Today, The Atlantic launched Planet, a new section devoted to climate change, along with The Weekly Planet, a new newsletter written by Robinson Meyer. He also writes today’s edition of the Daily, explaining why the climate story is so exciting right now.
I’ve been covering climate change at The Atlantic for five years. There’s still one question I get more than any other: Are you hopeful? At this point, honestly, I find the question to be a little beside the point: If you don’t want the planet to warm, you should work to reduce carbon pollution regardless of whether you’re hopeful about the overall outcome.
Many things in the world aren’t going well, to put it mildly. But the fight against climate change got some excellent news this week.
The International Energy Agency announced, in its enormously influential annual report, that solar energy is now the “cheapest electricity in history.” At the same time, it substantially downgraded its forecast for coal, saying that the fuel source will soon enter a prolonged and irreversible decline. That means global carbon pollution could peak in the next several years—though, without further policy, it will not decline as rapidly as needed to avoid catastrophic global warming.