As the climate crisis continues to show its hand ― through catastrophic fires, scorching summers, powerful hurricanes and melting Arctic ice ― a debate rages as to how we should respond. Some, recently Jonathan Franzen writing in The New Yorker, suggest we should accept what they say is now an unstoppable, impending catastrophe. But many others, from scientists to those taking part in the global climate strikes this week and next, say there is still hope.
Those advocating optimism can find support in a new study, published on Thursday, which says that the world can halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 if it concentrates on 36 key solutions, including solar and wind power, electric cars and reduced red meat consumption.
The Exponential Climate Action Roadmap, compiled by 55 experts across science, academia, policy and consultancy, aims to serve as a plan of action to keep the world within 1.5 degrees Celcius of warming (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), consistent with the target set in the Paris climate change agreement to keep global temperature rises well below 2 degrees C (3.6 F). Beyond this, the possibility of the world tipping into unstoppable and catastrophic climate change becomes much more likely.
These ideas are not new, and many are already happening. It’s the pace of change that’s the problem.
“While solutions exist,” the report says, “the scale of transformation requires system-wide action accelerated by climate leadership, much stronger policy, finance and exponential technologies.”
Here’s a look at some of the report’s key suggestions:
Solar and wind are cheaper ― stop propping up fossil fuels
While investment continues to pour into fossil fuels, and governments around the world pay out $5.2 trillion in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, solar and wind power are now in many instances cheaper. Last year, renewables accounted for nearly 75% of all electricity installations, according to the report.
Allowing renewables like...