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What Went Right Last Week

Synopsis of last week's most important good news highlights.

Man sitting on top of a mountain at dawn

Universal Flu Vaccine: It’s still very early days, but the race to develop the first safe and effective mRNA-based influenza vaccine is gathering momentum with a Phase 1 trial at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, getting under way.

GDP v CO2: The European Union has announced that its carbon emissions significantly declined in the final fiscal quarter of 2022, even as its gross domestic product (GDP) grew. Emissions fell by 4 percent year-over-year, while GDP increased by 1.5 percent during the same period - showing it's possible to reduce carbon emissions while posting economic growth.

Platypuses Return: Platypuses are back at Australia’s Royal National Park (established in 1879, it's the oldest national park in Australia and the second oldest in the world) after disappearing from it roughly 50 years ago.

Sunny Outlook: Last year, the world built more new solar capacity than every other power source combined. Solar is now growing much faster than any other energy technology in history. How fast? Fast enough to completely displace fossil fuels from the entire global economy before 2050. It's extremely promising...

Faster Than Flying: An experimental ultra-high-speed maglev train with a cruising speed of over 620 mph (1,000 km/h) is being readied in China.

Remarkable Achievement: A Gurkha soldier veteran who lost both legs in Afghanistan has achieved mountaineering history after reaching the top of Mount Everest. Budha Magar became the first double above-the-knee amputee to summit the world’s tallest mountain.

Amazon Delta: In another positive sign that the new Brazilian president is taking a radically different approach to the environment than his predecessor, Brazil's environmental regulator has just refused to grant a license for a controversial offshore oil drilling project near the mouth of the Amazon River.

UK Rainforests: There was more good news for the UK’s rainforests as the National Trust, a conservation charity, announced a major tree planting project that will join up fragments of the rare habitat in north Wales. The trust has created its largest ever tree nursery to support the project. It will grow and plant some 30,000 native Welsh trees a year.

Rights of Nature: Lawmakers in the Caribbean island of Aruba have taken the first steps toward amending its constitution to include a recognition that nature possesses inherent legal rights to exist and regenerate. If the process is successful, Aruba will become the world’s second country, after Ecuador, to constitutionally recognize the rights of nature.

US Drinking Water: In 2021, the US Environmental Protection Agency implemented a new set of rules on lead and copper in drinking water. A new study has now revealed that the regulations cost $335 million a year to implement while generating $9 billion in health benefits annually. "We thought the benefits might exceed costs by an order of magnitude, but they were many times that."

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