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Points of Progress: Germany will shut down all 84 of its coal-fired power plants, and more

Why We Wrote This

A roundup of the world’s good news for the March 04, 2019 weekly magazine.

Thilo Schmuelgen/Reuters/File
Uniper’s Scholven coal power plant is seen in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.

Germany

The country is shutting down all 84 of its coal-fired power plants. Germany is one of the world’s biggest coal consumers, and it has been missing its emissions reduction targets in recent years. The new plan, which aims to shut down all plants over the next 19 years, will enable it to meet its international commitments for emissions reduction. Currently, 40 percent of Germany’s electricity comes from coal-fired plants. (Los Angeles Times)

United States

Dayton, Ohio, has recorded notable declines in opioid overdose deaths in the past year. The city had one of the highest rates of overdoses in 2017. However, in 2018, outreach and investment in the infrastructure of addiction treatment networks cut overdose deaths by 50 percent. The number of opioid overdose deaths have also been dropping across the United States. (The New York Times)

Colombia

Fernando Vergara/AP
Volunteers prepare free lunches for Venezuelan migrants in La Parada, Colombia, on Feb. 11.

The country has welcomed Venezuelan migrants over the past few years. While Colombia’s resources have been strained by the recent influx of immigrants as the crisis in Venezuela worsens, it has nevertheless set a high standard for absorbing millions of displaced people. The government’s efforts to integrate and register migrants have drawn the attention of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which is currently seeking funding to support Colombia’s efforts. Experts say Colombia is motivated in part by its own history with forced migration, in which millions fled the country’s decades-long civil war. (The Atlantic)

Angola

In January, the country banned discrimination based on sexual orientation and decriminalized same-sex relations. Angola gained independence from Portugal in 1975, and the laws are part of Angola’s first new penal code written since then. The country has enacted a series of reforms through the new laws. (The Associated Press)

China and India

The world is getting greener, thanks to China and India. A satellite imagery study conducted by NASA revealed that the world’s total green leaf area has increased by 5 percent since 2000 (though deforestation continues to negatively affect certain important ecosystems). India and China have the largest populations in the world, and are often ranked among the most polluted. However, the two countries are responsible for a full third of the increase in green foliage noted by NASA, due to tree-planting projects and expanded agriculture. (CNN)

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