Portugal now gets 70% of its power from renewable sources – 46 countries use at least 60% clean electricity. Photograph: Rui Rebelo/10:10
This year, the US is on track to install one solar energy system every four minutes. Not bad you might think, especially in a country where powerful oil and gas interests are keen to block progress on clean energy.
But there is a country that knocks the baseballing nation for a cricketing six – Bangladesh.
Individual examples of this sort of practical, grassroots climate action are impressive and inspiring, but rarely reported.
So this year, we're publishing our second annual "it's happening" gallery designed to inspire, excite and counter the insidious narrative from the climate sceptics and go-slowers, that the UK is engaged in some kind of unique and isolated climate folly.
It's not an exhaustive survey of global climate action, we make no claims for its comprehensiveness. It is a ticker tape of examples from around the world of individuals, communities, businesses and yes even other countries putting in place the building blocks of a low-carbon world.
Some are on a grand scale – such as Spain's concentrated solar power stations which, by super-heating molten salts that hold their heat for many hours, can generate clean power from the sun at night. In France, the next generation of the TGV will use 20% less energy and carry 25% more passengers.
Some examples are simply charming: the rhinos at Whipsnade zoo now wallow in a renewably heated pool.
Of course these collectively are nowhere near the carbon cuts we need. While some are significant, others are pinpricks. The point here though is not the combined clean kilowatt hours generated or the total CO2 saved.
There are plenty of sobering presentations by eminent academics which will show you the forbidding scale of the cuts we must make. Alongside this sort of serious assessment of the task at hand, and the recent sobering IPCC report, we need a positive vision of what a low-carbon world might look like.
Campaigners are great at policy roadmaps for the low-carbon transitions of this or that sector (I've written a few myself). This is not one of those. Instead it offers a glimpse of the world as it can be, showing that those mountainous IPCC graphs can be climbed and that people are setting off on their own journey to scale them. They are not waiting for Nigel Lawson and Peter Lilley to see scientific sense or for the Treasury to decide it's cost effective.
Humanity has the ability to tackle climate change – it just lacks the inclination. Alongside a fear of the consequences of inaction must come an optimistic sense that "doing it low-carbon" is not just possible but often better; and far from treading a lonely path, we are part of a global community taking practical action. Climate sceptics seek not only to cast doubt on the science but also to convince us we are alone in our endeavour.
These examples show communities taking action to tackle climate change whether or not the world's governments get their act together and come up with a global agreement (though it would make things easier if they did). Perhaps we could call this climate optimism – a full appreciation of the gravity of the science, combined with faith in the ability of humanity to come up with a solution, and a willingness to get stuck in to make it happen.
A few years ago the only signs that we were moving to a low-carbon future were compact florescent lightbulbs and the odd hydrid car. Now the world around us is (all too slowly) learning how to go low-carbon. From the transformation of much loved icons of the community – Middlesbrough FC will soon be powered by wind – to other invisible but no less important changes, such as Bath converting its streetlights to highly efficient LEDs. Or Chicago, which is doing the same to its traffic lights. Then there's Portugal, which now gets 70% of its power from renewable sources.