In October 2018 the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, which provided a sobering update on the state of the environment. According to the report, “unprecedented changes” are needed to achieve the target of keeping global warming to a maximum of 1.5°C, after which the risk of extreme weather conditions – such as droughts, floods and forest fires – will significantly increase.
It’s not all bad news though. In need of hope, I turned to Lexology to see how lawmakers are responding to global calls for action and found that many countries are taking positive steps in this regard. Here are five recent developments from around the world which may actually help to mitigate the risks of climate change.
1. US Green New Deal
As the second highest emitter of carbon dioxide after China, many of us have a vested interest in what action the United States takes to mitigate global warming. One positive step in this regard may be Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, the outline for which was made public on 7 February 2019. According to Bergeson & Campbell PC, the policy package aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the transformation of the US economy. Among other things, the deal calls for:
- a transition to 100% renewable energy;
- investment in infrastructure and industry; and
- a commitment to clean air and a sustainable environment.
Of course, the proposed package is just that – a proposal. As Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP has pointed out, Cortez’s deal calls for action on issues well beyond the environment, and broad proposals such as these often struggle to attract sufficient consensus to gain approval. MORE
You’ve been hearing a lot about the Green New Deal, but you’re wondering what it’s all about? If you want a quick and chatty explainer, check out this video put together by the folks at The Leap, a climate action group.
The Leap Manifesto predates the Green New Deal, but the group has eagerly taken up the mantle. Here’s the central core of the Manifesto:
We could live in a country powered entirely by renewable energy, woven together by accessible public transit, in which the jobs and opportunities of this transition are designed to systematically eliminate racial and gender inequality. Caring for one another and caring for the planet could be the economy’s fastest growing sectors. Many more people could have higher wage jobs with fewer work hours, leaving us ample time to enjoy our loved ones and flourish in our communities.
We know that the time for this great transition is short. Climate scientists have told us that this is the decade to take decisive action to prevent catastrophic global warming. That means small steps will no longer get us where we need to go.
With a new, scary study appearing at what seems like once a week, good news on the climate front is always welcome. And in at least one climate-related way, the news in 2018 has been very good.
From Abita Springs, Louisiana, population 2,365, to San Diego, California, population 1.3 million, U.S. cities are joining others around the world in pledging to obtain 100 percent of their electricity from renewable (or at least non-carbon) sources. As of December 17, those are just two of the 102 U.S. cities that have made such a formal commitment. The mayors of those 102 cities and 104 others now stand with the 100 percent pledge, though more than half of them have yet to convince their governing bodies to follow their lead in the matter. Nineteen months ago, only 25 cities had made the commitment. In addition to these cities, 11 counties, Hawai’i and California are shooting for the 100 percent goal. MORE