Good News in 2019

Good News in 2019

1 DECEMBER 2019 - 10 JANUARY 2020

In 2019, renewables produced 43% of electricity in Germany, wind power alone contributed 47% of electricity in Denmark, carbon emissions from electricity in Spain fell by 33%, zero carbon electricity outstripped fossil fuels in the United Kingdom for the first time ever, and in the United States, overall emissions fell by 2.1%.

The WHO says 11 countries received 18 million doses of its new cholera vaccine in 2018, bringing the number of global cases down by 60%. UN

The Philippines has become the first country with a serious vitamin A deficiencies to approve genetically modified golden rice.  New Scientist

US cancer death rates dropped 29% between 1991 to 2017, and the most recent update saw the largest single-year decline in mortality ever reported. NYT

Pakistan’s security forces are reporting a 31% reduction in terror and counter-terror related deaths in 2019. The Tribune

As of last month, more than half of Colombia’s municipalities are free of landmines, and the country is on track to remove all mines by 2021. Reuters

Indian Railways recorded zero passenger deaths in rail accidents in 2019, making it the national transporter's safest year in history. Economic Times

Child marriage in Bangladesh has dropped by two thirds in the past 20 years, and the country is on track to for zero under-15 marriages by 2021. IFPRI

Tunisia has become the first Arab nation to begin providing sex education for elementary and middle school students. Washington Post

Following a major drive to tackle pollution, water quality in China has improved significantly: since 2003, average chemical oxygen demand is down 63% and ammonium nitrogen levels have dropped by 78%. Phys.org

China has also banned all commercial fishing on the Yangtze – the first ban ever for Asia’s longest river - to restore aquatic life. SCMP

As of the 1st January 2020, single-use plastic plates, cups, and cotton buds are not allowed in France; straws and cutlery will follow in 2021. France24


9 NOVEMBER 2019 - 29 NOVEMBER 2019


The world’s largest multilateral financial institution, The European Investment Bank, has agreed to stop all financing for fossil fuels within the next two years. Guardian

New Zealand has passed a bill to reach zero carbon by 2050, will plant a billion trees in the next decade, and run its grid entirely from clean energy by 2035. Independent

India and Pakistan have opened a peace corridor on their border, allowing Sikhs to visit their second holiest site for the first time in 72 years. Al Jazeera

The number of children dying from pneumonia, "the ultimate disease of poverty," has decreased from 6,410 per day in 1990 to 2,216 per day in 2017. OWiD

Germany has passed a law requiring all children attending school to be immunised, with fines for parents who do not comply. NYT

Cigarette smoking among US adults has reached an all-time low of 13.7% — a decline of approximately two-thirds in the last 50 years. CDC

A new survey across 167 countries has shown that tolerance towards LGBTQIA+ people has risen in almost every region of the world in the last decade. Japan Times

The United States has passed a new law outlawing animal cruelty, punishable with fines and up to seven years imprisonment. WaPo

Thailand will phase out all plastics that degrade into fragments by the end of this year, and will ban plastic bags, styrofoam, cups and straws by 2022. Xinhua

Zambia's government has bowed to pressure and banned any future mining activities in the lower reaches of the Zambezi River. Zambian Eye


19 OCTOBER 2019 - 8 NOVEMBER 2019

The largest private coal company in the United States has filed for bankruptcy, the fourth major fossil fuels company to go under there this year. #MAGA. Bloomberg

The Australian electricity grid reached a new milestone in the first week of November 2019: for a few minutes, solar, wind and hydro met more than 50% of demand. Guardian

According to the World Bank, India has halved its poverty rate in the past 30 years, and zero extreme poverty in the next decade is now within reach.

