1.     Cities and states step up on Climate Change as central governments step down

In its last act as part of the UN Paris Climate Change Agreement, the US led other polluters in blocking more ambitious voluntary climate change goals. The US is slated to exit the Paris agreement in November 2020 and will assuredly do so if President Trump is reelected. China, Brazil, Australia, and India were among the participants in Madrid with objections to more aggressive goals.

Meanwhile, cities (such as Sydney), US states (such as California), and other localities worldwide stepped up their commitments to combat the effects of climate change.

Why this is important: These agreements though lofty and making for good press, are voluntary. The Paris Agreement is not the first such agreement to fall short in terms of needed aggressiveness as well as wholehearted participation. The Kyoto protocol (1997, effective 2005, ended 2012) had good intentions too, and we all know what road is paved with good intentions.   The worst effects of climate change are closer than ever, and the effects being felt now are expensive and harsh.

Climate change is the story of the decade and is frankly, a necessary topic for any top ten list of major stories of the year, or, again, the decade. All the other stories, trade wars, patent lawsuits, consolidation, low prices for components are meaningless in the face of the disaster that is climate change. The other stories are industry soap operas. Climate change is an accelerating disaster.

So, as you peruse the annual top ten lists, if the topic of climate change does not appear, the list is incomplete.