Three reasons to feel happy about the planet today

I know. Things really do look bad out there, from many different perspectives. Climate change, conflict, terror, toxic politics – these, it seems, have become our daily bread. I am not advocating sticking your head in the sand or excessive Pollyanna-ishness. But we need a break, don’t we? So here are three reasons to genuinely feel happy about the climate and the planet today:

Firstly: China’s coal consumption peak in 2014 now looks like the start of a firm downward trend, and not just a blip on the radar. This is really good news, because it means that the country’s CO2 emissions might start declining earlier than the stated goal of 2030. And that, of course will be good for nudging down global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which hopefully will translate into less dangerous climate change. Hip …

Secondly: The first solar-powered plane, the Solar Impulse 2, has completed its trip around the world. So what, you may ask? We remain far from developing solar-powered planes for general and commercial use. Still on a high, the pilots have formed the International Committee of Clean Technologies. More than 400 organisations have already joined this forum to champion the transition to clean energy and technology, including Kofi Annan and Richard Branson. Sounds like good momentum to me, let’s watch this space. Hip …

And thirdly: We have the first clear evidence that the hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica is beginning to heal, according to a report in Science. This is thanks to the success of the 1987 Montreal Protocol, which led to the phasing out of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). And more progress is in the pipeline under this Protocol: you may have read of the recent talks in Vienna on phasing out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are potent greenhouse gases. A global deal is now on the cards, to be signed in Dubai in October. Phasing out HFCs can lower global warming by 0.5°C by 2100. More good news for the climate. … Hooray!

Be happy today.


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