The National Climate Assessment: risks, progress, and opportunities
This week, the National Climate Assessment was released, a pivotal report crafted every five years by major U.S. Federal agencies. This 2023 edition did not shy away from the stark climate risks looming over us. Yet, it's not all doom and gloom. The report underscores significant strides in climate action across the U.S. since 2018, with unexpected frontrunners like Virginia, Texas, and Florida making remarkable progress.
Even though these states are not known to implement climate mitigation efforts, these actions aren't just about environmental protection but have the potential to increase economic opportunities. Initiatives like grid expansion and energy efficiency are pivotal for a sustainable future and job creation engines in states like Nevada, Vermont, and Alaska.
A compelling takeaway from the report is the potential of a 100% renewable pathway. By 2050, this could result in a net creation of 6 million jobs, offsetting the decline in fossil fuel industry employment. It's a resounding affirmation that the clean energy economy isn't just beneficial for the environment but also for the job market.
International climate action: China and the U.S. unite
Switching to more of an international stage, the U.S. and China declared their commitment toward more renewable energy. China's pledge to set reduction targets for all greenhouse gases, not just CO2, is particularly notable.
While much of this remains symbolic, the symbolism carries weight. As the U.N.'s COP28 approaches, this collaboration between the world's largest current and historical climate polluters sends a powerful message of readiness to cooperate, potentially smoothing the path for future global climate negotiations.
This agreement between China and the U.S. didn't materialize overnight. Months of negotiations have laid a foundation of trust and relationship-building, essential for future collaborative efforts. Thus, we view this as a step in the right direction, a glimmer of hope in the ongoing battle against climate change.
1. The New York Times, "The Toll of Climate Disasters Is Rising. But a U.S. Report Has Good News, Too." https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/14/climate/biden-national-climate-assessment.html Accessed November 14, 2023
2. The New York Times, "U.S. and China Agree to Displace Fossil Fuels by Ramping Up Renewables," https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/14/climate/us-china-climate-agreement.html Accessed November 14, 2023