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Annie Gugliotta

Earth Day 2023: Show me the money

The theme of this year's Earth Day on Saturday is "Invest in Climate." One of the key messages is that "businesses, governments, and civil society are equally responsible for taking action against the climate crisis." But they are not equally motivated.

Businesses invest for profit. Governments spend to achieve political goals. And civil society's pockets are ... empty.

Meanwhile, roughly $5 trillion is needed to help the planet transition to clean energy by the end of the decade. Most of that money would go to the developing world, which is historically less responsible for polluting the planet but disproportionately suffers the impacts of climate change.

Yet the official statement doesn't even mention climate finance. Why?

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Climate activists march from the White House to the US Capitol.

Bryan Olin Dozier via Reuters Connect

(Un)happy Earth Day?

Usually, the run-up to Earth Day features a steady drumbeat of governments pledging more climate action, the UN telling us it’s (almost) too late to save the planet, and developing countries bickering with wealthy ones over who's most responsible for cutting emissions. On April 23, everyone moves on, and the momentum dies until it picks up again weeks before the annual COP summit in the fall.

Not this year.

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A history of Earth Day and the climate movement: river on fire
A History of Earth Day and the Climate Movement: River On Fire | GZERO World

A history of Earth Day and the climate movement: river on fire

Ian Bremmer explains how a fire on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio, in the summer of 1969, set the conservation movement ablaze in the United States. A TIME Magazine article about the fire led to the Clean Water Act, creation of the EPA, and the first Earth Day—April 22, 1970. Over 50 years later, citizens of the world agree that climate change is a global emergency. But how can nations come together to find solutions that are truly attainable?

Watch the GZERO World episode: Can We Fix the Planet the Same Way We Broke It?

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