we should not just leave it to the market. Rather, the leaders of the world should pour more money in clean electricity and ban fossil fuels to ensure the transition is even faster and more equitable. We have to protect Manpower and vulnerable communities from the toughest parts of the transition, and we need to ensure that new sources of energy are produced in a sustainable way for People and the planet. Sure, there’s still a lot to be done, but let’s stop and celebrate for just a second.
The Dakota Access Pipeline is down
This summer, climate activists won a battle they have been fighting for years. A Judge appointed that the Dakota Access Pipeline must be shut down. A district court found that a key federal permit issued by the Army Corps of Engineers Energy Transfer Partners, the developer of the pipeline, was in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act and therefore had to be scrapped.
The order was in response to a legal action that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe was launched as a fair four years ago Protests against the pipeline on their reservation they reached a fever level. In the lawsuit, leaders said the underground oil pipeline would pollute their primary water source, which they use for drinking, fishing and traditional ceremonies.
This victory was especially encouraging because the fossil fuel industry and its government allies had fought so hard to keep the pipeline alive. The protests of the water protection commissioners in 2016 were hit violent attacks by the police, the military and the National Guard as well as military surveillance of a private security company. Obviously, powerful people really wanted this terrible project to work and were ready to go to great lengths to get it.
The fight isn’t quite over yet. The July ruling could still be challenged and overturned, and as for the movement, some water protection officials are still facing federal allegations that could end up in prison for 110 years. Officials should apologize immediately, and the court should uphold the pipeline scrapping order as a start on the road to justice.
Environmental leaders have won elections
The end of the Trump administration is certainly good news for the climate. Our next president has spawned big climate plans– but President-elect Joe Biden also tapped people Links to polluting industries for its administration and failed to commit to a plan Remove oil and gas. More exciting are the Green New Dealers who will enter Capitol Hill in the next session.
Important climate leaders have won re-election. These include Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey, who jointly introduced the year 2019 Resolution on a Green New Deal
Capitol Hill will also see some new faces supporting great, bold environmental policies. There is rep-elect Jamaal Bowmanwho won his congressional race in New York. It ran on an unabashedly progressive platform, including support for a transformative Green New Deal and a US foreign policy overhaul to advance climate justice. Another incoming house freshman, Rep.choose Cori Bush, is one strong advocate of environmental justice. There were some pretty encouraging wins further down in the vote too.
These victories show what surveys have shown us for a long time: T.he vast majority of Americans Support climate protection. There is a real future for transformative climate policy if we are ready to fight for it – and fight for the candidates who will enforce it.
No major bank will finance drilling in the Arctic
At Bank of America announced Since it will stop funding Arctic oil and gas wells earlier this month, it was the last major U.S. bank to make that kind of commitment, joining Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Chase, Wells Fargo and CitiBank. This is terrible news for companies looking to expand their drilling activities in the region, but it is great news for the planet.
Bank of America’s announcement followed years of public pressure from climate organizers. Since last fall, when a coalition of environmental groups called Stop the Money Pipeline, a Campaign to call out The role of Wall Street companies in the climate crisis.
The commitment followed too Crater oil pricesThis means banks are unlikely to see this Big returns for oil and gas anyway. Activists have also said when energy companies buy out new leases for the ArcticThey will bring the companies and the banks that fund them to justice. So it’s not like Bank of America made this announcement for purely altruistic reasons. Still, it’s good news and it shows that pressure can work, especially with support from business.
As always, there is still more to do. Fossil fuel companies looking to do drilling could still turn to smaller financial institutions like private equity firms for money. These smaller companies tend to charge higher interest rates and expect faster returns on their investments. As such, they may not be a safe bet, but it is still possible.
E.Environmental and indigenous rights groups are still fighting to end the drilling in the Arctic and preparing comments to be presented to the federal government on their proposals Request for input on newly opened leases while banks, asset managers, insurance companies and even further are pushed PR company end their relationships with polluters.
character It’s not too late to make big changes
T.Science is clear that the climate crisis and environmental degradation are up keep getting worse and these human actions – really, especially the actions of the mighty– are guilty. But numerous This year’s results show again It’s not too late to change course.
When a lively November study claimed that even if we stopped emitting carbon dioxide, the world would have reached the “point of no return” for climate change, Experts gutted it. They said it was unscientific and pointed to trustworthy climate models that show the opposite is the case.
It’s also not too late to resolve our massive plastic pollution problems. Yes, the world is on the right track triple the amount of plastic We throw ourselves into the sea in just two decades. But the same research also found that the world could reduce that rate by 80% if Leaders take the problem seriously. And the leaders of the world weigh a Kind of Paris Agreement for PlasticThis indicates that they may be ready to do so.
We can also keep the earth’s biodiversity crisis in check with courageous measures. A World Wildlife Fund main report The study published earlier this year found that plant and animal populations worldwide have declined 68% since 1970, which is terrible. But United Nations researchers found out while the world did does not achieve its biodiversity goalscan still follow it transformative changes that would reverse this downward trend. We can and should restore ecosystems, overhaul our food systems to increase productivity and minimize damage, switch to a predominantly plant-based diet, increase pollinator populations and stop using fossil fuels.
It is a lot, but it has to be done. T.his year showed us that another world is possible. Whether we get there depends on how quickly we can act.