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Six climate breakthroughs that made 2022 a step toward net zero

 

The damage caused by climate change over this past year was at times so immense it was hard to comprehend. In Pakistan alone, extreme summer flooding killed thousands, displaced millions and caused over $40 billion in losses. Fall floods in Nigeria killed hundreds and displaced over 1 million people. Droughts in Europe, China and the U.S. dried out once-unstoppable rivers and slowed the flows of commerce on major arteries like the Mississippi and the Rhine.

In the face of these extremes, the human response was uneven at best. Consumption of coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, rebounded in 2022. Countries like the U.K. and China seemed to back away from major climate pledges.

But all of this gloom came with more than a silver lining. In fact, it's all too easy to overlook the steps toward a lower-carbon world that came about in between more attention-getting catastrophes.

As 2022 unfolded, a clear pathway of climate hope emerged. New policy breakthroughs have the potential to unlock enormous progress in the effort to slow and reverse warming temperatures. Below is a list of six encouraging developments from a very momentous year, as nation after nation elected more climate-oriented governments and enacted new efforts to curb greenhouse gas.

1. President Joe Biden's big win changes everything

Just when it seemed that Washington was hopelessly gridlocked, in August the Biden administration and a narrow Democratic majority in Congress managed to pass the Inflation Reduction Act.

This new U.S. law, backed by some $374 billion in climate spending, is the country's most aggressive piece of climate legislation ever. Its provisions ensure that for decades to come billions of dollars will roll toward the , making it easier to deploy , build out green technologies and subsidize consumer adoption of everything from electric cars to heat pumps. Experts on energy modeling predict the law will eliminate 4 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

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Published on 1/11/2023 (20 days ago) Climate Change