5 good news stories about climate change

It’s giving optimism.

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1. Solar installations are way up in the U.K.

The price of solar panels has been precipitously declining in recent years, with drop-offs so steep that you’d likely be caught off guard if you haven’t been paying attention to them. That’s great news because demand is way up, too. The result is exactly what is happening in the United Kingdom right now: an unprecedented rise in solar installations.

According to the trade association Solar Energy UK, there are about 3,000 solar installations happening every single week across the country right now. That’s three times what it was just two years earlier. The reason for that is the intersection of growing demand and shrinking costs, and the benefit is significant: Homes across the U.K. are saving nearly $1,000 per year by switching, and cutting down on carbon emissions to boot.

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2. A massive amount of clean energy projects are expected in the U.S.

The Inflation Reduction Act sets aside $370 billion in incentives to individuals and businesses to go green. According to the research firm Energy Innovation, those credits will double the country’s capacity for wind and solar power by the end of the decade. The analysis projects that the U.S. could see its solar and wind capacity increase to as much as 1,053 gigawatts by 2030, which could account for up to 85% of total electricity production.

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3. Washington joined California in banning gas cars by 2035.

Sometimes all it takes is one domino to fall, and it looks like California might just have been the first domino in the shift away from gas-guzzling vehicles. Washington announced that it too will ban combustion engine vehicles by 2035.

The move shouldn’t come as too much of a shock, as Washington lawmakers previously made it their goal to phase out the sale of gas-powered cars by 2030. But that was always just a goal — it never had legislation behind it. Now, the state will solidify its plan and make major progress toward its benchmarks of reducing vehicle emissions by 68% by the start of the next decade.

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4. The EPA is battling “forever chemicals.”

Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are everywhere, including in our drinking water. These so-called “forever chemicals” can have all sorts of long-term health effects. That’s why the Environmental Protection Agency has created new accountability for PFAS polluters. Under the change, PFAS will get labeled as “hazardous substances.” This will give the EPA the ability to declare an area uninhabitable because of PFAS and initiate a cleanup, as well as penalize polluters.

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5. Clean energy policies are more popular than you think.

A new study published in the journal Nature found that most Americans underestimate just how popular climate-related policies actually are.

According to the study, between 80-90% of people think climate change policy is less popular than it actually is, with most believing that less than half the country supports cutting carbon emissions and adopting clean energy solutions. In reality, anywhere from two-thirds to 80% of people support these policies. If Americans just recognize the power in numbers that they have, real, large-scale change might follow.

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