Climate Connections: Good news for the Earth
The purpose of this ongoing series of articles on Climate Connections is to move beyond the arguments around our climate chaos and to find area we can agree on. You may not believe in the climate issues of today … but you may be concerned about the use of plastics and the oceans. You may also be concerned about air and water quality. Whatever you want to call it, the planet needs our stewardship. The writers here will share their perspectives from many angles. Perhaps some or all will resonate with you, and bring to our awareness the necessary actions we can take. We will leave the arguments and differing beliefs to others. — Marilyn Nyborg
Climate crisis has hit a tipping point, in my observation, and now good things are happening to start to turn it around. The COVID-19 lockdown certainly accelerated the process for seeing what is possible, and ramifications of that are creating a domino effect.
More and more companies are starting to respond to the need. The momentum is building. Policies are waiting to be enacted that will help substantially. This is why your vote really matters this November.
The COVID crisis took a large percentage of cars off the road for a few months. That allowed the CO2 emissions to drop. Aviation emissions went down. Whereas that did not lower the higher than safe global temperatures noticeably, it did offer a pause for people and companies to consider a change in consciousness.
Now we have time to make other changes as many people will continue to work from home, and tourism is slowed. This buys us time for other pieces of the solutions puzzle to drop into place before the Earth gets to a critical place.
One ramification is that the International Energy Agency says the global demand for energy is set to fall by 6% this year. At the same time, it says that the only energy source expected to grow this year is renewables. Renewable electricity generation grew by 3% during the first quarter and accounted for nearly 28% of electricity supply, up from 26% a year earlier. For the year, the IEA expects it to grow 5%, with total global use of renewable energy rising 1%.
The green energy revolution is on the move. Very encouraging.
Major oil companies like BP are moving assets to solar and wind. Luke Parker VP, says that BP joins Shell, Total, Equinor and Repsol in making a major commitment to reduce its net carbon footprint to reduce the global warming effects. BP alone says it will increase investments in solar and wind power by tenfold within a decade, while cutting gas and oil production by 40%. The Saudi oil empire is expected to decline with lowered demand. Three major oil pipeline projects in the USA were stopped. Investments were removed. Blackrock and other investment firms are showing success from sustainable investing.
Sustainable capitalism is the new buzzword for those businesses integrating Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) policies as part of the Sustainability Revolution. It is on the rise. Are you investing in ESG companies?
Al Gore has a new enterprise called Generation Investment Management, which just launched the Climate TRACE project. This will use satellite data, artificial intelligence and other technology to track greenhouse gas emissions down to the level of individual factories and other sources. This helps the problem to be stopped at source.
In the past several months, Amazon and Microsoft have unveiled climate plans of varying intensities – Amazon is investing billions in green tech with the aim of net-zero emissions by 2040. Microsoft’s highly ambitious plan seeks to remove the equivalent of the company’s total carbon emissions since 1975. Microsoft is offering carbon innovation grant funding to help green companies grow.
Apple announced a new plan to go carbon neutral by 2030, two decades earlier than the target laid out in the Paris Agreement. Apple plans to only use recycled and renewable materials in its products and packaging, get rid of plastic packaging entirely by 2025, cut down on its use of fresh water, and eliminate waste sent to landfills from its corporate offices and its suppliers. In order to do business with Apple, all of the company’s suppliers will have to transition to 100% renewable energy within the next 10 years. This is a critical new tactic to back up responsibility to manufacturers to stem the source of the problems.
The Stone Age did not end because of a lack of stones. It ended because something new and better came along.
The exciting news is that lots of new and better ideas and options are coming along – and still, the real responsibility is on us, the consumers, to change our values, behaviors and actions. Are you spending your money in accord with your values? Are you looking at green renewable energy options?
Thanks for thinking about it.
Shirley Freriks, leader of Elders Climate Action Network in Nevada County. She is intimately connected to Nature and holds its well being as a sacred responsibility. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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