COP21 deal, Pope Francis' environmental encyclical, serious action from a wide swath of business leaders, investors and governments made 2015 a year that will be remembered by history as a turning point for environmental action and efforts to combat climate change.
As Andrew Winston explains in his year end review, "The year 2015 was a pivotal time when humanity turned more decisively toward building a thriving and sustainable world...It was a year of amazing progress."
A review of 2015 of from Climate Reality says "we have a lot of reasons to celebrate heading into the new year." Here is their list of the top eight moments of 2015:
1. The UN COP21 Climate Conference deal
2. The EPA's release of the final Clean Power Plan
3. President Obama's cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline
4. China's emissions reduction pledge
5. NASA's launch of the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite which will monitor solar weather and the earth’s climate
6. Canada's election of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
7. Pope Francis support for climate action
8. Australia ousts Prime Minister Tony Abbott
EDF says that in 2015 "we’ve made extraordinary environmental progress." They list seven key areas in which data helped drive progress in 2015.
1. Support for climate action in the US and government action in the form of the Clean Power Plan
2. A number of nations, including China, made bold commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions
3. A new era between the U.S. and Cuba brings relief for troubled ocean
4. A new generation of electronic sensors make it easier for people to see pollution
5. Methane data inspires change, business growth in a burgeoning mitigation industry
6. Farmers on 750,000 acres in 12 states who have cut fertilizer loss by an average 25 percent over the past decade, 7. International food companies that stepped up efforts in 2015 to improve growing practices for their products. These companies have pledged to cut fertilizer runoff and soil loss on 23 million acres across the continent by 2020, which will improve water quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Annie Leonard Executive Director of Greenpeace USA described 2015 by saying "We’re winning, folks!" Leonard went on to say "Courageous, creative, sustained activism has given us so many incredible victories this year...Together we have made enormous progress in defending our planet and her people."
People around the world came together to reject fossil fuels and demand action on climate change. This includes protests that told Shell to abandon their Arctic drilling operations and the cancellation of the Keystone XL by President Obama. Most recently the US has banned microbeads which generate huge amounts of plastic waste that is polluting our oceans and waterways.
A Greenpeace video says that "People Power" best describes the environmental and climate achievements in 2015:
An NRDC video of victories in 2015 is narrated by Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Laura Dern. It describes NRDC achievements in wildlife, wild places and the environment: