On Nature: Good Environmental News

David Voigts.

At the start of the year, it is good to reflect on the past year. While there were many environmental challenges during 2023, there were also some successes. Most notable were the outcomes from the COP23 climate summit. For the first time, the countries called for a transition away from fossil fuels in order to meet the goal of limiting the global increase of temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius. They also called on the oil and gas companies to cut methane leaks, a potent greenhouse gas, and several agreed.

In other good news, according to the Citizen Climate Lobby, last year America’s climate pollution fell by 2-3% and is now 18-19% below 2005 levels. The European Union did even better, declining by about 6-7% in 2023. Even China is deploying solar panels and wind turbines at a rate that should displace some fossil fuel consumption and reduce their carbon emissions.

There was also good news coming from Congress. Several bills would combat climate change, and the reauthorization of the farm bill addresses the long-term health of our soil, water, and climate. Another bill currently in consideration is the Restoring America’s Wildlife Act that aims to keep wildlife from becoming endangered.

David Voigts is a retired ecologist and the current Conservation Chair for the Prairie Rapids Audubon Society. He is a Tama County native, graduating from Dinsdale High School, and lives in rural Jesup on his wife’s family farm.