Two things this week are giving us cause for optimism when it comes to tackling climate change - and it’s only Tuesday!

Cause for optimism

Ann Noon

A new analysis published in the journal Nature Geoscience indicates that the ambitious aim of limiting global warming to less than 1.5C about pre-industrial levels remains in reach.  The latest data shows that the global carbon emissions budget to meet the 1.5C goal is equivalent to 20 years of current annual emissions.

According to one of the report authors, Professor Michael Grubb, carbon emissions have stopped growing sooner than expected, especially in China, and renewable energy costs are continuing to fall quickly.

Of course we shouldn’t underestimate the challenge that still lies ahead but if UN member states not only deliver on but also ratchet up the commitments they made under the Paris Agreement in 2015, there is the potential for sharp cuts in carbon emissions to become a reality.

It’s Climate Week in New York this week and we’re getting behind a big new campaign, #ClimateOptimist, which is aiming to change the dominant narrative on climate change. 

A new survey, carried out as part of the campaign, has found that a majority of people globally are optimistic about our ability to address climate change, with 64 percent of global citizens believing we can address climate change if we take action now.  The survey was conducted by global market research firm Ipsos on behalf of non-profit organisation The Climate Group and change agency Futerra, and polled online adults aged 16-64 in 26 countries.

The survey found that people in emerging economies are especially likely to feel positive about solving climate change, with 71 percent of these respondents believing we can address it if we take action now, compared to only 59 percent in established economies. Countries with high numbers of optimists include Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Mexico, India, Peru and South Africa.

Ashden’s Director of Programmes Giles Bristow, who is attending Climate Week, said: “We’re climate optimists at Ashden because we see on a daily basis how our incredible network of Award winners – each and every one a sustainable energy trail blazer – are leading the way to a thriving low-carbon future.”

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