By Future Planet team, BBC.com, December 14, 2023
In a tumultuous year, the positive milestones for the climate and nature might well have gone under your radar. Future Planet rounds up nine quiet wins of the year, plus one much louder one.
Record-setting spending on clean energy in the US. A clean energy milestone in the world’s power sector. A surge in lawsuits against polluters. A treaty for the oceans 40 years in the making.
This year has seen some remarkable steps forward in tackling the nature and climate crises.
But in a year like 2023, it’s natural our attention has been drawn to the environmental disasters that have dominated the headlines. Add to that our “negativity bias”, which affects the information we are most drawn to, and you can see why any positive developments over the past 12 months feel very quiet by comparison.
Some breakthroughs also don’t get shouted about because they are being led by grassroots communities or indigenous groups whose voices are often marginalised. And sometimes, as we’ll see, a climate win is quiet for a reason.
This is why we’ve gathered some of the “quiet wins” of 2023 for the climate and nature, to make sure these breakthroughs don’t escape our attention.
Here are nine positive developments worth your notice, plus one louder change.
1. A huge boost for clean energy
In the US, the green energy transition has received a massive boost from the Inflation Reduction Act. Passed in 2022, the bill includes $369bn (£294bn) for action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support clean energy and encourage electrification. It was quickly welcomed as the largest climate investment in US history, although it isn’t at all obvious from the legislation’s name – perhaps making it the definition of a “quiet” climate win.
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