Pessimism, the Number One Enemy of Climate Action

Sometimes, the biggest roadblock to solving a problem isn’t the problem itself but the belief that it can’t be solved.

When it comes to climate change, pessimism often takes the driver’s seat. 

As a result, we have ended up believing that no matter what we do, it’s too late or too little to make a difference. 

But here’s the thing – that’s not entirely true and there is evidence that tells a different story.

We are making significant strides in fighting global warming, even though this often goes unnoticed.

It’s not all bad news, so let’s ditch the pessimism and dive into the facts.

Emissions are decreasing in some places

Countries like Italy, the UK, and Denmark aren’t just dreaming about reducing emissions—they’re already taking action. And here’s the kicker – they’re doing it without sacrificing their economies. 

Since the year 2000, the EU has cut down its CO2 output by a whopping 21%, Italy by 28%, the UK by 35%, and Denmark? An impressive 43%. These aren’t just numbers; they’re proof that we can take on climate change and make a difference without giving up our quality of life.

Renewables have become more affordable

Remember when renewable energy was the underdog, too pricey and impractical to even consider? Well, times have changed. 

Wind and solar power have not only caught up with the price of coal and fossil fuels in a lot of places but have now become a cheaper alternative. Hard to believe isn’t it? 

Well, consider this – wind energy costs have plummeted, becoming three times cheaper. Meanwhile, solar power is now ten times cheaper than it was ten years ago.

In developed countries, they’re starting to beat out coal and other fossil fuels, even with all the subsidies and infrastructure those energy sources have to support them.

The explosive growth of clean energy

If you’re looking for signs that we’re making real progress in the battle against climate change, just look up at the sun. Between 2010 and 2020, the amount of solar energy has skyrocketed by 25 times, while wind energy production has increased by 5 times. Back in 2010, wind power produced 346 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity. Fast forward to 2020, and that number has grown to 1,591 TWh. Solar power has gone from a modest 34 TWh to an astounding 856 TWh. And there’s also the fact that the price of batteries has dropped by 97% during the last 30 years, making the storage of renewable energy, much more feasible.

How switching bulbs is saving the planet

It might seem like a small thing, but switching from old, inefficient light bulbs to LEDs unlocks huge energy savings. LEDs are not just a little better; they’re about ten times more efficient than traditional bulbs. This isn’t just good for cutting down electricity bills; it’s a game-changer for reducing energy consumption worldwide. But that’s not all. LEDs also last up to 100 times longer than the old incandescent bulbs. This means less waste, fewer resources needed for manufacturing, and, more savings

Economic growth is possible without the emissions

For the longest time, we believed that economic growth unavoidably leads to more pollution. However, there are now examples that prove the opposite. The Czech Republic, for example, saw its emissions drop by 13% while its GDP grew by 27%. France managed to cut CO2 emissions by 14% and still boost its economy by 15%. Even the USA, the world’s largest economy, has cut its emissions by 4% while growing its GDP by 26%. These examples show that economic growth and environmental sustainability can go hand in hand. It’s a powerful rebuttal to the old narrative, showing a way forward where we can thrive without harming our planet.

It’s not just outsourcing pollution

Some people say that rich countries are just sending their dirty work elsewhere, thus exporting their emissions to developing countries. However, when we take a closer look at recent trends, this argument starts to crumble. Yes, global trade means that some pollution comes with the products we import, but the overall picture is still improving. Even when we account for the carbon footprint of all the goods we bring in from abroad, the trend remains positive. Things have changed drastically since ten years ago. We’re seeing how economies are starting to structure around more sustainable practices, instead of shifting their problems to somewhere else. 

Let’s not forget about carbon capture

When it comes to tackling climate change, every tool in our arsenal matters, and carbon capture technology is one of the most talked-about additions. Back in 2000, the idea of directly capturing CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it seemed like a distant dream. Fast forward to today, and it’s not only a reality but also becoming more affordable and efficient. While it’s true that the cost of removing one ton of CO2 is around $600 through direct carbon capture, this figure is dropping as the technology advances. This method, alongside natural and more affordable solutions like reforestation, could play a significant role in our efforts to reduce atmospheric carbon. Although it’s not a silver bullet, it’s a stepping stone to addressing climate change. 

Meeting the Paris Agreement goals will be a challenge

It’s no secret that the most ambitious target of the Paris Agreement—limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels—is slipping out of reach. Critics might say this is proof that our efforts are in vain, but that’s missing the big picture. Yes, the path to achieving this goal is steep and full of challenges. The Emissions Gap Report shows us a sobering truth: current commitments only reduce projected 2030 emissions by 7.5%, far from the 55% needed for the 1.5°C target.

But it’s important to keep in mind that every step forward reduces the gap. The journey toward net-zero emissions is a marathon, not a sprint, and every incremental step matters – no matter how small it may seem at first. Each innovation, policy change, and individual action creates momentum. Facing the challenge head-on, without succumbing to doomerism, is the only way forward. 

And as we move forward, let’s shift our perspective from doubt to determination, from pessimism to possibility. The fight against climate change is not just about avoiding disaster; it’s also about building a better, more sustainable world for future generations. And that’s a fight worth fighting – with hope as our biggest weapon.

We would like to thank Kurzgesagt for providing the research we used in this article.

Their video is a spark of hope amidst all the grim predictions.

Do yourself a solid and watch it, we promise it will help you get a new perspective.

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