eOne of us would love someone still alive in the year 2100, says climate activist Aisha Siddiqah. This beloved person will either encounter a world in climate chaos or a clean and green utopia, depending on what we do today.
It is a powerful reason to act, and offers hope that the will for transformative change can be found. But are there more concrete reasons for optimism in combating the climate emergency? The challenge is undoubtedly enormous: carbon emissions have not yet begun to fall and must be halved by 2030 to avoid the worst outcomes.
However, the situation is far from hopeless. From the explosive growth of green solutions to the power of protest, experts say there is a clear path to harm reduction. The question is how fast we can travel.
Says Solitaire Townsend, Co-Founder of Change Agency FUTERRA. “The vast majority of solutions have a really big benefit to our health, well-being, income and standard of living around the world. We are in a race between Armageddon and awesome.”
The bright light of climate hope is the exponential growth of cheaper renewable energy, which is now providing 75% of the total new energy Coal has fallen to only 4%. important talk The study found that the rapid transition Clean energy would save trillions of dollars, even without accounting for the massive damage that continued use of fossils would cause. Even climate deniers should be aware of this, Study author Professor Dwayne Farmer says: at the University of Oxford.
Electric vehicle sales are also on the rise. sales in china Doubled year on year in Augustto over 500,000. These two green technologies have bypassed tipping points in many places—now they are simply so good and cheap that a quick takeover is inevitable.
These positive tipping points are crucial, says Professor Tim Linton of the University of Exeter: “We need to move five times faster than we do in decarbonizing the global economy. So finding and unleashing the positive tipping points is a way to create the necessary acceleration of change.” . Pushing critical sectors more quickly towards tipping points is the goal of a little-reported but potentially very powerful initiative launched at the United Nations Climate Summit in Glasgow in 2021 – hack scheduleSupported by 45 countries including the United States, China, India and the European Union.
“We have to change huge parts of the global economy and do it very quickly,” says Simon Sharpe, director of economics at the UN climate advocacy organization. “You obviously will manage this better if countries work together and focus on making clean technologies and sustainable solutions the most affordable, accessible, and attractive option.”
For example, he says, a global tipping point for electric vehicles could arrive years ago if the largest markets orchestrate the date when all new car sales should be zero-emissions. Similar efforts could also clean up the vital but high-emission sectors of steel and cement.
“Good outcomes at the global level are built on strong local, local and regional action, and in this case, there are reasons for some optimism,” says Bernice Lee, an expert on climate policy at Chatham House. “The Big Four” weAnd the ChinaAnd the India And the European Union They are all taking action, she says.
Moreover, the growing number of Climate-induced extreme disasters Hitting the world now, like the massive floods in Pakistan, is an important catalyst for change. “It’s quite clear that climate impacts would do a fair amount of leverage as a stimulus,” Lee says.
The energy bill crisis in Europe caused by the war in Ukraine encouraged fossil fuel interests to push for new exploitation of oil and gas. But VIPs say that War will eventually boost climate actionDon’t block it. “The case for the global energy transition is more solid now than it was before the invasion,” says Christiana Figueres, a former chief climate official at the United Nations. Once we are on the other side of the current Russian blackmail, no one will want to [held] Hostage again.” Prime Minister of Norway Jonas Jar Store says: “The war is driving a significant acceleration of the installation of solar, offshore wind, hydrogen, and the rest of that.”
Geopolitics is also key to an issue that is now at the heart of the climate challenge: climate finance. The countries of the South, which have not caused global warming, want funding to cut emissions, adapt to the inevitable effects, and recover from the damage caused by extreme weather.
The issue may dominate the next UN climate summit in Egypt in November.
“What needs to happen at COP27 is facility financing for losses, damages and adaptation,” says Sediqah, an activist for Friday For Future Pakistan. “He is fundamental to everything.”
For years, major countries like the United States have withheld such funding, fearing unlimited liability. But there is a movement, as this month Denmark became the The first national government to commit to loss and damage funds. There is also a movement in financing green energy transitions in specific countries, with European countries donate $8.5 billion to South Africa.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres supports the latter idea, in particular targeting the huge profits that the oil and gas industry is currently making. “The fossil fuel industry is feeding on subsidies and windfall profits, while household budgets are shrinking and our planet is on fire,” He said last week. “I call on all advanced economies to tax windfall profits.”
Guterres became unusually blunt: “The fossil fuel industry is killing us.” Another leader speaking out Against fossil fuels is Pope Francis. Attacks like this offer hope by undermining the legitimacy of a powerful sector, which has consistently worked to obstruct climate action.
Perhaps the most powerful voice for action has been that of young activists, whose futures are at stake. They represent our conscience, he tells me: “They do a very important job of helping to hold politicians accountable for the future.”
“We have the power at our disposal,” says Sadaka. “We have the power to change public opinion and culture – we have done it.”
Pressure for action is growing from commercial consumers who, according to Townsend, are demanding change from big companies and advertisers who have a lot of experience shaping what we buy and how we live.
She notes that “internet searches for plant-based diets have increased by 90% over the past year.” “It’s one of Google’s biggest leaps.”
Another bright spot in climate action, which is often overlooked, is global Progress in reducing HFC refrigerantsThey are powerful greenhouse gases that destroy the ozone layer. This measure alone could reduce global warming by 0.5°C. global pledge to slant methaneanother powerful greenhouse gas, made by world leaders, as they did One to stop deforestationalthough previous efforts to protect forests have achieved little.
It will It’s never too late to act. As global temperatures rise, every tenth of a degree avoided means that someone somewhere suffers less. “We need to be as enduring as possible to prevent every 0.1°C rise,” he said. Professor Bill Maguire says:at University College London.
The young activist, Sadaka, says: “We have to make sure of this [our loved ones alive in 2100] Access to all the beauty of the world that we have been able to access and that we leave behind a better world. We need to be good ancestors. That’s the thing that keeps me going.”