climate crisis

The biggest challenge in front of the entire world is the climate crisis. This is going to be worse because the US and China had not its greenhouse emissions. If we want to meet their Paris emission targets, a new synthesis of United Nations data suggests we will have to increase our working speed by 4 times. climate change

though it seems to be a herculean task, but we do not need to be hopeless. There are solutions available to control climate change.

A new report from the nonprofit Project Drawdown analyzed the potential of dozens of solutions and found that we could reach what the organization calls “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.

“Drawdown is a critical turning point for life on Earth, and we must strive to reach it quickly, safely, and equitably,” says the report.

Having already lost an entire decade to inaction, and recently receiving a glimpse of some very frightening consequences – the devastating loss of wildlife from Australia’s unprecedented summer of fires and the melting of oldest ice areas of Arctic have led the urgency of such solutions are surely clear.

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Project Drawdown estimates that by implementing the 76 solutions they’ve outlined, it would result in savings of up to around US$144 trillion of avoided climate damage and pollution-related healthcare costs. While the upfront cost could be up to US$26.2 trillion, this plan would allow us to achieve peak carbon dioxide by as early as the mid-2040s.

When the scientists grouped their solutions by sector, they were ranked like this:

  1. Energy
  2. Food waste, agriculture, land rehabilitation
  3. Industry
  4. Building efficiency
  5. Transport

“We found that when we add together the 80-plus solutions to climate change, and these already exist, we have enough to get drawdown by between the 2040s and the 2060s depending on how decisively we act,” co-author and climate scientist Jonathan Foley told the ABC.

The review outlines three key areas: reducing emission sources, protecting and increasing the natural systems that cycle these chemicals, and how to achieve these things while simultaneously improving society.

To control the 2 degrees of warming, these are the most important things to focus on for climate change:

  1. Reduced food waste
  2. Health and education
  3. Plant-rich diets
  4. Refrigerant management
  5. Tropical forest restoration
  6. Onshore wind
  7. Alternative refrigerants
  8. Utility-scale solar power
  9. Improved clean cookstoves
  10. Distributed solar power

A recent analysis from Stanford researchers also suggests such a shift is entirely possible with current technology, but unlike Project Drawdown which focused for shifting towards nuclear energy to fulfill the power demand, they believe this can be achieved entirely with renewable energy and do not agree nuclear power is necessary.

Some of Project Drawdown’s suggested solutions, like switching to LED lighting and battery storage power, create nearly immediate savings.

To stop at 1.5 degrees warming, the list is slightly different:

  1. Onshore wind power
  2. Utility-scale solar power
  3. Reduced food waste
  4. Plant-rich diets
  5. Health and education
  6. Tropical forest restoration
  7. Improved clean cookstoves
  8. Distributed solar power
  9. Refrigerant management
  10. Alternative refrigerants

The report highlights the importance of not only preserving but increasing our natural carbon sinks, including protecting ecosystems and changing agricultural practices. Unfortunately, though, world leaders from Australia to Brazil are allowing the destruction of these vital carbon sinks to continue.

The report acknowledges this aspect, pointing out current commitments for mitigating climate change fall far short of what we need and some aspects are “politically unrealistic” at present. But it offers little analysis on how to counter this beyond a brief mention of “building people” power.

It also notes that other powerful solutions, often overlooked, include reducing food waste and providing women with better education and access to healthcare – which empowers them to have smaller families.

“What these results show is the utmost importance of all solutions implemented in parallel,” explained Chad Frischmann, Vice President of Project Drawdown.

“The impacts of these technologies and practices occur only as part of an interconnected, integrated system. It is the implementation of this system of solutions that is the real solution to climate change.”

Rather than argue in favour of changing our rampant consumerist culture or curtailing economic growth, they point out money is fuel for change. As such, the researchers favour shifts towards a circular economy and moving capital from the sources of problems to the solutions.

Nevertheless, it is a useful guide for individuals, communities and businesses ready to forge ahead with much-needed changes, regardless of the challenges.

The review acknowledges that facing the climate crisis is an overwhelming task, but reminds us it is “also an invitation into deeply meaningful work.”

“Business leaders can really step up and lead, not just be followers, not just be pushed by governments, but maybe help shape what regulations could be in the future to take advantage of this new emerging economy,” Foley told Fast Company. “The smart businesses are not going to be just dragged kicking and screaming to a climate-safe future. They’re going to be leading it.”

The full review of the analysis of all 76 solutions can be found in The Drawdown Review.


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