Climate progress was real. Now, we need more.

Dec. 31—While we might pick a more uplifting topic to give us lift into the new year than climate change, we did have our moments of progress on that front in 2022. Unfortunately, a little bit of good came with a whole lot of bad.

On top of the dire predictions coming from one scientific report after another, news from around the world only confirmed our worst fears. Extreme summer flooding killed thousands and displaced millions in Pakistan. Nigeria experienced floods, too, that killed hundreds and displaced over 1 million people. And in Europe and the U.S., rivers dried up, slowing commerce on the Mississippi and the Rhine.

We have lost track of how many species of plants and animals have been declared extinct because of climate change. But we can see glaciers losing volume and know that sea levels are on the rise.

We clearly understand what is happening out West to Lake Mead and Lake Powell on a much-diminished Colorado River. The two supply hydropower to about 5 million customers in seven states and about 70 percent of the water for irrigation that sustains a $15 billion-a-year agricultural industry that supplies 90 percent of U.S. winter vegetables.

And, yes, consumption of coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, rebounded in 2022.

So, despite the rather significant headwinds, let's not forget that we humans made progress. Specifically, the policy breakthrough of the Inflation Reduction Act has the potential to unlock significant progress in the effort to slow and reverse warming temperatures. The law, shaped primarily by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., in his negotiations with the Biden administration, provides $374 billion in climate spending, the most aggressive piece of climate legislation ever. For decades to come, billions of dollars will be funneled toward new energy transition, putting electric cars and charging stations all along our highways and accelerating the development of longer-lasting batteries. Already much progress, there, is being made.

The new law makes it easier to deploy renewable energy, build out green technologies and subsidize consumer adoption of green technology. Experts on energy modeling predict the law will eliminate 4 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

More: Coming toward the end of the year, negotiators at the COP15 United Nations Biodiversity Conference in Montreal delivered a big win in a pledge by 195 nations to protect and restore at least 30 percent of the Earth's land and water by 2030. Rich nations also committed to pay an estimated $30 billion per year by 2030 to poorer nations in part through a new biodiversity fund.

So, yes, we are not going at this alone. And we must not. We need partners. This is a global crisis and we must be on war footing all around the world.

We have but one earth, but if the current trendline is not turned back, birds and bugs and plants won't be the only species threatened with extinction.