It’s easy to feel depressed by the state of the world’s environment in 2021. More than a million species are in danger of extinction. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphereContinue to rise, and the planet was rocked in a series of climate-driven extreme weather phenomena. The world continues to struggle with a deadly pandemic that seems to never end.
As the year winds down, there are reasons for cautious optimism about the areas where the environment won victories in 2021.
It is important to remember that even promising developments can still be diluted, misleading or not fulfilled. There are signs of progress on this long and difficult road. Here are five reasons you should be optimistic.
1. Refusal to use fossil fuels
The delay was due to COVID-19. November’s COP26the United Nations Climate Change Conference was held in Glasgowwelcomed by the United States, second largest fossil-fuel emitter in the world. Back to the negotiating tableAfter four years without any action on climate change. The summits were over, and the U.S. and China had made a surprise joint declarationto work together in achieving the Paris Agreement’s goals.
The ambition of Glasgow was criticised, particularly in terms Protecting developing countries against climate impactsSupporting their transitions into clean energy systems and the goal of keeping global warming at 2.7F (1.5C) It is possible to do even more now. Notably, All countries agreed to phase out their coal useThese countries failed to submit an initial draft for coal phase out. More than 100 countries agreed to reduce methane emissions 30% by 2030.
The controversial Keystone XL pipeline was canceled by the Biden administration. It also suspended oil drilling leases at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. However, it is also opening up millions more acres for oil and gas exploration. The administration set a goal to generate 30 gigawatts of offshore winds by 2030 and announced that it would do so. reduce solar energyCosts 60 percent over the next ten years; the declarations are part a plan to have U.S. Clean grid powerBy 2035. In August, President Joe Biden directed that half of all new American vehicles be electric by 2030.
Globally, renewable energies use in 2021 is expected to be a staggering 80%. Expected to increase by 8 PercentIt was the fastest year on year growth since the 1970s. A new report from the U.S. found that it had been the fastest. Nearly quadrupledThe last ten years.
The Netherlands has a Court orders Royal Dutch ShellIt will reduce its carbon emissions by 45 per cent relative to 2019 levels by 2030. This result was described by a lawyer as a turning point in the history of the country.
2. Progress in plastic
In the last 12 months, there has been a flood of legislation to reduce plastic pollution. Washington State Governor Jay Inslee has signed a lawThis bans polystyrene-based products, such as packing peanuts or foam coolers; requires that customers request single-use spoons, straws, cups lids, and condiments; and mandates that plastic bottles and jugs contain minimum post-consumer recycling content, including household cleaning products and personal care products.
California It was one of the most important bills ever passed.Manufacturers are prohibited from using the chasing Arrows recycling symbol or the term recyclable on products that aren’t actually recyclable. This is so that local governments can claim compliance with state laws. Products that are labeled compostable must be able to decompose in real-life conditions. PFAsProducts for children contain a chemical known as forever chemicals.
These actions may be recognized federally After the introduction of The Break Free from Plastic Pollution ActThe proposal of two U.S. legislators would, among other things ban single-use plastic products and halt permits for new plastics production plants.
Anthony Blinken, U.S. Secretary Of State, was inaugurated in November The United States announced its support for a global treaty to combat plastic pollutionIt was opposed by the Trump administration. The United States’ support is crucial, as the country is the largest contributor of plastic waste in the world. In a congressionally mandated documentDecember release. The treaty seems certain to move forward. In February, the United Nations will convene in Nairobi to begin formal negotiations.
The National Academies of Sciences asked the U.S. to devise a strategy to reduce plastic waste.
3. Forest protection
The UN Climate Conference in Glasgow, which made a pledge to conserve forests, was the most significant news in forest conservation. End deforestation by 2030; The commitment includes a promise to Funding of $12 billionto unleash the potential of forests for sustainable land use. However, there was widespread skepticism about the promise, not least due to: Deforestation rates have actually risenFollowing a 2014 agreement with the identical goal.
