Good news we take with us into 2023

New Year is a time to take a breather, recharge the batteries and lift the glasses, while reflecting on both the wins and the failures of the year that went by. 2022 was a year flooded with bad news, however so much the more, it is important at this time to keep in mind that many good things are also happening in our world simultaneously.

This blogpost is a compilation of some of the good news that landed in Centre for Climate Centre’s mailbox recently. If you hear or find something which you think is good news and should be added to the list, we invite you to share it by posting it in the comments field below. 


Surge in green energy use
In the final three months of 2022, green power overtook black coal’s output for the first time in the history of Australia’s east coast power grid. Fossil fuels, in turn, made their lowest contribution to the mix of power we used.
The year-on-year jump in renewable energy use was considerable, too:
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) revealed that renewable energy generation supplied on average 40 per cent of the grid’s power during the December quarter, beating the previous record of 35 per cent set in the same period in 2021.
~ The Age

Victoria smashes climate targets
Australian states truly are doing the most. Victoria has overshot its emissions reduction target of 20 per cent by 2020 by an extra 10 per cent. This data comes as the Andrews government sets a new target of a 75-80 per cent reduction by 2035 and net-zero by 2045. In November 2022, Labor won the state election promising that 95 per cent of Victoria’s electricity supply will be coming from clean energy sources such as solar and wind by 2035.
Read more

For an entire week in December 2022, wholesale electricity price went negative due to large output of solar and wind

Wind energy delivers three quarters of Victoria’s demand
The state of Victoria reached a new milestone in October 2022 after wind energy delivered more than three-quarters of state electricity demand for the first time. Over a three-day period, renewables (including solar and rooftop solar, and a little bit of hydro) contributed 49 per cent of state demand.

90 per cent renewable, coal free energy in Victoria by 2030
The Australian Energy Market Operator’s and Transgrid’s planning scenarios now largely anticipate Victoria’s grid being powered by at least 90 per cent renewable energy and no coal by 2030, since renewables have become so reliable and cheaper than coal.

This new research shows Victoria can be coal free before 2030 without any loss of reliability and with nil to very small cost increases. Moreover, fast action that successfully transforms Australia and Victoria into a clean energy exporter will produce cost decreases.
Read more

Australian Energy Market Operator 2021: Inputs, Assumptions and Scenarios Report
Transgrid 2021, Energy Vision: A clean energy future for Australia
Australian Energy Market Operator 2021: National Energy Market Statement of Opportunities
Transgrid 2021, Energy Vision: A clean energy future for Australia

“The good news is the world’s coal use has peaked – and will soon rapidly decline. This is because new solar and wind power station capacity is being installed 18 times faster than new coal. In many countries such as Australia, retiring coal power stations are being replaced by solar and wind. Coal use in Australia’s National Electricity Market peaked in 2008. Since then, the proportion of coal in the NEM electricity mix has fallen from 86% to 59%, and this decline is accelerating.”
~ Professor Andrew Blakers and Research Officer Anna Nadolny, Australian National University
Read more

State and federal governments unite on $7.8 billion transmission investment
The federal and New South Wales governments have combined on a landmark $7.8 billion (USD 5.25 billion) investment to help finance the development of eight critical transmission and renewable energy zone projects as they look to accelerate Australia’s clean energy future.

The Commonwealth and New South Wales (NSW) governments will build critical infrastructure needed to connect the state’s planned renewable energy zones and the 2GW Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro project to the electricity grid. The package is funded by $4.7 billion from the federal government’s $20 billion Rewiring the Nation program and $3.1 billion from the NSW Transmission Acceleration Facility. The joint $7.8 billion deal will back eight transmission and REZ projects including the HumeLink project which will reinforce the transmission network in southern NSW and is deemed essential for the success of the federal government’s 2GW Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro project.

South Australia’s energy needs supplied 100 per cent from rooftop solar
Rooftop solar meets all domestic network demand in South Australia for the seventh time in October 2022, and for the longest period: more than five hours. RenewEconomy called it “another landmark moment for the green energy transition.”

