2 victories, 6 charts, 1 map, and a whole lot of pictures

Welcome to our annual charts and graphs summary — Where we try and present some data at the end of the year in a fun and easy to digest fashion.

As in past years we’re including a slide deck and a video of this for the visually inclined. But if you’re a reader/writer type, scroll down and we’ve got it in that format for you too.

Before we dive in, we also want to ask you, once again, for a year-end donation to support this work. The later third of our presentation lays out the path forward for 2023, and why we think we need to 1) Tackle fossil fuel fascism head on, 2) Disrupt, delay, and deny fossil fuel infrastructure; And 3) hit the accelerator on clean energy deployment in the US.

As a small, single staff non-profit dedicated to digital support for non-violent direct action campaigns that address the climate crisis, we don’t get any money from corporations or foundations. We’re entirely funded by people like you who chip in $1.98 a week, $198 a year, or whatever they can afford, as they are able. Our ability to keep doing the work is entirely dependent on people like you being willing to keep funding it. So please, before the end of the year on Saturday night, make a tax-deductible, year end donation to 198 methods.

Here’s the slide deck if you want to read along (and yes, more of those memes are making there way onto tshirts and other items in our store soon!)

And here’s the video if you want to watch, or help share on social media.

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This year’s report has 3 parts

  • Forces that shaped 2022, which is sort of a recap of our earlier post reviewing all the action from 2022, but with more of a focus on trends that will cary forward to next year.
  • Where we’re ending up, which is where you’ll find the most charts and graphs showing where we’re at with the global domestic carbon budget.
  • And Our plan for 2023

Forces that shaped 2022

We’ll keep this shorter, since we just put a longer recap in the blog earlier this week. But here’s what we can’t let go of for the year:

The War in Ukraine – we talked about this earlier, but the biggest ‘deal’ of the year might be the Biden Administration decision to use the Defense Production act, specifically in reaction to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, to expand domestic production of heat pumps, batteries, solar power, and more. We all have high hopes for the Inflation Reduction Act (more below), but remember that was a tax bill – so somebody else has to buy something or build something (like a solar panel, or electric car) before the incentives can kick in. Biden’s DPA decision is a much faster and more direct investment in clean energy and fuel switching (which will be a bigger deal in 2023, see the “our plan” section below).

The DPA decision was also a huge deal in 2022, because it set up a clear fight between clean energy democrats vs fossil fuels fascists. Note that we’re talking about lower-case-d democrats there — so not the US political party (though, see right below, domestically this is mostly a partisan fight), but rather the global movement for democratic control — of governments (by the people, for the people) and energy policy (from the people, for the people). Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was very much about whether a fossil fuel financed autocracy can get dominate a democratic neighbor who wants to move closer to the European Union (see the where we’re ending up section – moving closer to the EU on energy policy is also a goal for the US).

It’s the same fight (minus the bullets and bombs) we see playing out in the US as Joe Manchin, Donald Trump, and other domestic fossil fueled fascists attempt to force minority rule on the country – through gerrymandered districts, dirty fossil fuel deals, and a seemingly-endless chain of corruption, self dealing, and legalized bribery. Case in point, Joe Manchin, a climate denying coal baron who makes more money from fossil fuels than he does from his Senate salary is allowed to remain chair of the Senate Energy Committee where he blocks clean energy and promotes fossil fuels at every turn.

Speaking of Manchin, we still think US Politics will remain a dominant narrative in 2023, as it was in 2022. 2022’s version looked mostly like Manchin vs 49 Senate Democrats, and a majority of the US House of Representatives. We won, barely, in the end by passing the deeply flawed, but still potentially helpful Inflation Reduction Act and defeating Manchin’s dirty deal. But as we told you when Manchin and Schumer announced the compromise that became the IRA, the bill is basically a big gamble that invests in fossil fuels and renewable energy at the same time. Not to mention that event the most optimistic estimates assume the IRA will only gets us 80% of the way to the promises Biden, and Obama before him in the Paris Climate Agreement, made to cut global warming pollution ~50% by 2030

Where we’re ending up

Speaking of those big climate promises, vs small(er) climate actions, let’s talk global context for a sec. This is the part of the slide deck with lots of charts and graphs, so I won’t try and narrate all of them. But for those who like to read and do their own research, here’s the toplines

For those who prefer to read: the first 2 graphs show what we know and have been saying is the climate crisis for months: Global emissions are still going up, no matter how you look at it. The biggest per capita increases were from the US and India (if you sort by nation), though China remains the biggest national climate polluter. Emissions were up from all sectors, if you sort by fuel source, but coal and oil were the biggest – mostly as a result of the war in Ukraine, which forced a bunch of states and nations to turn back to coal and oil to generate heat and electricity. Gas continues a steady increase in emissions year after year – and this data does not fully factor in leaks of methane gas (which are especially bad in the US and Russia), or the fact that methane is 80-100 times more powerful of a climate pollutant in the short term. We’re deeply indebted to the folks at the Global Carbon Budget for all this research and analysis – check it out and download the full research here.

That last graph is from an earlier report by the World Resources Institute, and we used it to compare likely outcomes of the Inflation Reduction Act as modeled by the optimists at the Rhodium group here:

As we’ve always said, take those projections of the IRA achieving a 30-40% reduction in US global warming pollution with a big grain of salt. A 30-40% reduction is not the same as a 50% reduction (obvs), and 50% is the goal we promised to and must hit. More to the point, a lot of things have to break our way in 2023-2030 for that to work out. Which brings us to:

Our plan for 2023

Getting back to our big themes of 2022 that cary forward, the war in Ukraine and the global and domestic struggle between fossil fueled fascists and clean energy democrats ins’t over. We still need to tackle fossil fueled fascism head on. The return of Trump as a presidential candidate, the continuing war in Ukraine (we still stand with Ukraine, but the new coalition is called Razom we stand), and the new Republican (this time I mean the party) majority taking power in the House of Representatives next week are all immediate threats. We also need to be ready to take action on January 6, 2023 on the 2 year anniversary of the attempted coup (with fossil fuel corporate sponsorship). That’s not a lot of time to get ready, and honestly, we’re behind on our annual fundraising goals as of today. So if you can chip in a year end gift of $198, that would be awesome and just in time.

