Three Places Changing Quickly to Fight Climate Change

Glaciers are shrinking, coral reefs are in crisis and last year was the hottest on record. Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, have passed a dangerous new threshold as people continue to burn fossil fuels. Is anyplace making progress on climate change?

The short answer is: It’s complicated, but yes.

In South America, one country has pivoted in less than a decade to generating almost all its electricity from a diverse mix of renewables. In China, an electric car that costs just $5,000 is suddenly one of the biggest sellers. Paris is transforming itself into a city of bikes.

Steps like these, taken individually, aren’t enough to avoid the most serious consequences of climate change — worsening droughts, intensified storms and human suffering. Still, they show how some places are pulling off significant local changes very quickly.

Globally, “we’re not moving as fast as we need to,” said Thomas Spencer, an analyst at the International Energy Agency. “But we definitely have the tools to go much faster.”

“Climate solutions actually do exist. They’re here now,” said Jonathan Foley, the executive director of Project Drawdown, a nonprofit organization focused on climate action.

To mark Earth Day (and to try to reach young, environmentally-minded voters) President Biden is promoting a new national program to train and employ people in climate-related jobs, and reminding voters of the clean-energy investments underway following the Inflation Reduction Act.

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