South Australia continues its record-breaking run on renewables, with wind and solar contributing just over 85% of the state’s electricity demand for the month of December 2022.
South Australia overall sources 69 per cent of its energy demand from wind and solar, and that is expected to rise to net 100 per cent in coming years – officially by 2030, but in all likelihood well before then.
Read more

Queensland says goodbye to coal-fired power by 2035
Queensland is set to end the use of coal-fired power by 2035 under the Labor government’s plans to transform their energy system. A combination of wind, solar and pumped hydro will support the move away from coal. Time for them to live up to that “sunshine state’ title.
Read more

Sydney implements new climate-friendly regulations
In an Australian-first, City of Sydney Council in 2022 endorsed controls that require applications for new office buildings, hotels and shopping centres and major redevelopments to comply with minimum energy ratings from January 2023 and achieve net-zero energy use from 2026 – ensuring buildings help reach the Council’s target of net zero emissions by 2035. The city is also working on creating a new Urban Forest Strategy and a Street Tree Master Plan to create a more cool, calm, and climate change-resilient city. 
Read more

More savings on solar and battery
In October 2022, Evergen, a renewable software business, and OpenSolar, the world’s leading solar design and proposal software platform, announced a partnership that will make it easier for solar and battery installers around the world to visualise customer savings that could be up to 26.4 per cent greater than standard residential solar and battery designs.
Read more

Volvo stops selling petrol cars already by 2026
Car giant Volvo has shocked the motoring industry, announcing plans to stop selling petrol vehicles in Australia by 2026, with a top executive calling the older technology a “shrinking business”. Volvo’s Australian deadline will come four years before its worldwide target to transition to electric vehicles, and comes one week after it launched its first electric car in Australia.
Read more

Number of electric vehicles on Australian roads soars as demand exceeds supply
The number of electric vehicles on Australian roads has almost doubled over the past year, growing from 44,000 at the beginning of 2022 to more than 83,000, according to research based on sales data released in the Electric Vehicle Council’s yearly recap.

That figure is expected to top 100,000 in the coming months. Of the 83,000 in circulation, 79% are battery electric vehicles while 21% are plug-in hybrids. Electric vehicles accounted for 3.8% of all new vehicle sales in Australia in 2022, however, their market share varies dramatically by region. Market share was strongest in the Australian Capital Territory, with almost 10% of all new cars bought in 2022 being electric, up from 5% in 2021.
Read more

Australia Post targets 100 per cent renewables by 2025 
The government-run postal service is aiming to source 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2025 as part of a newly released “road map” to decarbonise and reach net zero by 2050.

Australia promises to stop the decline of biodiversity
The Federal Government has committed to protect 50 million hectares of land by the end of 2030 and has set a goal of no new extinctions, and an overhaul to the Threatened Species Action Plan. “This is a crucial step towards protecting our unique and natural environment, and will ensure Australia meets domestic targets of 30 per cent protection, to stop the decline of biodiversity,” stated the Government.
Read more

The Guardian: Plibersek flags environmental law overhaul

Here is an up-to-date list of individual states and territories’ emissions reduction targets and renewable energy targets.

Emissions reduction targets & net zero commitments (updated 25/1/2023)

1.       TASnet zero by 2030

2.       ACT: 50-60% by 2025, 65-75% by 2030, 90 to 95% by 2040 (below 1990 levels), net zero by 2045

3.       NSW: 50% by 203070% by 2035 (below 2005 levels), net zero by 2050 (2035 target announced Dec 2022)

4.       SA: 50% by 2030 (below 2005 levels), net zero by 2050

5.       VIC: 50% by 2030, 75% to 80% by 2035 (below 2005 levels), net zero by 2045 (gov website yet to be updated)

6.       QLD: 30% by 2030 (below 2005 levels), net zero by 2050

7.       WA: no interim targets, net zero by 2050

8.       NT: no interim targets, net zero by 2050

9.       AUS: 43% by 2030 (below 2005 levels)


Renewable energy goals and targets (updated 25/1/2023)

1.       TAS: already 100%, 150% by 2030, 200% target by 2040

2.       ACT: already 100%, transition away from gas by 2045

3.       SA: 100% by 2030

4.       VIC: 65% by 2030, 95% by 2035 (still to be legislated, announced Oct 2022)

5.       QLD: 60% by 2030, 70% by 2032 and 80% by 2035

6.       NT: 50% by 2030

7.       WA: no specific target

8.       NSW: no specific target


Renewables now deliver 75 per cent of all new power
Adoption of zero-carbon power sources – including renewables like solar and wind power – is on the rise around the world, with recent years witnessing record-breaking growth.
The sales of electric vehicles are also taking off, with the share of EV passenger car sales doubling from 2020 to 2021.
Renewable energy now delivers 75 per cent of all new power – whereas coal has plummeted to just 4 per cent, according to an important study.
in April 2022, global solar hit one terawatt (one trillion watts) of capacity. 
Read more