Type 3 polio has officially become the second species of poliovirus to be eliminated. Only Type 1 now remains - and only in Pakistan and Afghanistan. STAT

In the biggest breakthrough for cystic fibrosis in decades, a new drug that targets the genetic roots of the disease has been approved by the FDA. WaPo

Between 1990 and 2019, cancer mortality rates fell by 18% in Argentina, 26% in Chile, 14% in Colombia, 17% in Mexico and 13% in Venezuela, corresponding to almost 500,000 avoided deaths. Int J Cancer

Northern Ireland has officially legalised the right of women to decide what to do with their own bodies, and the right of people to marry anyone they choose. HRW

The murder rate in India has dropped to its lowest level in 54 years. Traditional theories of criminal justice are at a loss to explain why. Times of India

Toxic air pollution in London has fallen by roughly a third inside a new ultra low emissions zone that was launched 6 months ago. NPR

After an 18 year campaign, environmental campaigners have successfully saved one of the most important wetland areas in the Balkans from development. MongaBay

In a watershed moment for environmentalists and community activists, fracking has been halted in the United Kingdom with immediate effect. BBC


5 OCTOBER 2019 - 18 OCTOBER 2019

In the third quarter of 2019, wind, solar, biomass and hydro generated more electricity than coal, oil and gas in the United Kingdom. Carbon Brief

Carbon emissions are now falling in 30 of the world's cities, averaging 22% below their peak. Curious to know if you live in one of them? Check it out. CityLab

A new study covering 90% of the world's population shows the international homicide rate has dropped by 20% since 1990. Eureka Alert

Bolivia has been more effective at combating extreme poverty than any other South American country, slashing it from 33% in 2006 to 15% in 2018. WaPo

Nepal has been declared as an open defecation free country. Eight years ago, 9 million people did not have access to clean sanitation facilities. Rising Nepal

30,000 children in Cambodia have been rescued from hard labour in the past five years, and 180,000 prevented from being child workers. Phnom Penh Post

Nigeria, in partnership with the WHO, just immunized over 51 million children in a single month during its annual national immunization campaign. ReliefWeb

Sometimes you have to wonder what it takes to make the headlines. Children must be an easy sell right? WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN??!! Apparently not. Save the Children just released their 2019 Global Childhood Report showing that in the last 20 years, children's lives have improved in 173 out of 176 countries. Today there are:

  • 4.4 million fewer child deaths per year
  • 49 million fewer stunted children
  • 130 million more children in school
  • 94 million fewer child laborers
  • 11 million fewer girls forced into marriage or married early
  • 3 million fewer teen births per year
  • 12,000 fewer child homicides per year

Not a peep from media outlets anywhere…

Grown-ups don't get a look in either. Did you hear that stroke rates for US adults over the age of 65 have decreased by 32% each decade for the last 30 years. Reuters

Under the United States' Affordable Care Act (ACA), nearly 2 million diabetics, many of them poor, have received access to health insurance. US News

Sales of plastic bags in England’s largest supermarkets have fallen by 90% in the four years since the government introduced a 5p levy. ICAEW

The Welsh government just planted the ten millionth tree in the heavily-deforested region of Mount Elgon region in eastern Uganda. The Ecologist

Bottlenose dolphins are living and breeding in the Potomac River again for the first time since the 1880s, following 50 years of restoration efforts. Smithsonian

New surveys suggest there are now 25,000 individuals humpback whales in the southwest Atlantic - back to 90% of pre-whaling levels. BBC

For the first time since 1870, herds of bison are roaming the Badlands National Park in South Dakota. 1,200 bison now have 80,000 acres to graze. WWF


21 SEPTEMBER 2019 - 4 OCTOBER 2019

Australia's per capita levels of clean energy are the fastest growing in the world. Between 2018 and 2020, Australia will install 220 watts per person per year - nearly three times more than the next fastest country, Germany. The Conversation

The largest retail company in the world says it will run entirely on renewable energy by 2030 and will be fully carbon neutral by 2040. The Verge

Nine Latin American countries just set a collective target of 70% renewable energy use by 2030, more than double what the European Union is planning. Reuters

Melanoma is one of the most common forms of cancer in the UK. Ten years ago, one in twenty people survived. Today the survival rate is more than 50%. BBC

Russian alcohol consumption has decreased by 43% since 2003. As a result average life expectancy in 2018 reached its highest level ever. BBC

