As of 2021, the planet’s temperature has risen by 2.12 degrees since the late 19th century, with most of this warming occurring the last 40 years. But it’s not too late to help reverse some of the effects of climate change!
April is our Sustainability month at Compass. We’ve been looking at the different ways our community can reduce their carbon footprint. This includes making combatting climate change at home, or teaching children about climate change with these activities and books.
However, we recognise the need for balance when it comes to discussions about climate change. We want to empower our community with the knowledge to act against climate change. However, we don’t want to induce feelings of hopelessness, doom, or climate-related anxiety.
That’s why, in this article, we’re taking the time to celebrate 5 positive new stories about climate change. These stories feature successful action that is being taken to combat global warming around the world.
The Empire State Building is Powered by Wind
Standing for 100 years, the Empire State Building is a symbol industry and economic power across the world. But it’s recent switch 100% renewable energy has now made it a symbol of sustainability and climate-positive action too!
At the beginning of 2021, Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT) (the skyscraper’s owner, alongside 13 other office buildings in NYC) signed a deal that ensured the buildings were powered entirely by wind.
The 3-year contracts will provide an estimated 300 million kilowatt hours of electricity for ESRT’s buildings, The deal makes ESRT the nation’s largest real estate user of renewable energy! This has been influential in encouraging other industry leaders to use more sustainable energy to power their buildings.
Renewable Energy is Becoming Affordable
Throughout the years, the cost of electricity from renewable energy sources has fallen dramatically.
In 2009, building a new solar farm was 223% more expensive than building a new coal plant. However, efforts to promote sustainable energy have led to a rapid decrease in the price of renewable energy, This makes it more accessible for use across the globe.
In the past 10 years, the price of solar energy has dropped 89%, while the price of onshore wind energy has dropped 70%. What’s more, a 2019 report from the Rocky Mountain Institute found that, overall, it was cheaper to build and use renewable energy sources, rather than build new fossil fuel plants that harvest natural gas – which shows promise for the future of renewable energy.
CO2 Removal Technology Exists
Known as ‘Orca’, this new carbon capturing plant built by Climeworks and installed in Iceland captures an impressive 4,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year.
The technology pulls carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, heating it and mixing it with water. It then pumps the mixture deep underground into Icelandic basalt caverns, where it cools and turns to stone. In this state, the CO2 does little harm to the environment or atmosphere.
This technology, similar to the Direct Air Capture (DAC) plants seen in Texas and other spots around the world, is promising. Its development represents an important step in the reduction of harmful greenhouse gases. The technology helps to reverse CO2 emissions and combat the effects of climate change!
Fiji’s Coral Reefs Are Bouncing Back
In 2016, the tropical cyclone, Winston, caused devastation to Fiji both on land and under the sea, costing up to 1.4bn US dollars in damage.
Recognised as the most destructive cyclone ever recorded in the Pacific, the damage done to the coral reefs of Fiji was deeply worrying for conservationists and scientists, with much of the reef reduced to rubble. Scientists worried that the reef may never recover as, across the world, coral reefs are in decline due to climate change.
However, 4 years on, scientists have been delighted to find that the coral reefs have recovered far beyond their expectations. Once again full of colourful fish, scientists attribute the coral’s recovery to the overall health of the reefs. They now continue to provide an essential habitat for many marine species!
Greenland Has Stopped Oil and Gas Exploration
Greenland has recently announced it will suspend all new oil and gas exploration efforts. The country is now placing climate change concerns at the heart of its legislative programme.
Greenland’s Government, Naalakkersuisut, has decided to cease issuing any new licenses for oil and gas exploration across the country. This is in an effort to preserve nature and direct their business toward more sustainable practices.
Greenland’s natural resources minister said that the environmental impact of oil and gas extraction was ‘too high’ to continue. This decision is influential, and one that Greenland hopes will encourage other countries to do the same.
This collection of positive news on climate change is sure to lift your spirits. It’s also among lots of other positive climate change news stories that are worth celebrating! If you’re interested in sustainability, and want to know how you can adjust your lifestyle to make it greener, check out our Sustainable Swaps for an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle here.