2022 is a tough year, with Britain tending to be hit harder than the rest of the G7 – a club of the world’s wealthiest democracies.
Russia’s bloody attack on Ukraine Leading to a sharp rise in energy costs.
a global cost of living crisis It has been driven by surging inflation and interest rates.
Stressed-out workers across the public sector are on strike across the UK.
Unprecedented political turmoil in the ruling Conservative Party has meant three different prime ministers in the same year.
At the same time, billions of people are grappling with digital technology and connectivity. Some worry that social media makes traditional representative democracy impossible, while ceding power to dictators and unaccountable corporations. Online communication undoubtedly makes us angrier and less tolerant of others.
World population exceeds 8 billion This year, the existential pressure humans have put on the planet has increased even further. Extreme weather events due to global warming are more frequent than ever.
Globally, the coronavirus pandemic has claimed more than 6 million lives and it’s not over yet, with an additional million expected to die in China as the Chinese Communist Party rolls back its zero-coronavirus policy.
Taken together, these issues paint a dark picture of life in 2022, but there are silver linings if we grapple with them. As we enter the new year, I want to chase away the gloom and find some reasons to be happy.
Ukraine war brings hope and unity
No one should take lightly the horrors of the war in Ukraine, which has claimed tens of thousands of lives on both sides and is still enduring sabotage by modern European aggressors. Russia’s size advantage may still mean that Ukraine will never be able to reclaim all of its territory.
Still, the course of the war so far confuses everyone President Vladimir Putin’s Calculated and shattered the dreams of dictatorships elsewhere. Russia was conquered in a matter of days.
Western democracies have not proven to be weak and mercenary. NATO is not “brain dead” as President Macron mocked it years ago. It was stronger, and Finland and Sweden joined a military alliance.
Led by the United States, Britain and Poland, Western countries have provided billions of dollars in military aid while hosting refugees. Equally important, President Volodymyr Zelensky’s impassioned speech to a joint session of the United States Congress emphasized that the Ukrainian people and their leaders’ desire for freedom, peace and democracy remind us all of the values that should unite us Which ones are worth fighting for.
No matter where you get the podcast, subscribe to Sky News Daily with one click
Despite all the mistakes of British Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Liz Truth, they have provided solid support to Ukraine, even though it will affect their key post-Brexit foreign policy from Europe. From now on, the British government may recognize the importance of a good relationship with the UK’s closest and largest trading bloc, one based on pragmatic cooperation rather than ideology.
There is no turning back from leaving the EU. But the UK has a chance to enter a new phase without obsessing over the European problems that have plagued the Conservative Party since at least the 1990s and, in the process, the country as a whole.
Conservative governments no longer have an excuse to distract themselves from more important issues such as growth, productivity and equity.
Opinion polls and recent local and by-elections suggest voters may be ready for change if the ruling party does not adapt and address these issues.
Regardless of the outcome of the next election, it is a sign of a healthy democracy. The increasingly restless peoples of Russia, China, and Iran, for example, cannot enjoy these things.
In this year’s Western elections, the tide appears to be turning against the populist leader with Russia ties.
The candidate most closely associated with Donald Trump, who has called Putin a “genius,” underperformed in November’s midterm elections. Democrats retain control of the Senate. In France, President Macron was re-elected in April, defeating a challenge from the far-right National Party’s Marine Le Pen.
Future technology that changes the rules of the game
In the modern communication age, the world should not and cannot be de-globalized. However, the shock of Russia’s energy loss has led to greater emphasis on the importance of producing our own green energy and trading with friendly and stable partners.
2022 will be a record year for renewable energy projects, a trend that was already accelerating before the Ukrainian invasion.
Other scientific breakthroughs this year point to game-changing future technologies. In the United States, experimenters have achieved the first fusion of atoms, producing more energy than was used to trigger it.
Chinese scientists claim to have found a way to electrolyze brine to produce hydrogen. Applied on an industrial scale, this would significantly increase the supply and price of potentially “green” fuels.
A test case from Amazon
This year there are two major world conferences on the environment – COP27 on climate change in Egypt and COP15 on biodiversity in Canada.
Neither was dramatic, but both reaffirmed promises that were already moving in the right direction. Crucially, at both summits, wealthier countries agreed to remove one of the biggest obstacles to faster action.
They agreed, albeit much more in principle than in practice, to pay poorer countries for the loss and destruction caused by Western industrialization and to protect vital ecosystems. Both are a struggle against time and the rate of degradation.
Brazil will be a test case. Deforestation in the Amazon has increased dramatically, encouraged by outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro. Lula da Silva, who took office in January, successfully campaigned on a pledge to achieve zero deforestation in rainforests, wetlands and savannahs. He reappointed a highly loyal environment minister,
Marina Silva, and increased the budget for the fight against destruction.
We live longer and healthier
68.7% of the world’s population has now received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. A total of 13 billion doses have been distributed. The disease is becoming less lethal.
This year, a vaccine against malaria is also possible. Global life expectancy rises to 73 years by 2022, albeit at 0.24%. Women born in the UK this year are expected to live to be 83 years old – 21 years longer than the average lifespan for women born in 1926, the year Queen Elizabeth II was born.
Life expectancy growth has leveled off in the UK and US. The most dramatic progress has been in poorer countries. Today, 9.2% of the world’s population lives in what is defined as extreme poverty, up from 36% in 1990. That’s still over a billion people. During the same period, deaths among children aged five and under fell from 34,200 to 14,200 per day.
The pioneers believe humanity is on the verge of a bigger revolution in preventive and curative medicine, thanks to the use of artificial intelligence techniques to map the human genome and proteins, and the possibility of gene editing called CRISPR.
A Better Tech World
We have no control over the way online technology has changed every aspect of our lives. Authoritarian regimes use it to control information and their own citizens. In a free society, trolls and conspiracy theorists spread lies around the world with the help of bots from hostile countries.
Normal people will vilify others and “cancel” them on social media. Jeremy Clarkson’s casually nasty comments about Meghan Markle are the latest example of what has riled both sides.
At the same time, technology companies and entrepreneurs have become incredibly rich.
Where Do Our Christmas Traditions Come From?
Sky News editor casts judgment on what might happen next
In 2022, we begin to respond with hesitation to this folly. The U.S. government has legislated to prohibit the transfer of strategically important technology to China. The UK government considered fundamental issues in the Online Safety Act. The EU opposes the US tech cartel.
FTX fell into fraud and burst the cryptocurrency bubble. Elon Musk’s disgraceful mismanagement of Twitter showed the world that technical genius is not the answer to all problems. A better, less unbalanced tech world should emerge from all this, especially since new generations are growing up in it.
Outside of the metaverse, digging deeper into the realms of politics, health and the environment will reveal some reasons to be happy at the end of the year.
All the same in 2023, as teachers write at the bottom of their report cards, must do better.