10 positive climate news stories from 2023 so far
With scary statistics about the climate crisis dominating the news, it’s easy to be left feeling overwhelmed and pretty helpless.
So in this blog post, we’re bringing you ten pieces of positive environmental news to combat climate doom and show that promising progress is being made around the world.
1. Heat pumps avoided 8 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in Europe last year
Data from Europe shows that 3 million heat pump units replaced around 4 billion cubic meters of natural gas in 2022 – the equivalent of avoiding 8 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.
This means that heat pumps are now helping Europe to avoid 54 megatonnes of CO2, roughly the equivalent annual emissions of Greece!
2. Baby kangaroo poo could be the secret to stopping cows’ methane farts
It may sound like science fiction, but scientists at Washington State University are putting kangaroo poo to the test.
By adding a microbial culture made from baby kangaroo feces plus a known methane inhibitor to a cow stomach simulator, acetic acid was produced instead of methane.
3. Renewable energy will become the world’s top source of electricity by 2025
According to the International Energy Agency’s Electricity Market Report 2023, 90% of new electricity demand between now and 2025 will be covered by clean energy sources like wind and solar, along with nuclear energy.
This growth in output means that renewables will become the world’s largest electricity source within three years – providing 35% of the world’s electricity and overtaking coal.
4. Australia blocks new coal mine 10km from Great Barrier Reef
For the first time in history, Australia has blocked the creation of a coal mine under environmental laws.
Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said the project posed an unacceptable risk to the World Heritage area, which is already highly vulnerable, having suffered four mass bleachings in the past six years due to rising sea temperatures.
5. Wind and solar produced more electricity than gas in the EU in 2022
Despite the turbulence of 2022 – from cutting ties with Russia to climate-driven drought and soaring gas prices – Europe’s clean energy transition soldiered on.
Wind and solar power were responsible for a record fifth (22%) of the EU’s electricity, which is a big step in the right direction.
6. Beavers are returning to London, and they might protect a local train station from flooding
Beavers are making a comeback in London for the first time since they were hunted to extinction 400 years ago.
They will be released in Ealing’s Paradise Fields – an eight-hectare site of woodland and wetlands minutes from Greenford Tube station – as part of a project to protect against urban flooding and create diverse wetland habitats.
7. New solar-powered technology can transform plastic waste into sustainable fuels and cosmetics
Researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed a system that can convert waste into chemical products using solar power.
The game-changing technology can simultaneously transform two streams of waste – greenhouse gasses and plastic – into two sustainable fuels: syngas and glycolic acid.
8. Ozone layer on track to recover within decades, UN reports
The 1987 Montreal Protocol, under which 197 countries pledged to phase out ozone depleting chemicals, is finally paying off.
A UN-backed panel of experts, presenting at the American Meteorological Society’s annual meeting, said the ozone would heal by around 2066 over the Antarctic, by 2045 over the Arctic and by 2040 for the rest of the world.
9. England bans some single-use plastics
Each year, the English public uses around 1.1 billion single-use plates and 4.25 billion items of cutlery, and only 10% of these are recycled.
Now, environment secretary Thérèse Coffey has confirmed these items will be outlawed from October 2023, giving businesses time to prepare ahead of its introduction.
10. Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon falls in first month under Lula
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was sworn in as Brazil's president in January, marking a new era for the country's environmental policies.
And it looks like things are already improving: satellite data shows that deforestation in January was down a massive 61% from the previous year.
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