Good news and bad news on the climate in 2022

The past year brought a lot of bad climate news to the world. The planet was hit by numerous climate disasters, including massive flooding that displaced 7 million in Pakistan, Hurricane Ian which caused $100 billion damage in the US and Cuba, summer heatwaves and drought in the US and UK which caused $20 billion in losses. On top of that, very little was agreed to at COP 27 in Egypt and of course, there was Russia using its fossil-fueled riches to wreak havoc in the Ukraine.

According to Katharine Hayhoe, Canadian atmospheric scientist, climate author, and chief scientist at the Nature Conservancy, despite this bad news, there was much to celebrate in terms of progress on climate change in 2022 including:

  • The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in the US which brought $391 billion in spending on energy and climate change.
  • Agreement to a new biodiversity treaty at COP15 in Montreal.
  • The International Energy Agency says that renewable energy will be responsible for the  majority of power generation globally by 2025.
  • Brazil and Australia elected new climate-friendly leaders after prior climate-hostile leadership.
  • France banned short-haul flights between Paris and Nantes, Lyon, and Bordeaux.
  • The European Union has agreed to cut fossil fuel emissions by 55% by 2030.
  • According to the World Bank, Africa has the world’s greatest solar energy production potential.
  • New homes built after 2025 in Tokyo must install solar panels.
  • Women in Papau New Guinea are leading mangrove conservation efforts that protect coastlines from climate-fueled storms.

Leah Stokes, wrote in the New York Times on Christmas:

“[W]hen we look back a decade from now, we may find that 2022 was an inflection point. New policies [around the world] are creating momentum for the shift toward clean energy. If moving away from dirty energy is like rerouting a giant ship, then this could be the year when world leaders started to turn the tanker around.”

Working together, we can help take care of our common home.  

Paul Litwin

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