Carbon emissions projected to peak in 2025
Global carbon emissions from electricity generation will peak in 2025 – three short years away – according to a newly released report by the International Energy Agency. This is an extremely good piece of news that led the IEA’s executive director Fatih Birol to declare that “the energy world is shifting dramatically before our eyes.” The war in Ukraine, which sparked a global energy crisis and drove up inflation, is among the factors driving this shift towards clean energy, the report found.

Green energy transition to result in trillions of net savings
A rapid green energy transition will likely result in trillions of dollars of net savings, even without accounting for the enormous damage continued fossil use is causing. Energy models should be updated to reflect the high probability of low-cost renewables, reported Joule on 13 September 2022.

2022 data from Bloomberg revealed that global low-carbon technology investment grew to US$1.1trillion, up 31 per cent, to match fossil fuel investment for the first time ever.

The European Union saw enough solar tech installed to power 12.4 million homes – almost 50 per cent more than in 2021.

→ Sky News – 31 January 2023:
Big return to coal in Europe killed off by record renewable energy
“For the first time ever, wind and solar generated more electricity in the European Union than any other source – preventing a feared return to coal as the continent battled an energy crisis.”

World’s first carbon border tax has landed in Europe
In a global first, the European Union on 13 December 2022 reached a preliminary agreement to impose a carbon tax on imported goods. The move is intended to help European industries avoid being undercut by cheaper goods made in countries with weaker greenhouse gas emission rules.
Read more

Polluting petrol cars phase-outs
2030: Austria, Denmark, Iceland, Greece, Netherlands, Singapore, Slovenia, Washington state
2035: EU, Canada and Chile (light vehicles), Norway, UK, Mass, New York, California
2040: France, Spain

In China, sales of electric vehicles are expected to skyrocket with Chinese consumers set to buy 8 to 10 million EVs in 2023. This rise can be partly attributed to Chinese-based electric vehicle producers making more affordable cars that appeal to consumers in the world’s biggest car market. “To put this in perspective, seven out of every 10 electric vehicles are now sold in China,” said Neil Beveridge, an analyst with Bernstein in Hong Kong.
Read more

University votes to go meat-free by 2025
Scotland’s University of Stirling student union has voted to go meat-free by 2025. Half of the menus at the university’s three cafes will be vegan by the start of the 2023 academic year, with plans to transition to 100% plant-based catering by 2025.
Read more

Munich Re to stop its backing for new oil and gas fields
Munich Re, one of the world’s biggest insurance companies, will stop backing new oil and gas fields beginning in April 2023. The company will also no longer invest in or insure new oil pipelines and power plants that weren’t already under construction by 31 December 2022. Munich Re said the moves were part of its effort to reduce the harmful impact its business has on the environment. The burning of oil and gas is one of the main sources of greenhouse gases fueling climate change.
Read more

Greece runs completely on renewables for the first time in its history
On Friday 7 October 2022, for a period of around five hours, the country was running off entirely renewable power, reaching a record high of 3,106MWh at 8 o’clock GMT. “For the first time in the history of the Greek electricity system, the demand was covered 100 per cent from renewable energy sources,” its IPTO wrote.

Plug pulled on coal-fired power station
Less than a year after the Bluewaters power station came online, powerful investors pulled the plug on a 500-million-dollar investment amid Australia’s breathtaking energy transition, writes the ABC. “The extraordinary events at Bluewaters have been reverberating through the Australian energy landscape as everyone from governments and regulators to industry tries to keep up with the breathtaking pace of change.”
Read more

Massive offshore wind farm in China
China will soon begin constructing a massive offshore wind farm that could generate 43.4 gigawatts—enough electricity to power all of Norway, EuroNews Green reported. This farm will generate twice as much power as the world’s next largest wind farm, also in China.
Read more

Norway’s ‘climate bomb’ contained
It’s being called the beginning of the end of the oil age in Norway: State oil and energy company Equinor’s decision to put development of a highly contested Arctic oil field on ice is being celebrated by climate and environmental advocates and mourned by industry, but may spark a boom in alternative energy projects.

