What we all need: Reasons for climate optimism in 2021

As always at the New Year, we head into 2021 with many reviews of the year gone by – notably The New York Times interactive “Climate Change Year in Review”“The Climate Emergency: 2020 in Review” in Scientific American , “The Best Environmental Journalism of 2020”  from Unearthed by Greenpeace International . From a Canadian perspective, “20 Ideas from 2020”  from British Columbia-focused The Tyee includes Climate Change and Green Recovery;  Indigenous Rights, decolonization and racism; and social and income inequality in its review .

Offering some much-needed hope for the future:  “6 reasons why 2020 wasn’t as bad for climate change as you think” from Grist in the U.S.; “Climate Action Is Embedding Into How the World Works” from Bloomberg Green, and a December 2020 report by Climate Action Tracker – not normally a hopeful source –  which states that global warming by 2100 could be as low as 2.1°C,which they judge as “within striking distance” of the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C goal. This assessment is based on the net zero pledges announced as of November 2020 (most importantly China, but including South Africa, Japan, South Korea, Canada, with the assumption of the USA under Biden).

From The Conversation Canada, “2020 was a terrible year for climate disasters but there’s reason for hope in 2021” , written by Matthew Hoffmann of the University of Toronto. Hoffman cites an October article in The Atlantic when he states that  “climate despair is the new climate denial, dulling the sense of urgency and blunting the momentum for action”.  He, like others, seems to be urging us forward with hope.

The Biggest Roadblock to a Post Carbon World is Politics

A new report by John Wiseman, Taegen Edwards and Kate Luckins has been released by the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute in Australia, arguing that the technological and economic knowledge we need to avoid catastrophic global warming is already available. Change is being impeded by many roadblocks, chiefly political but including: climate science denial, the power of the fossil fuel industry and its allies, political paralysis, unsustainable consumption of energy and resources, path dependencies and outdated infrastructure, and financial and governance constraints. The report calls for recognition of the urgency of transition to a low-carbon path, and for moving investment from fossil fuels to energy efficiency. 

Read Post Carbon Pathways: Towards a Just and Resilient Post Carbon Future Learning from leading international post carbon economy researchers and policy makers at  http://www.postcarbonpathways.net.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Post-Carbon-Pathways-Report-2013_Final-V.pdf