By Katie Kershman
It’s estimated that 65% of American adults are worried about global warming (Marlon, et al., 2022). As professionals engaged in improving sustainability practices, accelerating clean technologies, and working to reduce emissions, both the Brendle Group team and our clients can easily fall prey to doomism or a sense of hopelessness. We question, “Are our efforts making a difference?” At Brendle Group, we feel that the answer to this question is a resounding YES!
Below we’ve highlighted 5 reasons why we’re optimistic about our climate future.
5. Innovative technologies are transcending topic areas
Finding win-win opportunities is key to equitable solutions. We’re excited by the innovative solutions that cross functions/departments/organizations. Technologies that support alternative refrigerants, new battery technologies, plant-rich diets, and clean energy innovations can make a big difference in global emissions if they’re deployed on a large scale. According to the U.N., major institutional and technological change will give a better than even chance that global warming will not exceed critical thresholds. Check out this video series by Project Drawdown highlighting some of the most promising solutions.
4. International, Federal, and State resources are increasingly available
The climate crisis requires action greater than what market forces alone can accomplish. It is essential to enact local, federal, and international policies to drive innovation and radically change how we interact with both the natural environment and natural resources. The Biden Administration has committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2050; the recent Inflation Reduction Act is an important step for providing both funding and resources. Climate Mapping for Resilience and Adaptation (CMRA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) State Climate Summaries are two of our favorite sources for climate information.
3. Awareness and acceptance of the climate crisis is increasing
After decades of little momentum, we’re seeing broad cultural change related to awareness and acceptance of the climate crisis. According to the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, in 2021 72% of adults believed that global warming was happening. That’s compared to 59% in 2010. Awareness and acceptance rates are even more encouraging in younger demographics. And perhaps even more importantly, youth are leading the charge. Younger generations are especially likely to express interest in addressing climate change and supporting policy to make it happen, according to the Pew Research Center.
2. Businesses are integrating climate change into strategies
Many businesses now are integrating climate change into their business strategy. Climate change has become an important element of analyzing business decisions and risk. Additionally, businesses that practice sustainability are shown to be more profitable. According to a report by McKinsey (using research completed by Deutsche Bank), companies with high environmental, social, and governance (ESG) ratings have lower cost of debt and equity, and they outperform the market in the medium and long term! Additionally, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) World Energy Investment Report for 2021, clean energy companies are an increasingly great investment – outperforming fossil fuel companies and the market in general, in recent years (and with lower volatility).
1. We’ve already started seeing positive progress
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Renewable Electricity Futures Study released in 2012 showed that renewable energy could supply 80% of U.S. Electricity by 2050. Ten years later, NREL is now projecting wind, solar, and geothermal could produce enough electricity to meet all current U.S. electricity demand by 2035 (Geocaris, 2022). The rapid advancements in clean energy adoption demonstrate that rapid change is possible. Lessons learned from the energy sector can be applied to the transportation sector and beyond to continue this progress.
In 2015, the world was expected to warm by about 4°C by 2100. Today the world is on track for 3°C instead. If the world meets current climate commitments, the planet will warm by 2°C (UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre, 2021). While this number is still shy of the 1.5°C goal to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, it’s important to recognize that momentum is building. As a recent New York Times article states, “Every drop in degrees matters. One-tenth of a degree may sound like very little, but it could save lives – by preventing more wildfires, droughts, floods, and conflicts over dwindling resources” (Lopez, 2022).
About the Author – Katie is a gifted storyteller with ten years of experience in marketing, including strategy development, communications and content, outreach, advertising, branding, and graphic design. At Brendle Group, Katie is the design channel and gate keeper for all externally facing media and deliverables including social media content, website presence, documents of all varieties, and engagement campaigns in numerous delivery formats.
Katie has a broad range of experience, having developed and executed marketing strategies for nationwide media campaigns as well as organizing grassroots outreach efforts. She has managed marketing budgets, facilitated radio and video commercial recordings; developed weekly, monthly, and quarterly newsletters; and coordinated with public relations staff for deliberate and targeted media impact. Her repertoire includes exceptional communication skills, creative approaches for long-term behavior change, comprehensive market research and analysis, and empowering promotional content.
A love of language and drive to leverage great communications are Katie’s tools to inspire positive change.
Geocaris, M. (2022, June 6). A Decade of Transformation: What We Have Learned Since RE Futures Showed What Was Possible. Retrieved from NREL: https://www.nrel.gov/news/features/2022/re-futures.html
Lopez, G. (2022, April 3). Climate Optimism: We Have Reason to Hope on Climate Change. Retrieved from The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/03/briefing/climate-optimism-ukraine-week-ahead.html#:~:text=Reasons%20for%20hope,electric%20vehicles%20much%20more%20accessible.
Marlon, J., Neyens, L., Jefferson, M., howe, P., Mildenberger, M., & Leiserowitz, A. (2022, February 23). Yale Climate Opinion Maps 2021. Retrieved from Yale Program On Climate Change Communication: https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/visualizations-data/ycom-us/
UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre. (2021, October 26). Emissions Gap Report 2021. Retrieved from UNEP: https://www.unep.org/resources/emissions-gap-report-2021