What Went Right This Week: Hope for Stabilising the Climate, Plus More Positive News


Gavin Haines | Positive News - TRANSCEND Media Service

7 Jan 2021 – Scientists said the climate could stabilise with decisive action, Norway pulled ahead in the race to drive combustion engines off the road and the US state of Georgia elected its first black senator – plus the week’s other positive news.

Positive News

Study offered hope for stabilising climate

Mankind has already emitted enough carbon dioxide to blow past internationally agreed limits on warming – that’s the bad news. The good news is that this baked-in heating could take longer than previously thought to take effect, buying us time to adapt and develop technological climate fixes – but only if we reduce emissions fast.

Those are the conclusions of a report, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, which estimates that baked-in heating (heating we have already committed to through historical CO2 emissions) will push global temperatures to 2.3C above pre-industrial levels. But not, potentially, for centuries.

“The good news is [the emergence of] this committed warming is a very slow process,” said study co-author Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist at Texas A&M University. “That means if we can get emissions to net zero soon, we can stay below 2C for a very long time, giving us more time to adapt. Our work emphasises the need to reduce emissions as quickly as possible in order to avoid large near-term warming.”

Raphael Warnock became Georgia’s first black senator

Image: Raphael Warnock/Creative Commons

The pastor of a church that was at the heart of the civil rights movement has become the first black senator to represent Georgia, a former confederate state that fought for slavery during the American civil war.

Rev Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, beat his Republican rival, Kelly Loeffler, in one of the state’s two runoff elections on Thursday, a day that was overshadowed by the storming of Washington’s Capitol building by Trump supporters.

In his victory speech, Warnock acknowledged the social progress that had been made in Georgia, where his mother worked many years ago as a cotton-picker. “The 82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else’s cotton went to the polls and picked her youngest son to be a United States senator,” he said.

Norway made history with electric car surge

Image: Remy Lovesy

Norway is leading the race to drive carbon-belching combustion engines off the roads, it emerged this week. Car sales data revealed that in 2020 it became the first country to sell more electric vehicles (EVs) than petrol or diesel cars.

Of all new cars sold in Norway last year, 54.3 per cent were electric, like the one pictured. The rising popularity of EVs there is thanks to generous tax breaks for zero-emission cars, introduced to help the country achieve its ambitious goal of ending the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2025.

With road transport accounting for around 21 per cent of the EU’s total emissions, driving combustion engines off the road is vital to tackle the climate crisis. However, EVs come with their own environmental problems, chiefly the sourcing of minerals to make their batteries.

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