There are going to be plenty of these ‘New Year Resolution’ pieces in the next few days, particularly as we enter a brand new decade. But for the first time in as long as I can remember, I am not looking into the future with an existential dread.
There are plenty of examples of great things that have happened in 2029 that we can use as springboards to carry on through into 2030 and beyond; the implementation of universal basic income, rent control in our global cities, the four-day working week and free augmented reality implants for the over 55s. But there is only really one worth celebrating for sure: the IPCC reported climate change had been reversed. I’m going to write that again, climate change has been reversed. Well okay, that’s a bit optimistic, but what they did say is that CO2 levels had plateaued in the previous 24 months and are forecast to be go down in 2030. This year it is widely predicted to be the first year since the last the 1970s that the Arctic Sea Ice will actually recover this winter. Oceanic acidification is slowing, and the report from the Berlin Institute of Protein Farming of the first sighting of an insect from the Bombus family may well turn out to be true. Our climate may well be back on track.
It would be easy to celebrate that (and heaven knows I will!), but such celebrations would not be happening without the monumental shifts in global socio-politics over the last decade. Yes our environment looks like it may be stabilising, but it would not have been possible without a major destabilisation of what we considered to be unmoveable, unshakable and universal political truths. As 2029 comes to an end, we can look back at this year and say that it was the time in which we were victorious in fighting back against the powers that seek to separate, and in 2030, we can look forward to sharing in a common wealth for all. But where to start in telling that story? Of the seismic shifts that have happened in the world in the past 10 years or so, which is the one that we can point to as the one that brought us back from the brink of climate catastrophe?