Italian officials are saying that after a decades long battle, the Sicilian Mafia has been brought to its knees and is now a ghost of its former self. Guardian

Abortion is now legal in every state in Australia, Oaxaca has become the second state in Mexico to give women autonomy over their own bodies and in the US, abortion rates have reached their lowest level since Roe vs. Wade in 1973. CNN

In 1990 the global annual death rate for children under the age of five was 82 for every 1,000 live births. In 2018, it was 37 per 1,000 live births. WaPo

The literacy rate for Palestinians over the age of 15 has increased from 86.1% in 1997 to 97.2% in 2018. Palestine Chronicle

China now has equal numbers of girls and boys in primary and high school, and more than half of university students are women, from less than a quarter in 1978. Xinhua

A new report on the social performance of 149 countries in the last five years, using indicators like nutrition, shelter, safety, education, health, rights and inclusiveness, says only four countries have regressed overall since 2014. First Post

China's tree stock rose by 4.56 billion m³ between 2005 and 2018, deserts are shrinking by 2,400 km² a year, and forests now account for 22% of land area. SCMP


7 SEPTEMBER 2019 - 20 SEPTEMBER 2019

Coal shipments to the United States have fallen to their lowest since 1983 - and the dramatic reduction of coal in the country's energy mix has reduced deaths from air pollution and cut the cost of damages by more than $200 billion. Ars Technica

The number of cigarettes being smoked in the UK fell by nearly a quarter between 2011 and 2018 - meaning 1.4 billion fewer cigarettes smoked every year. Cancer UK

Saudi Arabia says women may now travel overseas, register births, marriage & divorce, receive family documents and be eligible as guardians to minors. Reuters

Indonesia has lifted the minimum legal age for marriage to 19. Previously, girls of 16 could be married (and there was no minimum age if parents requested it). Reuters

The United States' poverty rate has reached its lowest point since 2001. There were 1.4 million fewer people living in poverty in 2018 than in 2017. US Census

The Canadian government has lifted almost 900,000 people out of poverty since 2016, including 300,000 children. CBC

The Asian Development Bank says that Pakistan's extreme poverty rate fell from 28.6% of total population in 2001 to 3.9% in 2015. APP

California has banned the operation of private prisons - a major victory for criminal justice reform because it removes the profit motive from incarceration. Guardian

Four years after the WHO declared Delhi the world’s most polluted city, the government has announced that pollution has dropped by 25%. Indian Express

A year ago, Chile began a campaign to ban plastic straws. Since then, 200 million fewer straws have been delivered to shops and restaurants. Emol


11 AUGUST 2019 - 6 SEPTEMBER 2019

Refugees are integrating into Germany's job market far quicker than expected. Around 400,000 people of working age are now employed. The Local

Five months after the 'ghost battalion' overthrew the dictatorship, Sudan's leaders have signed a landmark deal for transition to civilian government. Al Jazeera

Speaking of Sudan, a campaign begun in April 2019 has managed to provide 13 million children with vaccines against measles and polio. ReliefWeb

Dementia is declining in Australia. The hospitalisation rate has dropped by almost a quarter – from 408 per 100,000 people in 2007 to 313 in 2017. AAA

A new cure for tuberculosis (the world's leading infectious cause of death) has been approved by the US FDA, clearing the path for global distribution. NYT

The new Ebola vaccine is working miracles. Over 200,000 people have been innoculated, and the mortality rate has dropped from 70% to as low as 6%. The Brink

Canada's government has partnered with Inuit custodians to create its largest marine reserve ever. The country now protects 14% of its oceans. National Observer

In the first half of 2019, Beijing reported its lowest level of air pollutants since the city first started monitoring air quality 35 years ago. CX Tech

169 countries at the UN have just agreed to significant new protections for elephants, giraffes, sharks and rays and dozens of other species. New Scientist

More than 100 seal pups have been born on the shores of the Thames, 60 years after the river was declared 'biologically dead.' Telegraph

NASA says that the number of fires around the world is decreasing. Between 2003 and 2019, the area of land being burned has fallen by around 25%


20 JULY 2019 - 10 AUGUST 2019

Electricity generation from coal power stations across Europe fell by nearly one fifth in the first half of 2019, the steepest decline ever recorded. New Scientist

In the second quarter of 2019 the Tesla Model 3 was not only the best selling car in its segment in the United States, but outsold all of its petrol and diesel powered equivalents combined. Elektrek

Last year, Japan saw its population decrease by over 444,000 people, the tenth straight year of declines, and the largest annual decrease since the end of World War Two. Mercatornet

Sri Lanka has been declared free of measles, the fourth country in south-east Asia to reach this milestone after Bhutan, Maldives and Timor-Leste. The country reported its last homegrown case of the virus in May 2016. WHO

Americans are becoming more tolerant. A major survey of attitudes towards sexuality, race, skin tone, age, disability and body weight has shown that explicit bias has decreased in all six categories since 2007; ranging from 49% (sexuality) to 15% (body weight). Implicit bias also decreased—33% for sexuality, 17% for race and 15% for skin tone. Scientific American

A decade ago, Scotland adopted a nationwide ban on indoor smoking. Over the next decade there was a 13% reduction in heart attacks for people over the age of 60. Reuters

Panama has become the first Central American nation to ban single-use plastic bags, joining more than 60 other countries that have passed total or partial bans, or introduced taxes to reduce their use. Reuters

Ethiopia has smashed the world record for tree planting. Led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, millions of Ethiopians planted more than 350 million trees in 12 hours on the 29th July. BBC

Since 1990, thanks to better protection and a decline in farming, France’s wooded or forested areas have increased by nearly 7%. Forests now cover 31% of the country. Economist

The population of tigers is recovering in India. The tiger population has risen from 2,226 in 2014 to 2,967 in 2018, an increase of over one third. This is a major conservation success. BBC


6 JULY 2019 - 19 JULY 2019

In the first six months of 2019, sun, wind, water and biomass produced more electricity in Germany, the world's fourth largest economy, than coal and nuclear combined. DW

In the first six months of 2019, Scottish wind turbines generated enough electricity to power 4.47 million homes - almost double the number of homes in Scotland. CNBC

According to the United Nations, in 2018, global HIV-related deaths fell to 770,000, 33% lower than in 2010 when 1.2 million deaths were recorded. DW

A new report by UNESCO says that between 2006 and 2016, India, Ethiopia and Peru achieved significant improvements in nutrition, sanitation, child mortality, drinking water, schooling, electricity access and housing. India alone lifted 271 million people out of poverty during this period. Understandably there's been wall-to-wall coverage of this story on every major global news channel. The Hindu

New diabetes cases in the US have declined by 35% since 2009, the longest decline since the government started tracking the statistic nearly 40 years ago. STAT

Mali has announced it will begin providing free healthcare for pregnant women and children under five. Universal healthcare, not just for rich countries. Guardian

Drug overdose deaths in America declined by around 5% last year, the first drop since 1990. It's almost entirely due to better control of opioid painkillers. NYT

Last year crime rates in the 30 largest cities in the US declined by 3.5%, violent crime by 4% and murders by 8%. Did someone just say 'hellholes?' Brennan Centre

Ethiopia has kicked off a new campaign to plant four billion trees and will monitor progress with a satellite the country is launching in November.

Since introducing new fuel efficiency rules a decade ago New York has cut nitrous oxide and particulate emissions from taxis by 82% and 49%, respectively. Nature

Costa Rica has just signed a new law banning the importation, commercialisation and delivery of all styrofoam containers and packaging. Costa Rica News

South Africa has nearly doubled its number of marine protected areas, increasing the proportion of conserved territorial waters from 0.4% to 5.4%. Cape Talk

For the first time in 17 years there will be no commercial whaling in Iceland after the sole company certified to hunt whales failed to renew its license in time. Newsweek


15 JUNE 2019 - 5 JULY 2019

Los Angeles has announced the largest, cheapest solar + storage project in the world, at half the cost of a new natural gas plant. Wright's Law FTW. Forbes

