The Download: good climate news, and promising pixels

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Scientists are loudly warning that the world is running out of time to avoid dangerous warming levels. The picture is grim. But if you know where to look, there are a few bright spots shining through the darkness.

New technologies that can help address climate change, from heat pumps to solar panels to EVs, are coming to the market and getting cheaper. Climate policy is also developing, from incentives to support new technology to rule-making around pollution. 

And efforts to help the most vulnerable nations adapt to climate change are growing. Read on for a few of those bright spots that our climate reporters saw in 2023

—Casey Crownhart, James Temple & June Kim

These minuscule pixels are poised to take augmented reality by storm

Google Glass, a prototype augmented-reality headset released in April 2013, had the makings of a hit. But Glass was awkward to wear and struggled to deliver a sharp, bright image outdoors. Then came the “glasshole” backlash.

The implications were clear. Hands-free augmented reality (AR) was fun on paper, but with tensions over Big Tech’s influence mounting, it couldn’t overcome the stigma of making people look like extras in a cyberpunk flick.  

Now, more than a decade later, the future Google envisioned—and much more—is on the brink of becoming reality. Tiny new displays, some small enough to fit on the tip of your finger, will contain micro-LEDs and micro-OLEDs—and they’re set to deliver a wave of headsets that may convert even the most ardent AR skeptics. Read the full story.

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