Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Climate Solutions by Scaling Up Solutions Together

An important thing to realize for anyone thinking about the Climate Crisis is that things are Not Hopeless. In fact, the Solutions the World needs to tackle Climate Change already Exist.

We could Reach Drawdown, the point where Greenhouse Gas Levels in the Atmosphere Peak and begin to Drop, as early as 2040, if All of the Solutions are Scaled Up Together.

All of the Solutions need to be Deployed in Combination, but some Rise to the Top as most Impactful, and they aren’t necessarily what most People would consider First.

Looking at what it would take to Limit Warming to 2 degrees Celsius, the Top Solution is Reducing Food Waste, which could Reduce more than 87 Gigatons of CO2 over the next Few Decades.

That’s followed by: Health and Education; Educating Girls; and Providing Access to Reproductive Health Care, leads to Young Women choosing to have Fewer Children, which in turn has a Major Impact on Emissions.

Third is Switching People En Masse to a Plant-Rich Diet, since Meat and Dairy Production is a Significant Source of Emissions.

Next is Managing Refrigerants, the Ultra-Polluting Chemicals that can Leak from Air Conditioners and Refrigerators.

That’s followed by Restoring Tropical Forests, which play a Crucial Role in Sequestering Carbon from the Atmosphere.

To Stop at 2 degrees of Warming, these are the Most Important things to Follow Next:

- Onshore Wind
- Alternative Refrigerants
- Utility-Scale Solar Power
- Improved Clean Cook Stoves
- Distributed Solar Power

To move Faster and Limit Global Warming to 1.5 degrees, Ranking the Solutions in a slightly Different Order:

- Onshore Wind Turbines
- Solar Photovoltaics
- Reducing Food Waste
- Plant-Rich Diets
- Health and Education
- Tropical Forest Restoration
- Improved Clean Cook Stoves
- Distributed Solar Power
- Refrigerant Management
- Alternative Refrigerants

While the Ranking is Interesting, it doesn’t really matter whether a particular Solution is Higher than another, since Everything needs to happen, including the Solutions that Rank Lower, from Smart Thermostats to Bike Infrastructure.

Illustrating the Emissions coming from Various Sectors, Agriculture and Land Use are as Polluting as Power Plants. On the other side, the Ocean and Land Absorb some Greenhouse Gases from the Atmosphere, though obviously Not Enough to keep up with the Current Rate of Human-caused Emissions. The Complexity shows why such a Diversity of Solutions is needed Simultaneously, Solar Panels and Electric Cars are only a Small Part of the Answer.

The Challenge now is making the Changes in Policy, Business, Urban Design, and Culture to Actually Implement each of these Solutions.

The Estimates that Implementation might Cost $23.4-$26.2 Trillion but would Save $96.4-$143.5 Trillion.

Businesses must play a Key Role. Some, of course, are already Moving Faster than Others, such as Microsoft, which Plans to be Carbon Negative by 2030 and then Reduce More Carbon by 2050 than it has Emitted in its History as a Company, or Intuit, which Plans to Reduce Carbon Emissions 50 times Greater than its Current Carbon Footprint by 2030.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

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