Ireland has joined the growing list of countries that say new petrol and diesel powered vehicles will not be allowed on the roads after 2030. BBC

8.8 million Nepalis have gained access to electricity since 2010, and officials say the country is on track for universal access by 2022. Kathmandu Post

Heart disease rates in the UK have declined significantly - it's still the leading cause of mortality, but deaths have decreased by almost half since 2005. Telegraph

Good news from North Korea. According to the WHO, smoking rates have declined by 8.4% since 2012, thanks to a government-led anti-smoking campaign. DailyNK

Rates of HPV in Britain have fallen by 86% among young women aged 15 to 19 since they started being vaccinated in schools in 2008. Times

UNESCO says that 19 African countries have reached gender parity (equal numbers of boys and girls) in primary education in the past decade. Brookings

Kenya's High Court has ruled that rape survivors have the right to an abortion, a landmark ruling in a country where abortion is still illegal. Reuters

An estimated 10,000 LGBTQIA+ teens in the US have been protected from conversion therapy in states that have banned the practice since 2012. NBC

Canada has passed its most progressive Fisheries Act in history; for the first time since 1868, there's a legally binding requirement to rebuild fish populations. Oceana

The Scottish government has met its annual tree planting targets for the first time. 11,200 hectares were planted last year, a significant increase on 2017. BBC

Since 2000, the area of land dedicated for livestock pasture around the world has declined by 1.4 million square kilometers — an area the size of Peru. MongaBay

Thanks to rigorous anti-poaching strategies, one of Africa’s largest wildlife reserves has just gone a year without losing a single elephant. Independent


1 JUNE 2019 - 14 JUNE 2019

Germany produced 47% of its electricity from clean sources in the first five months of 2019, putting it well ahead of its 2025 targets. Renew Economy

The number of people killed in wars around the world has reached it lowest level in seven years, and battle fatalities have fallen by 43% since 2014. PRIO

In a landmark victory for Africa's LGBTQI+ activists, Botswana's High Court has decriminalized homesexuality, overturning a colonial-era law. Independent

The number of malaria cases in India was cut by almost half last year, an indication that the country’s malaria elimination programme is succeeding. HT

In Rwanda, 95% of babies are now receiving vaccinations for rubella, measles and polio, and it's also on track to be the first country to eliminate cervical cancer. CNN

Inspired by the EU, Canada has announced it will phase out harmful single use plastics, such as water bottles, plastic bags and straws, by 2021. HuffPo

Vietnamese authorities have banned herbicides containing glyphosate after it was discovered that the substance causes cancer. Asia Times

Israel has partnered with seven other, mostly Muslim countries, to collaborate on a research project in the Red Sea. Science diplomacy FTW. Times of Israel

Canada has banned whales, dolphins and porpoises in captivity, as well as the trade, possession, capture and breeding of cetaceans. NPR

An area nearly twice the size of England will become a 'blue belt' of protected waters after the government created 41 new marine conservation zones. Guardian


18 MAY 2019 - 31 MAY 2019

The UK's astonishing coal free run continues - 13 days and counting. The National Grid says the country has not switched on its coal plants since 18th of May.

Algeria and Argentina have officially eliminated malaria. That means there are now 38 countries free from one of humanity's most devastating killers. CNN

The AIHW says that more people are surviving cancer in Australia than ever before. Since 1989, the mortality rate has dropped by 32% for men and by 21% for women.

In the last three decades, dementia rates in Europe and North America have declined by an average of 15% per decade (and they're also declining in Australia).