Picking up the thread on domestic politics, and especially domestic fossil fueled politicians and parties – we need to keep getting in the streets to disrupt, delay, and deny fossil fuel infrastructure 2023. Every time. Every. Single. Time. we won a victory, no matter how incremental, in 2022 it was immediately following a non-violent, direct action that got in the way of fossil fueled business as usual. From disrupting the Congressional Baseball Game which led immediately to the Manchin-Schumer compromise, and eventually to the IRA; To a big rally in DC to say no to Manchin’s dirty deal. which led directly to defeating that bill not once, or twice, but 4 times before the end of the year. As Bill McKibben said this week, the risk is no longer that no clean energy will get built. It’s that clean energy wont get built faster than fossil energy, and that we’ll lose momentum. We took tons of actions in 2022 – we need to support even more in 2023, so if you can, consider a sustaining contribution to support our work. $1.98 a week is less than a cup of coffee at Starbucks, and powers our work to hold corporations, including Starbucks, as well as politicians, regulators, and others accountable with disruptive, digital action all year long.

Finally, looking back at all that analysis about the pace of emissions reductions (too slow) and the Inflation Reduction Act (not enough), we need to hit the accelerator on clean energy. *Update Dec 30* we found one more chart to help illustrate this. The really good news is that Solar installations set records in 2022, and are on pace to set records, globally, in 2023-2030 too. But, if you look closely at the chart below, you’ll see that the US is still lagging behind on solar installations (we’re in the dark blue bar called “north America and Caribbean” and are smaller in so22-2025 than either Mainland China or Europe. The Map below from our original post helps explain why.

A chart from Bloomberg shows rapidly increasing solar installations around the world, and projects the trend to continue through 2030

I’ve been sounding the alarm for awhile about this last map, which shows that ‘fuel switching’ meaning the transition from fossil fuel sources to clean energy, is not incentivized evenly across the country. And, in fact, it’s actively discouraged in many states. We’re going to need to get creative – solar disobedience, anyone? – and we’re going to need to continue our advocacy at State Utility Commissions, regional grid operators (ISOs) and the like.

A map of states that support, are neutral, or oppose fuel switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy, from ACEE

If you’ll permit me a little aside: This comes up a lot in our work around FERC (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission), because they’re the federal agency that reviews and approves (and they always approve) all inter-state fossil gas and electricity projects and markets. In 2021 we had a lot of hope for FERC with new leadership, new proposed policies on climate and environmental justice, and the new Biden Administration pushing to use FERC and other agencies to accelerate the clean energy transition. Two years later, FERC’s a wreck – the Chair Richard Glick is resigning, more or less in disgrace, after Joe Manchin single handedly destroyed all his plans and proposals, then refused to even consider Glick’s renomination.

To see how this is playing out, take a look at North Carolina over the holiday weekend just 5 days ago — the major utility in the State, Duke Energy, is a notorious climate denier and clean energy opponent. For years they’ve invested heavily in new fracked gas infrastructure, and fought to keep their dirty old coal plants running, rather than shift to renewable energy. FERC has aided and abetted them every step of the way, permitting projects like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (later canceled, thanks in part to our disruptions, delays and other direct action tactics) and the Mountain Valley Pipeline. We begged and pleaded for FERC to take an active role in cracking down on Duke and other dirty utilities like them that sell power across state lines. FERC had so, so many chances to say “no” to projects like the MVP and ACP, and to demand that Duke and their investors at least consider the potential or building our more clean energy and distributed power (like solar panels and a battery connected to your roof, instead of giant power lines connecting you to a fossil fuel power plant miles away). FERC never listened, in fact they repeatedly threw us out of the building, arrested us, and illegally mis-filed or ignored our comments and legal challenges.

Last weekend, on Christmas eve, North Carolina was unusually cold due to the big climate-fueled winter storm that impacted millions of Americans. When things got cold, icy, and snowy, Duke’s fleet of gas power plants shut down (just like what happened in 2021 in Texas) unexpectedly. Solar power and batteries actually over-performed, more than making up for a predicted drop in hydro power (which slows down when rivers freeze up). But it wasn’t enough, and Duke had to shut off the power in rolling blackouts that left half a million customers without lights and heat on Christmas eve. All because Duke refused to let their customers choose clean renewable energy, and because FERC let them propose (and charge rate payers for) fossil gas project after project instead.

That’s why I say, and have said, good riddance to Richard Glick, the cowardly Democratic chair of FERC after this year. We need utility and energy regulators with the courage and conviction to stand up to Manchin and his fossil fueled fascists. And we need activism, not action items, to force the clean energy transition on the powerful politicians and corporations who make up the global fossil fuel fascist movement.

In his address to Congress earlier this month, President Zelensky of Ukraine said:

We have to become – and we will become, as there is no other option – a leader in building modern green energy. This will allow us to create a decentralized energy system that cannot be destroyed by anything, any missile strikes.

Today – everyone can see – it is dangerous when cities depend on several large thermal or power plants. A modern city needs decentralized sources of energy.

Only green energy can really provide this.

In 2023, we need to build the same kind of resilient, sustainable, democratic energy system here in the US as President Zelensky is calling for in his own war-torn country. If you can, please consider chipping in $1.98, $19.80, $198, or whatever you can afford to support our work.