Excerpt of newsletter from the American climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe on 31 December 2022:


Brazil re-elected President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva who has pledged to reach net-zero deforestation in the Amazon by the end of the decade. This summer, the Brazilian Supreme Court ruled that the Paris Agreement must take precedence over national laws: the first country in the world to do so. Other countries also elected climate hawks: in Colombia, President Gustavo Petro hopes to phase out oil and gas drilling in his country while in Chile, President Gabriel Boric appointed climate scientist Maisa Rojas as the country’s environment minister, and proposed a new constitution to tackle climate change for a sustainable future.

U.S. renewables were projected to produce more than 20 percent of the country’s power in 2022, surpassing coal for the first time. In Canada, the province of Alberta, long known for its fossil fuel-based economy, is on track to meet its renewable energy goals; the federal government is imposing a new 10 percent “luxury tax” on the purchase of private jets, yachts, and cars; and Canadians are now receiving regular carbon tax rebates, known as Climate Action Incentive payments, every three months. 
France banned short-haul flights between Paris and Nantes, Lyon, and Bordeaux in favor of train travel. France also plans to cover every parking lot in the country with solar panels.Short private jet flights are also subject to the ban. In the U.K., a Welsh hospital is now powered by its very own solar farm, saving close to a million pounds a year. And across the E.U., countries have agreed to cut their heat-trapping gas emissions by at least 55% in the next eight years.

New laws in Sierra Leone will allow local communities to nix proposed mining, industrial, and farming projects that might harm the local environment. In South Africa, a court upheld a ban preventing Shell from conducting oil and gas exploration off the country’s east coast. Looking to the future, Africa has the greatest solar energy potential of any continent, and could generate a trillion euros (about 1.1 trillion USD) in investments in green hydrogen.

Homes built after 2025 in Tokyo must have solar panels. China continues to lead the world in clean energy development and has developed a plan to curb its methane emissions, which rank among the highest in the world. And in India, the government is spending $2.6 billion to spur domestic solar production. 

Women in Papau New Guinea are leading mangrove conservation efforts that protect coastlines from climate-fueled storms and provide habitat for coastal species and firewood for local communities. Australians elected a new government that promises ambitious climate action, and Aotearoa New Zealand’s Emission Reduction Plan aims to cut the country’s net emissions in half over the next 8 years and reach net zero by 2050.
“[W]hen we look back a decade from now, we may find that 2022 was an inflection point. New policies [around the world] are creating momentum for the shift toward clean energy,” my colleague and fellow Canadian Leah Stokes wrote in the New York Times on Christmas Day. “If moving away from dirty energy is like rerouting a giant ship, then this could be the year when world leaders started to turn the tanker around.”

Share this news with the people around you, and let’s make 2023 the year of climate action!”
~ Katharine Hayhoe

The year in cheer

There’s a wealth of good sustainability and climate news, big and small, among the ‘183 ways the world got better in 2022’ compiled by Reasons to be Cheerful:

Waste and recycling

Tilos, a tiny Greek island, recycles up to 86% of its trash, a record high in Greece — and now its landfill is shut.

500 tons of compostable materials are collected from San Francisco each day, helping to divert some 80% of the city’s waste from landfills.

Apps are reducing food waste in Denmark — one of them has saved more than 11 million “meals” in the past six years.

The Japanese city Kamikatsu recycles 81% of its waste, compared to the Japanese average of 20%. Now it’s spreading its policies to other small cities nationwide.

Europe’s second-hand apparel market is expected to grow twice as fast as its overall apparel market by 2026.

Almost half a million avocados were saved from landfills by 10,000 people in Philadelphia.

A Swedish processing plant can convert 120,000 metric tons of cotton waste into usable fabric, a big step toward mainstream clothing recycling.

62% of Sweden’s litter comes from discarded cigarette butts. Now a startup is training crows to pick them up and throw them away in exchange for treats.

A company that upcycles chopsticks into furniture has saved more than 70 million of them from landfills. 

When school cafeterias don’t use food trays, they report a 20-30% reduction in food waste.

Scientists have invented a new palm oil alternative to upcycle the 1.7 million tons of baked goods that go uneaten annually in Germany alone.

. . .