The WHO has officially decided to remove 'gender identity disorder' from its list of mental illnesses. Welcome to the 21st century folks. CBS

A majority in Brazil's Supreme Court has voted in favour of criminalising homophobia and transphobia, making them the equivalent of racism. BBC

In 2018, employment reached its highest ever rate in Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany, and 22 other OECD countries. Did someone just say robots? Economist

New research says US states that legalised marijuana have experienced a remarkable decline in serious injury from domestic violence. C'mon 'Straya. Green State

Bangladesh has banned all fishing off its coast for 65 days. All vessels will be covered by the ban, and it will be carefully enforced by coast guards. BBC

Staggering numbers of whales are being sighted off the shores of New York. Cleaner waters have caused a 540% increase in numbers in just eight years. Newsweek


4 MAY 2019 - 17 MAY 2019

Last year, more global coal capacity was closed than approved for the first time since the 19th century, and the UK just had its first coal-free week since 1882. BBC

Chile has reached its 2025 clean energy targets six years ahead of schedule, and says it's now on track for 70% electricity from renewables by 2030. BN Americas

The world's largest car supplier, Bosch, says it will be fully carbon neutral by 2020, making it the first major industrial company to take that step. Reuters

Big new dataset here, we've been waiting for this for a while. The proportion of people in extreme poverty has fallen from 36% in 1990 to 8.6% in 2018. Absolute numbers are down from 1.9 billion in 1990 to 610 million in 2018. ODI

The 2019 election in India is on track for the highest turnout in history, driven by unprecedented numbers of women voters, who may be the majority this year. Quartz

The number of people incarcerated in American prisons has declined again, to 1.48 million people, down from 1.61 million in 2009. Washington Post

New Global Burden of Disease Report says that between 1990 and 2017, deaths of kids and teenagers decreased by 51.7%, from 13.77 million to 6.64 million. CNN

The United Nations says that 187 countries have agreed to control the movement of plastic waste between national borders, in an effort to curb waste. CNN

Tanzania has become the latest country to implement a plastic ban. From the 1st June, no one will be allowed to produce, import, sell or use plastic bags. WWF

California, the United States' most productive agricultural state, has banned a widely used pesticide blamed for harming brain development in babies. Associated Press

Costa Rica has doubled its forest cover in the last 30 years; half its land surface is now covered with trees, a huge carbon sink and a big draw for tourists. NYT


19 APRIL 2019 - 3 MAY 2019

Renewable energy use in Japan in the last fiscal year increased by 10%, and emissions fell by 1.2% - the fourth straight year of decline. Japan Times

New York just passed a law requiring any new building to have a roof with either plants, solar panels, wind turbines, or a combination of all three. Dwell

The UN says that family planning and more education have caused a 'significant decline' in India’s population growth rate since 2010. The Print

A new Ebola vaccine given to more than 90,000 people in the DRC has been shown to be 97.5% effective. Next challenge? Distribution. STAT

The Philippines has passed a Universal Health Care Act, entitling all of its 107 million citizens to health insurance and access to medical treatment. WHO

Malawi has become the first country to begin immunising children against malaria, and similar programmes are about to start in Kenya and Ghana. Independent

Deaths after surgery in Scotland have dropped by more than a third since 2008, thanks to the use of a safety checklist. Sometimes, the solutions are simple. BBC

China says it's lifting a law that requires animal testing for cosmetic products. From 2020, non-animal tests will be the preferred method. IIVS

The indigenous Waorani community of Ecuador has won a landmark case against oil companies, protecting 180,000 hectares of their land against exploitation. Al Jazeera

Canada has unveiled new standards for its marine protected areas, banning all oil-and-gas activity, as well as mining, dumping and bottom-trawling. Globe & Mail

Chile has formally taken over the management of 407,000 hectares of pristine national parks, thanks to the largest private land donation in history. Reuters


30 MARCH 2019 - 18 APRIL 2019

Malawi has eliminated trachoma, the second African country to do so after Ghana. In 2014 more than 8 million people were at risk. Today, that number is zero.

The introduction of routine HPV vaccinations for young women in Scotland ten years ago has wiped out 90% of cases of cervical pre-cancer. BBC

In an effort to reduce period poverty, British Columbia has become the first Canadian province to provide free tampons and pads to all students. CBC

Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions fell by 4.2% in 2018, the first major decrease in Europe’s biggest economy in four years. Associated Press

In Madrid, a ban on vehicles in the city centre has reduced levels of nitrogen oxide by 38%, and Barcelona is now planning a similar ban for next year.

