Climate Stories To Follow In 2024

Every year that passes, the story of climate change unfolds and becomes more ingrained into the modern world. Last year, the narrative of climate change witnessed elevated numbers of extreme weather events and was officially recognized as the hottest year on record. While there were some positive moments, such as the game-changing deal made at COP28 for a global transition away from fossil fuels, there’s no doubt that the need to address climate change is urgently escalating. So what does 2024 hold for us?


The Beginning Of The End For Plastic?

In 2022, 175 countries endorsed the creation of a legally binding agreement to end plastic pollution. The proposal made at the UN Environment Assembly 5 in Nairobi, is aimed to be completed this year and sets the framework needed to begin regulating plastic.

(Source: UN)

The Western Solar Plan

Last year was a record-breaking year for the installation of renewable energy projects. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), renewable energy grew by 50% last year to 510 gigawatts (GW), breaking the 2022 record. This year is believed to be even bigger. Just last month, the Biden administration announced the "Western Solar Plan” which hopes to develop the framework for the installation of large solar projects across the western United States. The Western Solar Plan designates approximately 22 million acres owned by the Bureau of Land Management as suitable for the installation of commercial solar projects. But could the "Western Solar Plan" have negative implications on the environment? While large solar projects remain controversial amongst conservation groups, projects in California, Nevada, and Arizona are already planned for development on BLM land starting this year.

Biden Administration "Western Solar Plan" map. (Source: BLM)

Could We Have Zero-Emissions Flights In 2024?

Last year, Alaska Airlines announced its partnership with a start-up called Twelve which has developed technology to make jet fuel from captured CO2, water, and renewable electricity. Twelve is building its one-of-a-kind factory in Washington state and plans to be selling its fuel to Alaska Airlines as early as this year. 

E-Jet®—a low carbon jet fuel produced from recaptured CO2, water and renewable energy is on target to reach Alaska Airlines goal zero carbon emissions by 2040. (Source: Alaska Airlines)

The Calcasieu Pass 2 Natural Gas Megaproject

Last month, US Climate Activists managed to delay the construction of the Calcasieu Pass 2 Natural Gas Megaproject that aims to transport natural gas across the country. The Biden Administration agreed to delay the construction of the megaproject to fully analyze its potential climate impact. While it’s not clear how long the process might take or it's implications for the environment and surrounding communities, this developing story could set a precedent for the future of fossil fuel projects in the United States.

Venture Global's proposed Calcasieu Pass 2 LNG export terminal located in Louisiana. (Source: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission)

Elections Around The World

With 64 countries having major elections this year, it is a big year for global politics. While it's impossible to know how the elections will unravel, there’s no doubt that it could be a monumental moment for change across the globe. Elections in the United States will be in the spotlight of global attention, as the climate-denying ex-president Trump is likely to be running for reelection. The United States is the second biggest polluter of GHGs on the planet and sets an important precedent for international action. 

US Candidates running for Presidency in 2024 could have a major effect on ongoing conservation and environmental efforts.

Only Time Will Tell

While it’s difficult to tell how things will unravel in 2024, there’s no doubt that the effects of climate change will continue escalating and causing climate disasters across the globe. Droughts, floods, heat waves, and other extreme weather events are expected to rise, along with the need for humanitarian aid. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, about 300 million people will require humanitarian aid this year due to global conflicts and climate disasters. Hopefully, 2024 won’t just be a year of disasters, but a year of positive change towards addressing climate change. Through the implementation of forward-thinking legislation and climate-friendly technologies, we can only hope that 2024 could set a new pace in the race against climate change.