As we ease into February with our resolutions still in hand (for some of us, at least!), let us welcome 2024 as a year of hope in our ongoing battle against fossil fuels.
In 2023, we witnessed the hottest year in 174 years of climate record-keeping, and regrettably, this alarming trend is anticipated to endure into the current year. This underscores the pressing need for our collective commitment to climate justice and coordinated action, now more imperative than ever.
But the news is not all bad; there is plenty to be optimistic about. Historically, each passing year has seen an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, leading to disheartening headlines about “record emissions”. However, there is a good chance that emissions will finally begin to decline in 2024. Moreover, following the COP28 summit in Dubai, 2024 is also slated to be THE year for financing the transition to renewable energy. This means more money into renewables and less towards fossil fuels! Last but not least, 2024 marks the greatest time ever for global elections, with over 60 countries or half the world’s population (4 billion people!), heading to the polls. The outcomes from these elections will shape the global narrative on climate action policies for the next decade. It’s time to vote conscientiously for the people and the planet!
In this crucial year for climate action, 350.org’s focus sharpens on climate solutions. As we navigate this new, more hopeful era, our goal with this newsletter is to highlight community-driven, sustainable solutions driven by our collective efforts while steering clear of false solutions and dangerous distractions.
With that, I, Mallika Singhal, am thrilled to step into the role of your newsletter curator. Having worked in social impact NGOs, international organizations, and the private sector, I bring with me a background in policymaking and social justice. But more importantly, I come armed with a deep-rooted commitment to making our planet safe and healthy for us and our future generations. And so, I am very excited to go on this journey into 2024 with renewed energy and burning optimism (pun intended indeed!).
Warm regards with green solidarity,
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In Case You Missed It
Demanding Accountability from Energy Companies
We start the year with encouraging developments in France, where the Parliament has embarked on a significant six-month inquiry against Total Energies, a fossil fuel giant. Commencing on January 17, this Inquiry is poised to scrutinize Total Energies’ climate compliance, investigate key figures associated with the company, and shed light on questionable climate activities it has been involved in.
This whole development comes right after we took a peek at the Total report by Multinationals Observatory and our team at 350 in last month’s newsletter. We also dropped an academic paper in 2019 exposing how Total hid the impact of their climate activities. Now, we are teaming up with Green senator Yannick Jadot who’s leading this Inquiry. It’s time to hold these energy companies accountable!
But that’s not all. Just last month, Crédit Agricole, a major French bank, announced that it is ending its investments in all new fossil fuel projects. And you know why? Because of the hard work of hundreds of activists and civil society organizations. People-power is no joke – it’s making a real impact! It looks like the end of the fossil fuel era is on the horizon for France, and we’re not letting up. We’re still pushing for banks and energy companies to step up, take responsibility, and stick to their climate promises.
Wind of Change: How Uruguay’s Political Will Powered a 100% Renewable Energy Shift
Uruguay emerges as a compelling and hope-fueled case study, showing us that a 100% transition to renewable energy is possible. This small South American nation has shifted to wind power (which now constitutes 98% of its electricity output) in fifteen years.
How did this happen?! The answer is simple – sheer political will. In response to impossibly high fossil fuel prices in 2008, then-President Tabaré Vázquez enlisted physicist Ramón Méndez Galain to implement a strategy opting for renewables over nuclear power. Within a mere fifteen years, Uruguay implemented 50 wind farms, generating thousands of jobs. What’s more, making people realize that renewables are cheaper than and not subject to price fluctuations like fossil fuels, the implementation was a roaring success! The country also managed to reduce its poverty rate from 40% to 10% within the same period.
I would call that a win-win! And more importantly, a reminder to our leaders that a complete fossil fuel phase out isn’t just a pipe dream.
Power Up Asia: Reflections on our spirit of unity and solidarity
As we gear up to 2024, let’s also take a moment to reminisce about the incredible happenings from the second half of 2023.
Citizens and activists came together for a global month of action with the mighty force of “Power Up.” This movement, spreading its wings across 63 countries, brought diverse communities together to send a powerful message to leaders: let’s ditch fossil fuels and embrace a future powered by renewable energy for everyone, all while promoting peace and equity.
Our photo essay is a heartfelt attempt to capture the unity, empathy, and rock-solid determination showcased by people and communities in and across Asia. They all come from different walks of life but are united by the same goal. Take a look:
One to Watch
This year we want to turn the fossil fuel industry obsolete and build a world that has solutions that benefit all of us – a world powered by the sun, wind, and people. Now, more than ever, we need you to send fossil fuels into the black hole of history and build a world of community-led renewable energy for all. Get inspired by our latest video on the power of people & communities, the power of you and the power of hope- we can do it and we will do it!
Use Your Power
Skill Up Your Activism
Hot off the press! The International Energy Agency (IEA) just dropped its report containing expert data that supports what we have been saying – a fair and rapid shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy is well within our grasp. Here’s a quick lowdown:
- 100% Renewable Energy is on the Horizon: This is no small feat because by achieving this we could slash CO2 emissions by a whopping 35%.
- Farewell Fossil Fuels: The report predicts that renewable energy and energy efficiency will be the architects of the demise of the fossil fuel era, with people and communities like us taking the lead on solutions.
- Economic Sense of Solar and Wind: Solar and wind power costs have hit a sweet spot, making them way cheaper than fossil fuels.
- Follow the Money for a Just Transition: Now, the crucial part – money and funds need to flow from the Global North to the Global South to make this transition happen!
So use this report as a springboard to tell those renewable energy skeptics that they don’t know what they are talking about. Because you do and now you have the data to back it up!
Quote of the month
“There is still time to turn things around. But only if we take action now.”
– Jane Goodall, prolific environmentalist, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on January 16, 2024.
IN OTHER NEWS
- Climate Cost of Militaries Can No Longer be Ignored
- Climate Finance Is Not at the Top of the Agenda during World Economic Forum 2024
- UN announces its 1st International Day of Clean Energy