Paris has ordered 800 new electric buses as it begins the process of replacing its old fleet. It's the largest public EV order in European history. Elektrek

Chicago is now the largest city in the United States to commit to getting 100% of its energy from clean sources. PV Magazine

Between 2000 and 2015, houses with adequate sanitation, sufficient living area and reliable construction doubled in sub-Saharan Africa, from 11% to 23%. Nature

The Gambia has become the 22nd country to ratify the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), meaning it now has enough signatories to go into force. This is a massive boost - the biggest free trade agreement since the WTO. WEF

South Korea used to recycle 2% of its food waste. In 2013, the government introduced compulsory collection. Now they recycle 95%. C'mon Australia. HuffPo

Germany has closed its last fur farm three years ahead of schedule, signalling the end of the fur trade in yet another European country. PETA

Ecologists have confirmed that the Netherlands has its first resident wolf population in 140 years, and that the first Dutch wolf pack could be months away. BBC

Belize has approved a plan to protect 12% of its territorial waters, doubling the size of ocean reserves around the world’s second largest barrier reef. Reuters


15 MARCH 2019 - 29 MARCH 2019

Volkswagen, the largest car manufacturer in the world, responsible for 1% of global carbon emissions, has committed to going fully carbon neutral by 2050. NYT

America has officially entered coal cost crossover. 74% of existing coal plants now cost more to operate than to replace with wind and solar. Utility Dive

Between 10th and 17th March, Germany got 72.6% of its electricity from renewable energy resources. Did someone just say "baseload power?" Renew Economy

In January 2015, at the height of ISIS's power, 7.7 million people were estimated to live under its rule. As of last week, that number is zero. CNN

Between 2010 and 2013, India ran a measles vaccination campaign. A new study estimates that it saved the lives of about 50,000 children. Nature

This year will see almost two billion people in 50 countries vote, the largest number in history. Did someone just say "death of democracy?" Al Jazeera

Indian tech billionaire Azim Premji is giving away $21 billion to philanthropy, the fifth largest endowment in the world and the biggest in Asia. ET Tech

Clever win by animal rights activists. Australia has passed a law that prevents companies using data from animal testing for developing cosmetics. The Age

Deep in the frozen forests of Russia's far east, the Siberian tiger is staging a quiet comeback, thanks to government-led conservation efforts. CBC


23 FEBRUARY 2019 - 14 MARCH 2019

The biggest global story you haven't heard about right now is India's sanitation drive. Since 2014, 90 million toilets have been built, 93% of households now have access, and 500 million people have stopped defecating in the open. Economic Times

California, the fifth largest economy in the world, has reached its 33% clean energy target two years ahead of schedule, and petrol sales are officially decreasing.

The UK, the sixth largest economy in the world, has reduced its carbon emissions for the sixth year in a row. The last time emissions were this low was 1888. Carbon Brief

The Finnish parliament has approved a ban on the use of all coal to produce energy by 2029. After that date, coal will only be allowed in an emergency. Reuters

Canada's poverty rate has reached the lowest level ever recorded. The proportion of people below the poverty line is now 9.5%, down from 15.6% in 2006. CBC

Using a new data-based approach, three cities in the United States have ended chronic homelessness, and nine have ended veteran homelessness. FastCo

In a bid to curb obesity, London's public transport authority will no longer allow advertising for unhealthy food anywhere on its network. BBC

The Indian state of Tamil Nadu, home to 80 million people, has imposed a full ban on the usage, manufacture, storage, supply and sale of single use plastic. ICD

New Zealand just expanded the Kahurangi National Park by 64,000 hectares, the largest addition of land to a national park in the country's history. NZ Herald

In the last five years, Kenya's poaching rates have dropped by 85% for rhinos and 78% for elephants. In 2018, elephant poaching alone dropped by 50%.


