As regular readers know, I have a tendency toward gloom. But as the chipper squadrons at Worldchanging and Treehugger oft remind us, it is our obligation to be optimistic. So with that in mind, let’s touch on some recent good news.

BP recently announced that they will create a business unit devoted to clean energy and pour $8 billion of funding into it. Joel Makower, who I trust on such matters, says it’s the real deal:

But it’s clear that this isn’t just a PR ploy. Indeed, BP appears to have been building to this day for quite some time. BP’s chief executive, Lord John Browne, has long been ahead of the pack, dating back to September 1997, when he broke ranks with his big-oil brethren to give an historic speech on climate change — the first time that any oil exec had spoken out on the subject.

It’s a sliver of BP’s overall business, but a sliver of BP is a big deal.

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As Amanda reminded us last week, momentum seems to be inexorably building in Congress to take action to address the twin crises of our time, oil depletion and global warming. Carl Pope notes that even an ardent libertarian like Cato’s Jerry Taylor concedes that coordinated government action is the only way global warming will be addressed.

And finally, back with Joel, who brings news of a coming U.N. report revealing that … oh, hell, I’ll let him tell it:

A newly formed alignment of legal, financial, and investment interests will direct “trillions” of U.S. dollars over the next 10 years into evolving markets linked to climate change, clean technology and sustainable use of natural resources, according to a report being prepared for the United Nations.

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What was once considered a financial niche area is poised to become mainstream as institutions with trillions of dollars under management embed environmental, social and governance thinking into their investment approach …

There, now. Don’t you feel better?