However, 2021 saw a number of victories on the ground. In October, President Felix Tshisekedi of Democratic Republic of Congo called to have its vast forest concessions audited and for all questionable contracts to be suspended until the audit is complete. The government followed suit a few weeks later. Retreated from a plan for lifting a 19-year-old moratorium regarding the granting of new logging licences in Congo Basin Forest. We don’t want to sign any more contracts with partners who come to savagely hone our forests; we will end these types of contracts, declared Environment Minister Eve Bazaiba. Greenpeace is the only environmental group that is not wary. Calling for the DRC Moratorium to be made permanent.
The government of West Papua, an Indonesian province Permits for 12 palm oil contracts were revokedIt covers more than 660,000 acre (an area twice as large as Los Angeles), and three-fifths remain forested. Environmental and Indigenous rights groups are asking the government for recognition of Native peoples’ rights in these areas to manage the forests. Three of the 12 contract holder Continue to fight the governments decisionIn court
And Ecuadors highest court It has been ruled thatPlans to mine copper and gold in a cloud forest protected by the law would be detrimental to its biodiversity and violate the rights and freedoms of nature. They are enshrined into the Ecuadorian constitution. This ruling means that mining concessions and environmental and water permits in forests must be cancelled.
4. Habitat restoration
Part of the first Biden administration’s first year was dedicated to restoring habitat protections that had been lost by its predecessor. The most notable was the Re-establishment and full protectionFor the Bears Ears & Grand Staircase Escalante monuments of southern Utah, as also for the Northeast Canyons & Seamounts National Monument off New England.
The administration Protected more than 3,000,000 acresIt is a part of the Pacific Northwest’s old-growth forest that is a critical habitat for the northernspotted owl. It also Reversed an attempt to weaken the Migratory Bird TreatyThe Trump White House was able to set things in motion in its final days of office. Meanwhile, a court Trump administration overthrownDecision to remove protections from 10,000,000 acres, mostly in Nevada or Idaho, to allow mining to occur in critical habitat for greater Sage-grouse.
The Biden administration was inaugurated in May America the Beautiful Initiative was revealedThis document, among other things, established the first-ever national conservation objective: to conserve 30 percent of U.S. land and water by 2030. It is a United Nations goal to protect The same percentage of ocean and landIt is a goal to which More than 100 countries have committedSeptember
Colombia will be celebrating November in Colombia Promised to protect 30% of its landBy 2022. Panama made significant progress towards the same goal. The area’s Marine Protected Area Cordillera de Coiba has been tripled in size. Also in November Portugal has the largest marine reserve that is fully protectedEurope
5. Support wildlife
Protective measures have seen some improvement in the numbers of some of our most beloved species. China announced in July that they would increase their protections. It has stopped considering the World Wildlife Fund’s iconic giant panda as endangered.It was made vulnerable. There are now just over 1,800 pandas left in the wild, which is a significant improvement on the 1,100 pandas that were last seen in the wild in 2000. China announced the Creation of the Giant Panda National ParkThe park is part of a network of new parks that will cover an area almost as large as the United Kingdom. The parks are meant to protect native species such the Siberian leopard, Northeast China tiger, and Hainan blackcrested gibbon.
Humpback whales are now increasing in numbers in many parts of their range. Their haunting songs helped to build support for the Save the Whales campaign, which ushered in the modern environmental movement. Australia included(where the government is contemplating removing them from the country’s threatened list) South Atlantic feeding grounds. However, the Northwest Atlantic population is home to a significant number of calves. has declinedOver the past 15 years.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), several species of tuna do not face extinction. A yellowfin and a bluefin species as well as an albacore have been removed from the top international endangered species list. This is the result of decades-long efforts to limit the impact of commercial fishing.
Three thousand years later, seven Tasmanian Devils were discovered. Born in a reserve on mainland Australia. Scientists hope that the marsupials will one day be able to play a vital role controlling invasive species by establishing themselves on the mainland.
A government report from the U.K. concluded that Sensient beings such as lobsters, crabs, or octopuses feel pain.Accordingly, the draft Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill of the country should be granted protection.