11 Climate Victories That Will Make You Feel Hopeful

Man watching sunset in a forest
  • Mar 28, 2020

To lift your spirits in these challenging times, we want to remind you of some recent environmental victories that will make you feel hopeful for the future of our planet. Here are 11 recent climate achievements to give you hope for the Earth.

The U.S. reached the 100 gigawatts of wind energy milestone

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) released a report stating that recent wind power installations have pushed the total capacity for wind energy in the U.S. above 100 gigawatts—enough to power 32 million homes. China is the only other country in the world that has reached this 100 gigawatt milestone.

10 U.S. cities have already hit their peak emissions and are steadily reducing emissions

30 cities around the world (including 10 in the U.S.) have already hit their peak emissions and have since been increasingly reducing their carbon emissions. The group C40 reported that these cities reached their highest emissions levels before 2012 and have reduced their emissions each year since—even as their populations and economies grew. The 10 U.S. cities on the list are Austin, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

More than 150 U.S. cities are committed to 100% clean energy

156 U.S. cities have made commitments to transition to 100% renewable energy—many of them pledging to complete this transition by 2035. This is in addition to the several states and counties that have made a similar pledge, as well as the 6 cities that have already fully transitioned to 100% clean energy. More than 94 million people (about 30% of the U.S. population) live in places that have committed to 100% renewable energy. 

Renewables surpassed coal in electricity generated in the U.S.

For the first time ever, more electricity in the United States was generated from renewable sources than coal. In April 2019, 22% of the electricity in the U.S. came from renewable sources, while 20% came from coal. This milestone demonstrates a shift away from coal and towards clean, renewable energy. 

Microsoft announced carbon negative goal

Microsoft has pledged to be carbon negative by 2030 by removing more carbon than it emits. Microsoft also says that by 2050, it will remove all of the emissions it has generated since its founding in 1975. 

Germany will phase out coal

Germany has agreed to a plan to phase out coal power stations by 2038. The country has an intermediate goal of generating at least 65% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Coal currently generates about a third of Germany’s electricity. 

A Swiss company has created fans that capture carbon dioxide from the air 

Climeworks, a company located in Zurich, Switzerland, has created the world’s first commercial carbon removal technology. Climeworks has a plant in Switzerland with large fans that capture CO2 from the air, which is then sold to a company that uses the gas to grow vegetables. Technologies with “negative emissions” are a great addition to the emissions-reducing efforts taken by countries and companies around the world.

JetBlue will go carbon neutral

U.S. airline JetBlue recently announced that all of its domestic flights will be carbon neutral starting this July. To achieve carbon neutrality, the company will take steps to reduce the emissions of its flights, as well as invest in carbon offsets. JetBlue is the first major U.S. airline to announce carbon neutrality plans. 

Ethiopia planted more than 350 million trees in a single day

Last July, millions of Ethiopians volunteered to plant trees all across their country, planting 353 million trees in a mere 12 hours. The country aims to plant billions of trees to help reverse the effects of climate change. 

European Union banned single-use plastics

Last year, the European Parliament voted to ban single-use plastics by 2021. The law applies to plastic products for which alternatives exist, such as plastic straws, cutlery, and food containers.

Several countries have set net-zero emissions goals

growing number of countries around the world have committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions to reduce their environmental impact. Some countries, such as France and New Zealand, aim to do so by 2050. Two countries, Suriname and Bhutan, are leading the way and have already achieved net-zero emissions. 

While all of these are reasons to celebrate, there is still much more work to be done to help reverse climate change—and one of the most impactful ways you can help the environment is by making the switch to clean energy. Give thanks to our planet by helping protect it for years to come!

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