Climate change is scary and it is sometimes difficult to find hope in such an often disheartening fight. However, there’s plenty to be hopeful about what’s happened this past year. Here’s a look back at five big climate wins of 2021 to bring some climate hope into the new year!
1. Activists Win Over Shell
The big oil and gas company, Shell, has lost in more ways than one this year. For one, a Dutch court ordered the company to cut its emissions by 45% from 2019 levels by 2030, setting a monumental precedent. The company also settled to pay $111 million to a community in Nigeria called Ejama-Ebubu as reparations for a 1970 oil spill. In a huge victory for UK youth activists, Shell recently announced that it would halt drilling in Cambo, an oilfield off the coast of Scotland.
2. Keystone XL Pipeline Cancelled
The large pipeline which would have stretched from Alberta, Canada, into Minnesota in the United States. After months of hard-fought protests and negotiations, President Biden finally blocked a key presidential permit needed to complete the construction of the pipeline. The cancelation of such pipelines means safety from the risk of further water contamination in the area.
3. Hundreds of Thousands of Youth Stood Against World Officials
At this year’s annual United Nations world climate summit, young people took a giant stand against officials around the world for their utter lack of adequate climate action. In Glasgow, Scotland, where the summit took place, over a hundred thousand marched to demand better from their officials and a large portion of those marching were young people, from all different corners of the world.
4. First US Indigenous Interior Secretary
The United States appointed its first-ever Indigenous Secretary of Interior, Secretary Deb Haaland, earlier this year. The Department of Interior oversees the country’s public lands, endangered species and natural resources as well as manages relations with Indigenous governments within U.S. claimed territory. For decades the department has served as a mechanism through which to oppress and marginalize indigenous people and communities in the U.S. and the appointment of Secretary Haaland demonstrates a reclamation of the department for indigenous communities all across the country.
5. US Rejoins Global Climate Negotiations
The United States officially rejoined the 2015 Paris Accord, an intergovernmental agreement to commit to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Following its rejoining, President Biden and other U.S. climate officials joined other world leaders in Glasgow, Scotland, for COP26, the annual United Nations world conference on climate, and began re-entered into world negotiations for climate mitigation.
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