9 FEBRUARY 2019 -  22 FEBRUARY 2019

Sales of fossil-fuelled vehicles are now officially on the decline in the world’s three largest car markets: China, Europe and the United States. Clean Technica

Remember bird flu, the disease that was going to be the next global pandemic? There hasn't been a single H5N1 human infection since February 2017. STAT

Global health experts at the UN have recommended that marijuana and its key components be formally rescheduled under international drug treaties. Forbes

Pakistan experienced an unprecedented drop in violence last year. Violence-related casualties declined by 45%, and have dropped by 86% since 2013. The News

The rate of victimisation from violent crimes for teenagers in the United States is now one sixth of what it was in the mid 1990s. Child Trends

The US Senate has passed its most sweeping conservation legislation in a decade, protecting 1.3 million acres and withdrawing 370,000 acres from mining. LA Times

After watching an animated film about abandoned dogs, the mayor of Seoul has announced the city will shut down all remaining dog butcheries. Korea Times

The number of rhinos killed by poachers fell by 25% last year thanks to South Africa's efforts to save the endangered species, the fifth annual decrease in a row.

Satellite data from NASA says that compared to the early 2000s, the planet now has five million extra square kilometres of green leaf area per year – a 5% increase.


25 JANUARY 2019 -  8 FEBRUARY 2019


Germany, the fourth largest consumer of coal on the planet, has announced it will shut down all 84 power plants in the next 19 years. C'mon Australia. LA Times

India added 17.6 GW of power generation capacity in 2018 (the equivalent of nine Hoover Dams) and 74% of it was clean, mostly solar. Clean Technica

Sweden has announced a ban on the sale of gasoline and diesel engines after 2030, joining Denmark, India, the Netherlands, Ireland and Israel. Electrive

As predicted, global terror attacks fell by 33% last year, and deaths halved. Attacks by Daesh fell by 71%. Naturally this was front page news everywhere. IHS

The WHO says there are now adequate supplies of the new Ebola vaccine to control the latest outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. STAT

Big legal milestone for human rights in Europe. Germans can now choose 'diverse' as an option for gender on their birth certificates and other records. NYT

Angola has become the latest African country to decriminalise same-sex conduct, overturning the penal code it inherited from colonisation. HRW

The largest rewilding project in Australian history, the Great Southern Ark, has just begun on the Yorke Peninsula, providing a safe haven for 20 native species.

Tanzania has created a new protected area, the Magombera Reserve, protecting the endangered Udzungwa red colobus monkey and Verdcourt's Polyalthia tree. PSMag


1 JANUARY 2019 -  24 JANUARY 2019

Nothing like a little east west rivalry to speed up the energy transition. New York just one-upped California, committing to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040. Utility Dive

In the last four years, the Indian government has provided 100 million families with gas connections, meaning they no longer have to cook over wood stoves. The Print

It's now looking very likely that 2018 was the peak year globally for sales of cars with internal combustion engines. The EV revolution is here folks. The Drive

The Powering Past Coal Alliance has added two more countries to its list, with Senegal and Israel announcing that they will stop all use of coal by 2030. Reuters

The Economist is reporting that democracy had a good year in 2018. Only 42 countries experienced a decline, while 48 improved. Progress isn't a straight line.

The Malaysian government has started providing free healthcare insurance for the country's poorest 40%, providing coverage against 36 critical illnesses. Malay Mail

The number of suicides in Japan dropped by 3.4% last year, the ninth annual decrease in a row, and the lowest rate since records began in 1978. Japan Today

The latest Global Terrorism Index says terrorism deaths dropped by 27% in 2017, the third consecutive year of improvement. 2018 is on track to be even better.

The number of financial institutions that fund banned cluster bombs fell from 166 in 2017, to 88 in 2018, and investments fell from $31 billion to $9 billion. Swiss Info

South Korea's ban on plastic bags has just kicked in and so has a ban on single use plastics in Bali, largely thanks to a five year campaign by two teenage sisters.

Argentina has created two new marine parks in the South Atlantic, covering an area of 96,000 square kilometres, bringing total protected ocean waters to 8%. Nat Geo


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