The Future of Climate Change: 5 Highlights in February 2022

Climate Change
January 31, 2022
Avely Pütsep

“The Future of Climate Change” is a monthly series: we choose 5 beautiful things that shaped the future of climate action in the past month.

If it makes the world a better place, we want to talk about it.

News on halting biodiversity loss, reducing carbon footprints, becoming carbon neutral, cleantech innovations, climate change solutions, and everything in between. 🌿

Plus! When you start looking, you’ll notice so much good happening. That’s why we had to include a Biodiversity & Sustainability bonus at the end!

So, what is the good climate news in January 2022?

Greenland permanently bans all oil and gas exploration

What a way to start the year -- Greenland announced it is permanently halting all new oil and gas exploration!

Many potentially significant oil reserves were discovered in Greenland. Instead of digging, the government made a decision based on humankind's future, not financial gains.

“The future does not lie in oil. The future belongs to renewable energy, and in that respect, we have much more to gain,” commented the government.

In addition to oil and gas bans, Greenland has introduced plans to halt uranium usage: its investigation, exploration, and extraction.

Go on, Greenland!

A pristine coral reef discovered off Tahiti, French Polynesia

As a part of UNESCO’s ocean mapping initiative, a huge coral reef was discovered off the coast of Tahiti!

This reef is special as it's 30m below the surface and, therefore, more protected. Most reefs sit in shallow water so they're more impacted by rising ocean temperatures, which often lead to coral bleaching.

This discovery gives hope that there are even more deep reefs out there than previously thought! They could be crucial in offering refuge for fish species.

“It was magical to witness giant, beautiful rose corals which stretch for as far as the eye can see. It was like a work of art,” said Alexis Rosenfeld, a photographer part of the Unesco-led expedition.

This finding is vital for research as coral reefs are an important food source and home to many organisms -- researching coral reefs can teach us a lot about biodiversity.

Let’s hope there are many healthy coral reefs still to discover.

Once again a study revealed the climate benefits of a veggie diet

Yet another study proving cutting meat out of your diet will be good for the planet.

That’s according to the study “Dietary change in high-income nations alone can lead to substantial double climate dividend" from Leiden University, Netherlands. The study looked closely at if high-income countries would adopt a plant-based diet.

The calculations show that switching to a veggie diet would reduce agricultural emissions by 61%.

“It’s a remarkable opportunity for climate mitigation. It would also have massive benefits for water quality, biodiversity, air pollution and access to nature, to name just a few.” said the university’s Paul Behrens.

Have you discovered the veggie diet for yourself already?

England farmers to be paid to rewild their farms

The British government is planning a big rewilding initiative: to pay English farmers for rewilding their land.

The exact funding hasn’t been disclosed but the government is planning both ‘landscape recovery’ and ‘local nature recovery’ projects.

These projects are planned to include

  • Managing cast tracts of land to conserve species
  • Providing habitats for wildlife
  • Restoring health to rivers and streams
  • Planting more trees
  • Restoring peatlands and wetlands

Rare fauna like sand lizards, water woles, and curlews will be targeted

The aim is to improve the status of about half of the most threatened species in England.

“We want to see profitable farm businesses producing nutritious food and underpinning a growing rural economy, where nature is recovering and people have better access to it. Through our new schemes, we are going to work with farmers and land managers to halt the decline in species, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, increase woodland, improve water and air quality and create more space for nature,” commented George Eustice, the Secretary of State for the Environment.

Shark fishing banned in Hawaii as of January 1, 2022

Shark fishing is banned in Hawaii: the new act makes it illegal to knowingly capture, entangle, or kill a shark in Hawaii’s state waters. It applies to all shark species in Hawaiian waters.

It’s recommended for fishers to avoid fishing in areas known to be frequented by sharks (especially pupping areas) and to use barbless circle hooks. If a shark gets caught, it has to be released back into the water. There are fines in place for violations.

“Our Department is well aware of how important sharks are to maintain healthy marine ecosystems. And we recognize their importance for native Hawaiian cultural practices and beliefs,” said the Brian Neilson, Division of Aquatic Resources Administrator.

Hopefully this ban inspires other places around the world to protect marine ecosystems, as well.

List of Biodiversity News

  • 2021 was a record-breaking year for whale sightings in Puget Sound, USA.
  • The Italian government voted to ban fur farming and shut down mink farms.
  • Forest schools help children reconnect with nature and are very popular in the UK.
  • A world-first rewilding centre will open in Scotland within a year.
  • The Eurasian lynx was released into Germany's Palatinian Forest. So far 18 kittens have been recorded.  
  • A thousand fin whales were spotted near Antarctica.
  • Argentina saw the return of a very rare bird called bare-faced curassow.
  • A report highlights the importance and power of small gardens on bee pollutions.

List of Sustainability News

Author note about the “Future of Climate Change” series: the climate crisis has become an inevitable part of our everyday lives, making it easy to get lost in Doomsday thoughts. In reality, attempts to halt climate change are happening all the time. The key is to notice them. That's what this series is about. Will you come back next month to read the new one?

Oh also, did you see the beautiful 12 Positive Climate Stories from 2021?

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