The Future of Climate Change: 5 Highlights of February 2021

March 2, 2021
Avely Pütsep

“Future of Climate Change” is a monthly series: we choose 5 beautiful things that shaped the future of climate action and ecosystem protection 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, and everything in between. 🌿

Plus, there’s so much happening, we just had to include a Biodiversity Bonus at the end.

So... what happened in February?

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Renewables Pulled Ahead of Coal

Let’s start off with a bang: renewable energy passed coal in electricity generation in the US!

It’s possible because of the low cost of wind and solar power combined with the steady performance of hydroelectric power. Renewables have been on a rise since 2019, but 2020 was the first year renewables came out ahead in seven of 12 months. They also passed nuclear, although nuclear plant output has been fairly steady in recent years.

It is important to mark that gas still remains the leader leaving renewables behind. Natural gas, which rose again in 2020 and is now far ahead of all other energy sources. Nevertheless, renewables leaving coal behind gives hope for a better and greener future.

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The Maldives banned single-use plastic

It is amazing to see countries’ efforts to move in the direction of less single-use plastic.

The Maldives are paving the way. Each year, a staggering 636 million pounds of garbage is produced by tourists and residents. The Maldives took initiative to be free of single-use plastic by 2023 and is the first country to ban single-use plastic in an effort to end pollution there.

It is made up of 1100 islands, and one of them is already leading by example. By cutting out all single-use plastic water bottles and delivering water in reusable glass ones, they’ve reduced 6 daily pounds of garbage per person to just 0,5 pounds!

The Maldives is also struggling with ocean currents filling the beaches with plastic from nearby countries. It’s a clear sign of a global problem: extensive plastic use with no good solution for either recycling or cutting the use of plastic down entirely.  

“Us doing it is not going to save the planet. We can only be an example. We can die knowing we did the right thing.” said Mohamed Nasheed, former president of the Maldives.

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The Empire State Building now powered by wind

The iconic Empire State Building that’s been the crown jewel of Manhattan since the early 1930s is now a game-changer in a different way: it shows that even buildings like that can be completely powered by renewable energy.

New York’s Empire State Building is now 100% powered by wind energy, after the property manager and Green Mountain Energy signed the three-year contract. It said the contract will save emissions equivalent to taking all New York taxis off the street for one year.

The beloved landmark along with 13 other related buildings is now powered by wind, making it a green new year for the 15,000 people working inside. 🌿

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Musk gives $100M to companies who tackle carbon reduction

Elon Musk is a man who nowadays needs no introduction as he’s known worldwide for his crazy ideas. Sometimes crazy and genius are only separated by a thin line.

His latest idea? Give $100M away to companies who figure out how to gigaton scale carbon removal.

How? “XPRIZE Carbon Removal is aimed at tackling the biggest threat facing humanity — fighting climate change and rebalancing Earth’s carbon cycle. Funded by Elon Musk and the Musk Foundation, this $100M competition is the largest incentive prize in history, an extraordinary milestone.”

... Wow!

The competition has been announced but hasn’t started. Team registration opens with the announcement of the full competition guidelines on Earth Day April 22nd, 2021, and lasts 4 years, ending on Earth Day 2025.

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Source: The Rainforest Site

New whale species, rhino poaching halted, rainbow octopuses, and many more

February has been a spectacular month! We found so much cool news on animals we had to make a whole different blog post!

Check out “Mind-blowing animal news from recent years” to find out:

Which animals are back in Argentina’s wetlands after 70 years?

A deer species the size of what animal was discovered? Hint: they’re SMALL!

Rare rainbow-colored octopuses were sighted

& so much more!

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Biodiversity Bonus!

Author note about the “Future of Climate Change” series: climate change 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?

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