Climate change activists holding a banner that reads, "We are the change we have been waiting for."

Photo credit: Rena Schild / Shutterstock

In a recent paper published in Science, researchers warned that, “Without major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere, terrestrial ecosystems worldwide are at risk of major transformation.” In a follow-up interview with The Washington Post, the authors further expounded, “What we’re talking about here are the kinds of changes that disrupt everybody’s lives.”

After President Trump announced that the U.S. would be withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, many felt completely defeated. But as Yale Insights points out, there are still plenty of reasons to remain optimistic.

For starters, it’s worth noting that the U.S. hasn’t officially backed out of the Paris Agreement, and cannot do so for another two years. Even so, the world has already decided that it is going to move forward with sustainable solutions—with or without President Trump.

Civics Lesson: The Paris Agreement

A climate change activist holds a sign that reads, "The oceans are rising and so are we."The Paris Agreement is a global pact to ease the strain on the environment by reducing carbon emissions and adopting eco-friendly policies. The U.S. is now the only country in the world to reject it.

Photo credit: Avivi Aharon / Shutterstock

Companies from all over the globe, for example, have pledged their allegiance to the Paris Agreement and have vowed to become more eco-friendly. According to Yale Insights, this includes more than a thousand U.S. businesses that are part of the “We Are Still In” coalition.

Politicians are also forming their own activist groups. Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, for example, started a group called R20, which has “rallied leaders of subnational jurisdictions to finance and implement climate resilient economic development projects.” Similarly, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg helped launch a group called C40 that is designed to tackle climate change in the world’s largest cities.

At the grassroots level, investors are demanding that companies not only be eco-friendly, but socially responsible as well. As a result, many multinational firms have introduced environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics that measure how well businesses perform across this spectrum.

In a way, climate change has brought entire industries, communities, and politicians together in a way that might never been possible before—a sign that there is hope after all.

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