Happy Friday, and happy first day of Hanukkah to those that celebrate!
This week (and next) COP28 is going on, which is the UN climate talks with 200 world countries/parties coming together to hash out climate action.
It's had some very big ups and some unfortunate downs too.
This newsletter is focused on positivity and progress, and this gathering is the single greatest opportunity for the world to agree to take enough action needed to prevent the worst climate impacts. Period.
There's no denying that it's weird this year. The president of these talks is Sultan Al Jaber, who is also the head of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (not good news). Additionally, over 2,000 fossil fuel representatives are at the talks this year (also not good news).
But despite this, as you'll see later on in this newsletter, progress really is surging forward.
Unprecedented renewable energy commitments, loss and damage protections, and perhaps most impressively, for the first time ever a majority of countries on Earth called for a phaseout of oil and gas.
The best and most important result of COP28 will be an agreement for all countries to enact this fossil fuel phaseout as quickly and equitably as possible.
I'm certainly optimistic that it'll happen, and will keep my eyes open for updates to send your way.
Even beyond COP, there were, of course, many other great stories this week as well.
The good from Monday, December 4
Colombia just endorsed the Fossil Fuel Nonproliferation Treaty, becoming the first Latin American country and the largest producer of coal and gas so far to join this push. (Fossil Fuel Treaty)
They announced this at the UN climate talks called COP28, alongside other wins like 116 countries pledging to triple renewable energy, 22 pledging to triple nuclear energy, and a new Loss and Damages Fund with $549 million toward vulnerable countries. (COP28, NYT, NPR)
Hopefully, bigger commitments are on the way, and in the meantime, 70 communities in Michoacán Mexico have reforested over 2 million trees using ancestral techniques with an astounding 90% survival rate. (Mexico News Daily)
While a border collie named Jessie rediscovered one of the strangest and cutest creatures I’ve ever seen called a golden mole as it was blindly swimming in the sand in South Africa 86 years since it had last been spotted. (The Guardian)
The good from Tuesday, December 5
The majority of countries around the world just called for an end to new oil and gas production and clear end dates for a full fossil fuel phaseout at COP28! (Inside Climate News)
England is getting its first new National Park since 2010, joining 10 existing national parks and 34 national landscapes that protect about a quarter of the country. (Eco Watch)
Paul Barton risks his safety to play piano for rescued elephants in a sanctuary in Thailand and finds they love listening as it slows their breathing and calms them down. (The Guardian)
Lithium-ion battery prices have dropped by 14% to a record low with projections showing bigger drops meaning electric vehicle and tool prices will drop as well. (Bnef)
The good from Wednesday, December 6
Ana Maria and David have reforested over 1.2 million red, white, black, and sweet mangroves in El Delgadito, Mexico, transforming and literally saving the community when hurricane Kay hit last year. (Hakai Magazine)
The Solaris is the first commercially approved boat in the US powered entirely by solar panels and a big step forward toward replacing all fossil fuel-powered boats. (Canary Media)
Conservation organization African Parks stepped in to buy 2,000 southern white rhinos making up 15% of the remaining population, and will reintroduce them to protected areas across Africa over the next 10 years. (The Guardian)
150 countries have now signed the global methane pledge to reduce methane emissions by 30%, and while it’s not nearly enough, pressure is building for a mandatory, binding phaseout. (Inside Climate News)
The good from Thursday, December 7
Wolverines, which are real animals in addition to superheroes, will be gaining federal protections in the US after 30 years of efforts to save the remaining wild population. (Inside Climate News)
A degrowth movement is catching on with younger folks in the UK who are choosing to rent, repair, thrift, or buy high-quality garments that last, which saves money and is more sustainable. (The Guardian)
New York City just passed a bill that ends the mandatory three-month waiting period for new bike lanes, meaning all 5 boroughs will now get more bike lanes faster. (NYC Streets)
The US Army declared they will never resume live-fire training in the Mākua Military Reservation in Hawaii which is home to over 40 endangered and threatened species and dozens of sacred and cultural sites that will now be better protected. (Earthjustice)
Bonus stories - for a little more good :)
- Kenyan engineer Nzambi Matee is turning plastic waste into usable bricks.
- New coiling within roads is charging EVs as they drive in Detroit.
- NYC's Rockefeller Christmas tree will be diverted from the landfill & repurposed!
Spread this breath of fresh air🪴
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See you again soon,
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