Why not start the decade on a high note? Yesterday, we made three optimistic climate predictions for 2020 and today we’re highlighting stories that suggest the 20’s might be a decade of climate action. Britain’s energy sector saw a changing of the guard as zero-carbon sources surpassed fossil fuels in 2019.

Zero-carbon energy outstrips fossil fuels in Britain across 2019

By Julia Kollewe, The Guardian, January 1, 2020

  • Zero-carbon energy sources delivered 48.5% of Britain’s electricity in 2019, surpassing fossil fuels which delivered 43%.
  • The milestone comes at the halfway mark of of a goal set in 1990 to transition the United Kingdom to a net zero carbon economy by 2050. Britain also set new records in summer 2019 for stretches without using or generating coal-powered electricity.
  • Britain’s offshore windfarms have proven effective during blustery winter weather, generating up to “45% of the UK’s electricity on one day.”

Trump administration says it will approve largest U.S. solar farm

By Sammy Roth, Los Angeles Times, January 1, 2020

  • The Bureau of Land management indicated it will approve the $1-billion, 7,100 acre solar-to-storage Gemini project near Las Vegas, Nevada. The 690-megawatt farm “would generate more power than the largest solar farm currently operating in United States.”
  • If approved, the project will provide clean energy to Nevadans through NV Energy, owned by billionaire Warren Buffett, and bring the state closer to its “goal of 100% zero-carbon electricity by 2050.”
  • Conservation groups including Sierra Club, National Parks Conservation Association and Defenders of Wildlife have raised concerns that Gemini’s construction may impact local wildlife, namely desert tortoises.

Indonesia’s top court bars plantation activity in protected forests

Reporting by Stanley Widianto and Fransiska Nangoy, editing by Clarence Fernandez, Reuters, December 31, 2019

  • Indonesia’s Supreme Court ruled to remove a clause from a regulation that allowed palm oil plantations to operate in protected forests. “Indonesia is the world’s biggest palm oil producer, with about 12 million hectares (46,000 square miles) of palm plantations.”
  • According to the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), palm oil accounted for 39% of forest loss in Borneo between 200-2018.
  • The clause prevented law enforcement from removing palm oil plantations from protected lands.

Feature photo by Shaun Dakin on Unsplash.