One-third of the world’s renewable power is in China. Now, that country wants to increase its capacity to 1,200 gigawatts by 2030 — more than the entire current global total. 

Australia expects renewables to make up 82% of its energy mix by 2030.

Norway is developing a heat pump that could allow one fifth of all European industry to cut its energy use by 70%.

Nine US cities now have the capacity to generate 3.5 gigawatts of solar power, more than the entire country did just a decade ago.

In the first half of 2022, solar and wind power made up 67% of newly added electrical capacity in the US.

Floating solar farms produced 68 megawatts of green energy in 2015. Today they produce 5,000 megawatts — a number expected to quadruple by 2027.

57% of the power generated in Iowa, USA, last year came from wind.

171 German “bioenergy villages” are getting at least 50% of their energy from renewable sources.

Emissions-free energy sources provided 38 percent of global power in 2021, more than coal for the first time ever.

In 2020, Hawaii banned coal power entirely. Now its last coal plant has closed for good.

Every large parking lot in France will soon be covered in solar panels, generating green energy equivalent to running 10 nuclear reactors

A large study found only 4% of respondents had “negative” or “very negative” feelings about wind farms on or close to their homes.

California’s cap-and-trade program collected more than $2 billion from polluters in 2021 alone, and cities are using that money to keep residents from being displaced.

For 15 minutes on 30 April 2022, California ran on 100% renewable energy.

Greensburg, Kansas, USA, runs on 100% wind energy that comes from a 10-turbine wind farm outside of town.

13 hospitals in cities all over Ukraine have received more than two dozen portable solar battery systems that can produce and store energy independently.

48 percent of all electricity generated in Kenya came from geothermal — the highest share of any country.

27,000 households across 1,066 slum settlements in India have installed sustainable cooling technologies to help home-based workers stay comfortably productive. 

An Oregon water treatment plant converts its waste into 4,324 megawatts of green energy, providing about half the facility’s energy usage.

. . .


Two-thirds of organizations say they feel pressure from their own employees to implement more policies that counteract climate change.

More than 1,550 lawsuits brought by plaintiffs in 38 countries have been brought to protect the climate.

US states passed roughly 400 bills to reduce carbon emissionsbetween 2015 and 2020 — and 28% of them were passed by Republican-controlled legislatures.

850 tons of CO2 emissions were saved in Austria thanks to a program that encourages citizens to repair their broken items instead of replacing them.

A coalition of cities in the American West are working towards the removal of 2,500 metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere.

One hectare of hempcrete can capture between 8 to 15 metric tons of CO2.

Seaweed aquaculture could absorb nearly 240 million tons of CO2 by 2050, equal to the annual emissions from more than 50 million fossil fuel–powered cars.

. . .


The world’s first train line powered entirely by hydrogen began service in Germany. 

If everyone in the world rode bicycles as much as the Dutch do, annual global emissions would fall by nearly 700 million metric tons.

A UK program that helps employees buy tax-free bikes so they can commute more sustainably has been used by more than 1.6 million workers. 

In a survey of 380 people, roughly half decided to fly less in response to knowing someone who had gone “flight-free.”

By connecting groups of 10 or 12 cyclists, an app is making commuting by bicycle safer in Los Angeles

A new analysis shows that business boomed at restaurants and bars on the 83 miles of streets New York City closed to traffic due to Covid.

Four cities that closed streets to traffic at the height of the pandemic have made those changes permanent

A trial of a very affordable monthly transit pass in Germany convinced 10 million additional people to take buses and trains instead of drive. 

In India, as Delhi electrifies its fleet of public buses, it is projected to save 1,300 lives annually due to decreased air pollution. 

In the US, Denver will get 300 miles of new sidewalks thanks to a huge investment in pedestrian-friendly infrastructure

Since its inception in 2005, World Bicycle Relief has given away more than 635,000 bicycles in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Kenya, Malawi, Colombia and Sri Lanka.

Since 1990, the proportion of journeys by car in Paris has dropped about 45% and use of public transit has risen by 30%.

Crashes involving pedestrians decreased by 50% in places where busy intersections were redesigned with stunning pavement murals.


After nearly vanishing in the mid 20th century, there are now over 8,140 farmers markets in the US.

One man has secured pledges from 74 countries to preserve their soil through more sustainable farming.

The public library in Mystic, Connecticut, USA, offers 90 types of seeds that members can “check out” to plant in their yards, gardens and pots. 

The US climate bill helps landowners with 30 acres or more access the carbon market, giving them a new opportunity to earn money by saving their trees

The US Inflation Reduction Act allocates $22 billion for “climate-smart farming.”

The eco-friendly land-based salmon farming industry grew by 35% last year.

. . .

Trees, biodiversity, nature

Five bodies of water are suing the State of Florida, making the unprecedented argument that nature has legal rights, too.

In November 2020, voters in Orange County, Florida, USA, approved a charter amendment to “protect the rights of nature” by nearly 90%.

Israel announced it would plant 450,000 urban trees by 2040.

A 50-kilometers stretch of the Netherlands’ Meuse River is part of a radical rewilding project.

Tree seedlings planted in barren ground by millions of volunteers two decades ago led to a 22% increase in Nepal’s forest cover since 1988

Seven trees are regenerated for every one that is cut down in Costa Rica. 

Nearly two thirds of Stuttgart, Germany — a total of 207 square kilometers, inhabited by more than 630,000 people — is green space, and nearly half of that is forest. 

In the US, a Kansas City nonprofit that cleans up dump sites by planting orchards and gardens has spread to ten other cities and planted some 330 orchards.

The nest of a titipounamu was found in Wellington, New Zealand after the native bird species hadn’t been seen in the city for over 100 years.

The number of endangered monarch butterflies found in Mexican forests rose by 35% from the year before.

200 rare Pinzgau goats have been born at a Vienna landfill designed to support biodiversity.

After nearly vanishing in the 1970s, there are now more than 500 California condors in the US and Mexico. 

More than 121 million observations have been posted on the app iNaturalist by nature lovers — and more than 66 million of these were classified by scientists as “research-grade.” 

30 countries are members of Promote Pollinators, a coalition to share knowledge about protecting and conserving pollinating insects

. . .

Reasons to be Cheerful turned three years old, with 766 stories to give you hope from all corners of the world. 

Reasons to be Cheerful is a non-profit editorial project that is part magazine, part therapy session, part blueprint for a better world.

→ Source: The Year in

Twitter thread with good climate news
by Assaad Razzouk, “The Angry Clean Energy Guy”, author of “Saving the Planet Without the Bullshit”

“Climate anxiety is real, and distress related to climate impacts is widespread. When in need of positive climate action news, this Twitter thread, organized by week, compiles uplifting “good climate news this week” and runs for 3 years.”

29 November 2022

150 nations to cut methane 30% by 2030

Australian court blocks new huge coal mine

Australian gas power plants to shut down 10 years earlier than scheduled

London extends ultra low emissions zone

EU approves €380m for 168 new climate projects

21 November 2022

Lula: zero Amazon deforestation by 2030 

EU ups 2030 emissions cut to 57%

Vietnam gets $11b to exit coal

China to curb methane emissions

UK: £6b for energy efficiency

US DOE in $350m for storage

UN agrees climate fund for poorer countries 

15 November 2022

Democrats keep US Senate

French parking lots to be covered by solar

Canada to cut methane emissions 75% by 2030

Corporates to buy $12b of green steel, aluminum

US, Japan offer $20b for Indonesia to exit coal

Green-farming gets $8b boost

7 November 2022

Lula wins, Amazon gets fighting chance

Lower Saxony ups solar 10X

France to plant 1 billion trees by 2030

Germany renews unlimited tickets for buses, trains

GM 100% renewables by 2025

Chicago divests fossil fuels

Xcel to retire 1GW coal plant

31 October 2022

EU deal: 100% zero emission vehicles by 2035

Scope 3 emissions mandatory in company reporting

Australia joins methane pledge

Green steel firm secures €3.5b financing

Apple steps up supply chain emissions cuts

Shell loses Dutch ad appeal


The breakthrough effect

Report about positive tipping points

Jesper Løvenbalk Hansen from the Danish newspaper information wrote in a newsletter:
“In this report, the researchers use the term tipping point to describe a situation where development in one area – for example electrification of transport – leads to rapid development in other areas, for example battery development, which in turn will speed up other sectors in transition.

“A tipping point in this context occurs when a CO₂-free solution to a problem gets so far in its development that it can compete with the old solutions. If that happens, self-reinforcing mechanisms will arise which create an exponential development of the new CO₂-free solution, while the old solutions are completely displaced.”

