September 5, 2016
Ahead of the Curve
Just 9 months ago, we joined thousands of activists, citizens, world leaders, and many more in Paris for the UN Climate Summit (COP21). Thanks to a growing grassroots movement, our global community took a huge step forward in the fight against climate change by solidifying a deal to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees C – because our planet, like ice cream, doesn’t do well with heat.
Although 196 countries brought commitments to the table and signed the agreements. Four of them are already digging into their 2030 targets well ahead of schedule:
Croatia – People Powered
With an amazing recent victory coming in the form of the cancellation of a massive proposed coal plant, Croatia is feeling the heat of grassroots activism. Friends of the Earth, a local campaigning group, spent five years pushing to halt the project and focus more on renewable energy, after the victory stating: “We now need to make up for lost time and ensure that Croatia develops a new strategy based on energy efficiency and sustainable renewables."
This is just one of many examples of people-powered grassroots movements driving action on climate.
While their overall success was also somewhat due to economic struggles, the nation has already achieved their carbon reduction goals for 2030. They should be able to keep up the momentum, with great wind and solar potential in the country.
Portugal – Leading the Charge
Portugal isn’t new to making waves on climate action. Back in May, they made headlines when the country ran on renewable energy for over four days straight. With a strong backbone of wind power, combined with other renewable sources, the country has surpassed its 2030 goals, and has seen as much as 63% of energy supply come from renewables in 2014. Overall, their energy mix is resilient due to its diversity, including wind, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal, wave, and biogas power.
As a nation with not only loads of coastal towns, but a booming tourism industry that could be under threat due to sea level rise, they are choosing the right path forward on this issue.
As it stands, they are a great proving ground for the success of leveraging the right energy mix to support reliable renewable energy.
Romania – Europe’s Finest
The crown jewel in Romania’s climate fighting crown is the Fântânele-Cogealac Wind Farm. A true feather in their cap – this is the largest on-shore wind farm in all of Europe, much to the disappointment of Scotland, which previously held the record.
This wind farm, comprised of 2,700 acres and 240 turbines, plays a big part in Romania achieving their carbon reduction goals. When churning at full speed, the farm can put out 600 megawatts, enought to power about 600,000 homes.
They aren’t stopping there, either. They have committed to the Paris Climate Agreement, and are well into their National Climate Change Strategy, which will guide them to meet their carbon reduction goals in the short term.
Hungary – Leading the Pack
President Janos Ander has led Hungary as an unlikely climate leader. His country was the first to ratify the Paris Climate Agreement, and they are quickly adopting new ways to cut their carbon emissions.
Better yet, he has used his first-to-the-punch reputation to pressure major polluters to act. The head of his environmental sustainability directorate stated, “We suggested to the 10 top emitters they should speed up the implementation of the Paris Agreement, and it might make sense for those states to go ahead and start ratcheting up,”.
Work to Be Done
While the successes of these countries are remarkable, there is still work to be done. These nations are a smaller slice of the global carbon output – while they are proving a renewable energy future is possible, we must keep pressure on world leaders to implement innovative solutions to achieving their climate action goals on time.
Sign the petition telling world leaders you support a transition to 100% clean energy by 2050 – because if it’s melted, it’s ruined!
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