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Uplifting Climate Change Good News — According To Al Gore

Al Gore stands on stage

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore has been a huge player in the fight against climate change for as long as most of us can remember. As the founder and current chair of the Climate Reality Project, he has dedicated his life to climate action.

And he says we have a lot to celebrate.

Gore took the stage at the TED Countdown Summit in Detroit, Michigan this week to speak to the progress — and required action — in the climate movement. 

Al Gore speaks on stage at TED Countdown
Al Gore speaks at TED Countdown Summit. July 11-14, 2023, Detroit, MI. Photo: Gilberto Tadday / TED

A seasoned speaker, Gore has presented at a number of TED events over the years, in 2014, 2021, and 2022. This year, like always, he led with optimism and hope rooted in reality.

“The most important question these days is: How can we speed up solutions to the climate crisis? I’m convinced we are going to solve the climate crisis; we’ve got this,” Gore begins his talk. “The question remains: Will we solve it in time?”

With a clock that seems to tick more rapidly (and loudly) than ever, Gore keeps us grounded in the truth: The climate crisis demands action — and we’re moving forward.

Al Gore stands on stage, extending his arms
Al Gore speaks at TED Countdown Summit. July 11-14, 2023, Detroit, MI. Photo: Jasmina Tomic / TED

“Obviously, the crisis has to be addressed,” he said. “The good news is… we are seeing tremendous progress.”

Here are a few pieces of good news Gore highlighted in his TED Talk that keep us hopeful — and activated — in the climate crisis:

These are some of Al Gore’s favorite climate change good news stories worth knowing — 

The U.S. passed The Inflation Reduction Act, the largest and most comprehensive climate bill in U.S. history. 

As Gore reminds us, in August 2022, the United States passed the Inflation Reduction Act: A historic piece of legislation that will invest an estimated $1.2 trillion in climate action. 

The bill includes a variety of clean energy, climate mitigation and resilience, agriculture, and conservation-related programs and is the largest (and best!) federal climate policy the country has ever seen.

Australia adopted a new law that would reduce emissions 43% below 2005 levels by 2030.

A month after the Inflation Reduction Act passed in America, Australia began changing its laws to reduce emissions, too. The law is the most significant climate law in over a decade, according to experts. 

Brazil elected Luis Inácio Lula da Silva as President, which is already a win for the Amazon.

Journeying over to South America, Brazil has a lot to celebrate under the leadership of Luis Inácio Lula da Silva. His plans to protect the Amazon have already seen significant progress. 

Just six months into Lula’s presidency, deforestation has dropped 34% in the Amazon rainforest

The EU announced its renewable energy generation would grow from 37% in 2021 to 69% in 2030.

Resisting war-motivated efforts of Russia’s fossil fuel industry, the European Union has rapidly accelerated its renewable energy capacity

Al Gore stands on stage in front of an audience. Behind him is a graph that shows the growth of global solar power.
Al Gore speaks at TED Countdown Summit. July 11-14, 2023, Detroit, MI. Photo: Jasmina Tomic / TED

Nations like Denmark, Lithuania, and the Netherlands lead the way in solar, wind, and electric power — leading to astonishing numbers that give us hope in reaching clean energy goals by 2030. 

India has paused plans to add coal plants for the next five years, focusing on renewable energy instead. 

Gore also recently shared some good news from India. The world’s third-highest emitter and most populous nation, the country hit pause on new coal plants for the next five years, committing to building renewable energy systems instead.

According to the Associated Press, India plans to install 500 gigawatts of clean energy by 2030, enough to power anywhere from 150 to 500 million homes. 

“This is a significant step toward a clean energy future,” Gore tweeted in June

Investments in solar and battery factories have put us closer to net-zero goals by 2030.

A new analysis from the International Energy Agency suggests that the industrial capacity to manufacture solar panels, wind turbines, and electrolyzers put us on track to reach net-zero goals by 2030.

Investments in these manufacturing operations mean solar, wind, and electric power can help cut emissions in half by the end of the decade. 

Once the world reaches net-zero carbon emissions, global temperatures will stop increasing within three to five years.

According to Michael Mann, distinguished professor of the atmospheric sciences and Director of Earth System Science Center at Penn State, once the world hits true net-zero, temperatures will stop going up.

Gore reminds us that some impacts of climate change will continue, like melting ice, but temperatures will stop increasing — with a lag time of as little as three to five years — once that net-zero goal is achieved. 

And — if we can stay at true net-zero, half of the human-made CO2 would be taken out of the atmosphere within 30 years.

According to Drew Shundell of Duke University, halting our net CO2 emissions would put us on track to see a near 50% reduction in the carbon in our atmosphere, as it would be absorbed into the upper ocean and trees within approximately 30 years. 

Al Gore stands on stage, one arm raised
Al Gore speaks at TED Countdown Summit. July 11-14, 2023, Detroit, MI. Photo: Gilberto Tadday / TED

“Can you imagine?” Gore asks on the TED stage. “30 years from when we reach net-zero, we could be down to 350 ppm.” 

Young climate activists are demanding that we do the right thing.

In every corner of the globe, young people are stepping up in protest, demanding a better, cleaner, greener future for all. Whether it’s Greta Thunberg, Vanessa Nakate, or any of the local grassroots organizers activating their community — the future is one of intersectional environmentalism.

We can save the planet. 

If there’s one thing that Gore’s good climate news shows us, it’s that climate solutions work. Climate activism works

If we continue on a path of progress — and accelerate renewable energy transitions and comprehensive climate policy — we can save the world. 

“Do not be vulnerable to despair,” Gore said. “We are going to do this, and if you doubt that we, as human beings, have the will to act, always remember that the will to act is, itself, a renewable resource.”

Header image courtesy of Gilberto Tadday/TED

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