The researchers point to three areas where the development in the near future may occur with such force that it is a definite paradigm shift that will also have major positive consequences for other parts of the green transition.

The three areas are respectively the sale of electric cars, the use of green ammonia as fertiliser in agriculture and the investment in the development of plant-based proteins.

“Changes within those areas can set in motion a whole cascade of tipping points,” write the researchers, who mention as examples that the development of the electric car market will also benefit the electrification of society in general, because we are getting more and better batteries, just like the political pressure for the use of green ammonia as fertiliser will also benefit the development of green hydrogen, as it is the same electrolysis process, and therefore it will also cause a boost to the development that is necessary to restructure air and ship traffic as well as heavy industry.

The researchers behind the report believe that the development within an area can reach a point from which it will become the dominant solution. And when that point is reached, it will lead to positive developments in other areas. As when wind and solar energy become the preferred solution for producing electricity (instead of coal power), and this enables the development of other areas – for example heat pumps.

“One tipping point that has already been passed is within the electricity sector, where solar and wind accounted for 75 percent of all new energy in 2022,” the report states.

Another and completely new example of a politically created tipping point could be the EU’s new requirement for zero sales of petrol and diesel cars from 2035. This will mean an almost definitive phasing out of the internal combustion engine.

So hopefully we can expect sudden accelerations in the green transition, as the new technologies and solutions take over.”

An excerpt from the report:

“The world is heading towards a series of climatic tipping points that risk causing irreversible damage to our planetary life-support systems. It is a hard reality that the world remains off-track for meeting our climate targets, with global temperatures already 1.2°C above pre-industrial levels and no credible pathway to limiting temperature increase to below 1.5°C based on current national commitments. As recent evidence shows, we are now approaching thresholds – or tipping points – in multiple bio-physical systems that risk locking us into self-perpetuating climate change, i.e., change that will no longer be driven solely by our emissions, but also by irreversible processes we have set in motion. Five of these tipping points are possible at the current level of warming, including the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet and abrupt permafrost thaw. It is therefore crucial to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible to stay within safe planetary boundaries. Progress to date has been limited, with annual global emissions increasing again in 2022 to their highest levels ever.

Yet in the face of these negative climatic tipping points, positive socio-economic tipping points offer
an opportunity to rapidly increase the deployment of zero-emission solutions and drastically cut global
emissions. Socio-economic tipping points arise when a set of conditions are reached that allow new technologies or practices to out-compete incumbents.

After a tipping point is crossed, reinforcing feedback loops that drive self-accelerating progress are strengthened, and balancing feedback loops that resist change are weakened. Greater deployment of the solution brings improvements, prompting even more deployment. Learning by doing improves performance, economies of scale reduce costs, and the spread of new social norms increase acceptability. Producers, consumers, and investors move decisively towards the new solution, whose market share grows exponentially (up the slope of the ‘S-curve’ of adoption). Across many sectors of the economy, there is potential to cross tipping points, accelerating the deployment of zero-emission solutions. Triggering socioeconomic tipping points alone will not be sufficient to reach global climate objectives, but it offers a powerful lever to accelerate the transition to a lowcarbon economy and limit global warming.

Multiple historical examples of rapid technological transitions prove that new solutions can take over
a market in just a few decades. In several cases, a rapid increase in deployment took place after
some threshold of relative affordability was passed (e.g., UK coal to gas switch). The switch is also
often supported by the new solution being more attractive to customers for non-cost reasons (e.g.,
household central heating systems offering benefits in health/safety and convenience in the US; cultural
attitudes towards eating meat prompting the rise of vegetarian/flexitarian diets in Europe) or if accessibility is widespread (e.g., public charging station build out supported EV adoption in Norway).

A first tipping point has already been
crossed in the electricity sector and
one is very close in road transport

In 2021, solar and wind were the cheapest sources of new power in countries representing 90% of electricity generation. The clear cost competitiveness of renewables has led to a large ramp up in deployment, with solar and wind accounting for >75% of total new capacity additions globally last year. Similarly, electric vehicle sales are scaling up rapidly in leading markets, even while still 2-4 years ahead of sticker price parity with internal combustion vehicles. The market is already adjusting to this future reality and in some geographies, such as Norway, the tipping point has been brought forward by electric vehicle subsidies.

