Here are Some Reasons for Climate Optimism!
In Virginia for example, lawmakers are working together - Democrat and Republican - without the usual rhetoric and bickering that politicians usually have. The reason is that flooding is getting worse in Virginia, people need to come together to combat this, and they are - Republicans can no longer ignore Climate Change.
Virginia has the world's largest Naval base - and also the most flood risk of any state on the east coast of the US. In fact it is so bad in the city of Norfolk, that the city gets flooding every time the moon is full. Sea levels in this area have risen 14 inches compared to 1939, which is extraordinary. But the citizens of Virginia are doing something about it - they are all working together, and that is a positive sign in the fight against Climate Change.
Virginia of course is not the only coastal state. Many parts of the US coast will have flood issues - can the lawmakers in these other states come together and work on these issues? Only time will tell.
The US Military recognized Climate Change and is carefully studying the effects of Global Warming on US security. This is a prudent action and shows that that the US Military has the right focus.
Another encouraging development is the launch of the Nasa Satellite OCO-2. This was first tried in 2009 and failed; so they built another one and successfully launched it into space today. It will orbit the Earth, 438 miles high, and study the climate and the effects of CO2. OCO-2 will cover over 80% of the Earths surface and this will give NASA considerably more information about Climate Change, and its effects. About half of the CO2 we dump into the atmosphere is absorbed by the Oceans and by tree's; OCO-2 will study this. It is unknown at this time just how much CO2 the oceans and trees can absorb, and what those effects will be; it is believe that this absorbed CO2 is already affecting ocean life, creating extinctions, reduction of Coral reefs, rising temperatures, and rising acidity in the ocean.
Corporate leaders are starting to change. Apple in particular is prioritizing the use of renewable energy, under the leadership of Tim Cook. This is impressive. Other companies like Amazon continue to disappoint, with no apparent concern for the climate.
Polls show that more and more Americans are starting to understand and believe in Man Made Global Warming, both Democrats and Republicans. (The polls show that Tea party Republicans have the least understanding of Climate Change of any group).
More USA news: President Barack Obama has put stricter controls on the emissions of coal plants. Coal is one of the biggest drivers of ManMade Global Warming in the US. Congress refused to act, but President Obama came through.
China has finally agreed to put a cap on CO2 emissions, starting in 2016. This was reported by He Jiankun, Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Climate Change in China. The US and China are the two largest producers of CO2 and other damaging Greenouse gases.
Germany continues to impress. They have a large solar infrastructure - the largest int he world, despite less sunlight than many countries. Germany also has a goal to get rid of all nuclear power by 2022 - and they recently announced this goal will be achieved even sooner than that! Sweden, Italy, and Belgium have also sworn off of Nuclear power, and Austria and Spain are moving in that direction also. Nuclear plants are a unique situation and are symbolic; their pollution is in the form for radioactive waste - but removing them and replacing them with renewables helps the environment. Its symbolic, and that is important.
Smaller nations like the Caribbean nations of Antigua and Barbuda, Samoa, Grenada, and others are banding together to provide help and support. Natural disasters like a bad Hurricane can destroy much of the economy in one of these small nations; Climate Change represents a big risk. The world should come to the aid of these small nations as needed. They have formed a group called Small Island Developing States (SIDS). One big issues in the area is that these smaller nations are already heavily indebted, due to dealing with past disasters. This limits their ability to respond to future disasters.
Some smaller countries are even considering buying land, to move their people if need be. The Maldives are considering this, and the people of Kiribati have done so: they bought some land in Fiji. Kiribati are a people of 110,000 who live on 33 low-lying islands. Sea-level rise threatens their entire homeland. They are making plans and that shows responsibility and a strong understanding of the environment. The Kiribati have a program called 'Migration with Dignity', and it is their goal to deal with this now, rather than requiring a massive evacuation later.
For these small island countries, reducing CO2 is not the issue; Climate Change is already here and they have to deal with it.