TIME’s top 10 Green Changes of 2013



Below is a list from TIME:

10. The anti-genetically modified food movement gains momentum

The food movement is powerful—just look at the number of farmer’s markets and Whole Foods shops in your area—but politically, it’s remained diffuse, unable to challenge the powerful mainsteam farming lobby. Instead, the food movement is flexing its muscles on another area: genetically modified foods (or GMOs, with the O standing for organism). First in California in 2012, then this year in Washington, anti-GMO activists managed to get initiatives on the ballot that would have required labeling of any foods with genetically modified ingredients. Both efforts went down to defeat, after millions of dollars in lobbying by the conventional food industry, but expect more labeling battles in the future—possibly at the national level.

9. Rooftop solar goes mainstream. The industry is growing at more than 40% a year, and solar installation companies like Solarcity in California are enjoying sales and stock market success. Utilities are worried that distributed solar could disrupt their business just as wireless phones disrupted landlines.

8. The battle over the Keystone XL pipeline drags. The Keystone pipeline, which would carry Canadian oil sands crude across the border into the U.S., was first proposed in 2008. Right now it looks like Obama might cancel the pipeline—but a long fight has no near end in sight.

7. U.S. oil production beats imports
Due to unconventional tight oil patches in North Dakota and Texas. In November, U.S. oil production officially passed imports for the first time in nearly two decades. It’s not energy independence, but it’s close.

6. An historically quiet Atlantic hurricane season

5. But a very busy and destructive Pacific typhoon season

At least 12 typhoons formed in the Pacific in 2013, and a number of them made landfall. No country suffered more than the Philippines, the Southeast Asian nation that is in the typhoon equivalent of tornado alley.

4. Intergovernental Panel on Climate Change releases first chapter of its new global warming assessment

The report, released about every 5 years, questioned why the planet hasn’t warmed over the past several years as fast as models predicted.

3.Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere passes 400 parts per million

Since 1958, the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii has been tracking the concentration of CO2—the main greenhouse gas—in the atmosphere. Levels in pre-industrial time—before we began burning fossil fuels en masse—were about 280 parts per million (ppm). Since then, they’ve skyrocketed, and late this May, concentrations passed 400 ppm. CO2 concentrations haven’t been this high for millions of years, and scientists warn that if we pass 450 ppm, there may be no way to prevent very dangerous climate change. We’re well on our way toward that grim future.

2. EPA begins work on climate regulations

The Obama administration tries to outlaw new coal-fired power plants, unless they have the ability to capture and sequester the carbon they emit. Unsurprisingly the coal industry is fighting back, and that battle could take a long time to play out.

1. California launches cap-and-trade

California has legally committed itself to reducing its carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and it’s going to use a market system to do so, acting in conjunction with other West Coast states and Canadian provinces.