As we look ahead to 2022, not all is gloom when it comes to climate action.
Progress has been made on several fronts, with the growth of renewables leading the way – in the EU, solar energy it has shot up by almost 50 percent this year.
COP27 ended with an agreement to provide loss and damage financing for countries affected by climate disasters: a great step towards justice for developing nations.
And those fighting for climate justice through the courts and on the streets succeeded with ClientEarth in holding the UK government to account for their net zero strategyand more young voices being heard like never before.
The people who use their skills to power a better future haven’t given up hope, so neither should we. Here are six reasons to be positive about climate action starting in 2022, according to people who work on the issues full-time.
You can also read more than 100 positive environmental news 2022 stories on Euronews Green.
6. The ULEZ London expansion will clean our air and protect our climate
In 2023, London will expand its Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which addresses the air pollution loading cars that do not meet pollution guidelines for driving in certain parts of the city.
Leo Murray, co-founder of Possible, a charity that empowers people to take practical action against climate change, tells Euronews Green why this is his most positive story of the year.
“Earlier this year, my daughter was diagnosed with asthma, and on a day of high pollution we had to call the paramedics. It was one of the scariest days of my life. Of the 4,000 premature deaths in London attributable to toxic air, most are on the outskirts of London, where the benefits of ULEZ are yet to be felt.
“Everything is set to change now that we have successfully secured a commitment from the mayor for ULEZ to cover the entirety of London starting next year, protecting 5 million more people. If you look at the London air, the London climate targets and the congestion problem, this is clearly the right thing to do. Not only that, but the money raised will go directly to public transport on the outskirts of London, forming a virtuous cycle of fewer cars and better buses.
“I love this story because it shows political courage along with determination activism. Opposition to such schemes is highest the moment before they are implemented. If Ken Livingstone’s original congestion charge had been put to a referendum, he would have been defeated. Barely a year later, he had the majority support of the public.
“Once people feel the benefits, traffic reduction schemes are popular and people want to stick with them. The ULEZ expansion will clean our air, protect our climate and make London a better place place to live. And if we can do it here, we can do it anywhere.”
5. Global renewable energy capacity will double in the next five years
As the director of Project Drawdown’s Drawdown Lift program, Kristen P. Patterson deepens the collective understanding of the connections between solutions to climate change and poverty alleviation, particularly in countries in Africa and South Asia.
Inspired by the rapid global expansion of renewable energy.
“The International Energy Agency (IEA) announcement in early December that the renewable energy capacity growth will double in the next five years encouraged me. The IEA reported that the world is poised to add as much renewable energy in the next five years as it has in the last 20.
“The origins of the recent drive to secure the world’s energy supply are tragic (Russia’s invasion of Ukraine). However, this news gave me hope: expand renewable energy rapidly in high-, low- and middle-income countries is essential for a more just and equitable world. 568 million people, 75 percent of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa, still do not have access to electricity; that must change to eradicate extreme poverty and promote the right to sustainable development for all.
“And those of us in high-income countries have a responsibility to drastically reduce our own emissions. My home had solar panels installed in October; It feels good to play a small role in the renewable energy transition.”
4. The legal victory of eight Torres Strait Island claimants
Sophie Marjanac, solicitor for the environmental law charity ClientEarthis celebrating a recent ruling that Australia’s climate inaction was a violation of Torres Strait Islanders’ right to family life and culture.
The first of its kind legal action asked Australia to compensate the claimants for the damage suffered and to ensure the safe existence of their communities.
“The legal victory of eight Torres Strait Island claimants was another ray of hope in a year further marked by the realities of the climate crisis.
“The complaint is further proof that governments can and will be held responsible when they fail to protect people from the devastating effects of catastrophic climate change. It has opened the door for more legal action by people in the climate front lineand it will strengthen the hands of the communities that fight to be compensated for the losses and damages suffered”.
3. Financial support for climate activists is accelerating change
Climate psychologist, activist, and educator Jessica Kleczka is optimistic about the emerging support for climate activists. This is why.
“What gave me hope for climate action in 2022 is a new initiative called HERO, which aims to provide a basic income for 10,000 activists in the next five years. HERO is a subscription-based platform where people can support activist groups around the world working on pressing political issues and be a part of their journey.
“I co-lead the UK Climate Justice Circle, which focuses on ending new fossil fuels in the UK forever. Climate activism is the most effective way to accelerate policy change, and compensating activists for work will be an absolute game changer.
“The Stanford Social Innovation review found that financing climate movements can be 100 times more cost-effective in reducing CO2 emissions compared to buying carbon offsets. Providing financial stability to activists is an exciting climate solution that is gaining momentum. People can sign up for a HERO circle through the app.”
2. Decarbonization has become an economic and security priority
Elisabeth Cremona is an energy and climate data analyst at Ember, a think tank that aims to change the world of Coal to clean electricity. She says that 2022 brought new hope for decarbonization.
“This year was a key turning point in the way governments view decarbonization, no longer just as a climate goal, but as a security and economic priority. This is reflected in the increased ambition we saw in many EU countries in response to the energy crisis. Our research shows that this translates to almost an additional 10 percent of renewable energy by 2030, and the positive impacts of this accelerated action are already being felt.
“We also saw the G7 economies commit to achieving a clean energy system by 2035, in recognition of this as a critical milestone in moving the world towards 1.5C.”
1. The US agreed to funding loss and damage and phasing out fossil fuels
Ben Goloff is a leading climate activist at the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit organization known for its conservation work. endangered species through legal action, petitions, and grassroots activism. He is optimistic about progress in the United States on two fronts.
“After relentless pressure, communities and activists won two strides toward holding the United States accountable for decades of climate damage. First, US leaders finally agreed to a UN loss and damage fund for historically polluting countries to pay their fair share for climate damage to the Global South. The proof will be in the pudding of how that is implemented, but it is a great victory for the people of the global majority.
“And second, in recognition that fossil fuels are the fundamental drivers of the climate emergencyUS officials for the first time joined a growing chorus of dozens of countries calling for explicit commitments at COP27 to phase out oil, gas and coal.
“We will work this year to demand that they do what they say, reject new fossil fuel projects at home and protect against big oil-He endorsed false solutions like carbon capture and offsets.”