While reaching a tipping point results in reinforcing feedback loops becoming the core driver of the system’s behaviour, the pace of the transition cannot be taken for granted. For example, in the power sector the transition can be slowed by obstacles in planning and permitting for renewable power and electricity network build-out, continued opposition from vested interests, legitimate concerns about the socio-economic consequences of the transition, and temporary constraints in the supply chains of critical minerals or components. These can be thought of as dampeners that can reduce the slope of the S-curve. Crossing the tipping point is vital as beyond this point incentives re-align behind the new solution, but enablers are still required after it is crossed to achieve a rapid transition. In this report we focus on elements required to reach the tipping points, flip the incentives in favour of the low-carbon solution, and unlock reinforcing feedback loops as a dominant market force.”

→ Read the report: The Breakthrough Effect: how tipping points can accelerate net zero


We have more work to do

The State of Climate Action: Bright spots and hard truths

According to The State of Climate Action 2022 report, the world needs to:

· Phase out unabated coal in electricity generation 6 times faster 

· Reduce the annual rate of deforestation 2.5 times faster

· Increase the share of electric vehicle passenger car sales 5 times faster 

· Lower per capita consumption of meat from cows, goats, and sheep 5 times faster in the Americas, Europe, and Oceania (Australia)

· Scale-up global climate finance more than 10 times faster

The hard truth is that getting on track to limit warming to 1.5°C will require an enormous acceleration of effort across all sectors. 
Read more

“I can sum up the solution to climate change in two sentences: We need to eliminate global emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050. Extreme weather is already causing more suffering, and if we don’t get to net-zero emissions, our grandchildren will grow up in a world that is dramatically worse off. I can sum up the challenge in two sentences: Getting to zero will be the hardest thing humans have ever done. We need to revolutionize the entire physical economy—how we make things, move around, produce electricity, grow food, and stay warm and cool—in less than three decades.”
~ Bill Gates, in his 2023 new year blogpost, ‘The future our grandchildren deserve’

…meanwhile, on Twitter…

→ The Age – 11 December 2022:
Under the weather: the Bureau of Meteorology’s terrible, horrible, very bad, no good year
“In the year to July, the bureau issued more than 5800 flood watches and warnings, triple its yearly average. By the time the summer floods receded across NSW, nine lives had been lost. Nationally, to November more than 250,000 insurance claims were made due to flooding.”

→ Anthropocene Magazine – 19 January 2023:
Concentrated sunlight puts cheap solar hydrogen within reach
“Engineers have made a device one-hundredth the size of previous solar-to-hydrogen devices that is over three times more efficient.”

50 Ways To Save The World

“Humanity is about to face its biggest challenge yet. During the next few decades, we will see planetary karma on a scale never witnessed before as the bill arrives for our century of climate crimes. If we do nothing, this catastrophe has the potential to topple civilisation, wipe out ecosystems, and even kill millions. Fortunately, we humans are incredibly ingenious and are now starting to create technologies that can fend off such an Armageddon. But will this be enough?

Hi, I’m Will. I’m an independent climate technology journalist, so I have written about countless technologies that claim to “save the world.” While none of them are silver bullets for ending climate change, and many flat-out won’t help, some do have a chance at making a vast impact in our efforts to repent and avoid this apocalypse. In this book, we will look at fifty of these astonishing technologies, from the simple yet effective to the high-tech and even the brave. Come with me on a remarkable journey as we find out how we can save the planet from ourselves.”
~ Will Lockett, journalist passionate about cutting edge technology, space and fighting climate change.

→ Medium – 26 February 2023:
MIT May Have Just Developed The Ultimate Climate Technology
“Capturing carbon from the ocean could be our future.”

100 climate policy breakthroughs

“Can we be optimistic about the climate crisis? There is no doubt that the challenge is huge and the timeline is short. But amidst the heat records and dry river beds, there is hope. Governments and communities are stepping up to the challenge. Bright, bold and brilliant policies are breaking the negative trends.

This list of 100 climate policy breakthroughs celebrates them.

As we find new approaches to tackling the climate crisis, we also find new ways to understand the challenge. The methodology for the 2023 list reflects this evolving understanding. This year we’re looking beyond carbon emissions to see the bigger picture. We’re especially excited by a blossoming of nature-based solutions, transition finance and climate democracy.”

→