Positive Steps Taken to Fight Climate Change in 2024: The Progress so Far

There's still a long way to go, but it's clear that even a little progress can make a big difference.

Lauren Wellbank - Author

Apr. 22 2024, Published 1:25 p.m. ET

Climate action protesters march for change
Source: Getty Images

The 2024 Earth Day theme is "Planet vs Plastics," which highlights just how important reducing pollution, conserving the planet's resources, and stemming the effects of climate change are to people worldwide. It seems like 2024 saw some big changes in this department, including a groundbreaking new law from the Biden-Harris Administration.

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But that's not all that has happened in the way of climate change progress in 2024, take a look at some of the other exciting developments that should inspire us to keep demanding broader and more sweeping policy changes at the top while keeping us optimistic about more beneficial things to come.

Jaguar on the prowl
Source: Getty Images
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A new species of jaguar was discovered in the U.S.

If you're anything like me and you didn't know that the United States was once home to a jaguar population, you're going to be doubly excited by the news that experts believe that they have uncovered a new species of the big cat. The find was announced in January 2023 by the Center for Biological Diversity. This was the eighth sighting to be recorded in the past 30 years in the southwestern part of the country.

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The EPA set limits on PFAS in drinking water.

Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS or forever chemicals, will be banned from drinking water under 2024 guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at the urging of the Biden-Harris Administration. The standard will not only address the chemicals found in public drinking water but also govern those found in private wells. The massive changes will help ensure that millions of people around the country will have access to cleaner water.

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Europe's courts rule in favor of Swiss women over the climate crisis.

According to CNBC, a group of 2,000 Swiss women filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) over brutal heat waves that had been impacting the region.

The women blamed the government for their lack of action in the fight against climate change, which had made the heat waves more intense and frequent. The ECHR ruled in favor of the complainants in April 2024, stating that the government failed to provide basic human rights due to their climate inaction.

The ruling was hailed for sending a message to other governments, showing how more world leaders could be held responsible for their country's shortcomings as it pertains to climate change.

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The Biden-Harris Administration earmark $20 billion for expanded access to clean energy.

Climate solutions, clean energy, and reduced energy costs are expected to be funded by a massive spending package announced by the White House in April 2024. In addition to the PFAS funding, this money will partially be used to ensure that communities around the country, not just the wealthy, have access to clean energy solutions.

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That could prompt more widespread adoption of things like solar panels and electric vehicles, which are often out of reach for marginalized and low-income communities. The money was part of the Inflation Reduction Act and is expected to help fund tens of thousands of projects across the U.S.

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The rate of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest was reduced by over one half.

The destruction of the Amazon rainforest is one of the most saddening aspects of the climate crisis, but thankfully, there is good news! According to the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project, or MAAP, by November 2023, researchers discovered a "dramatic reduction (over one-half) in primary forest loss between the current year 2023 and last year 2022 across the Amazon."

Specifically, Brazil and Colombia were the countries where rainforest loss was reduced.

While there may still be a long way to go, at least there has been some forward motion in a lot of areas in 2024. Here's hoping that this is a sign of bigger and better things to come!

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