Much of the talk about climate action focusses on renewable energy and electric cars. The latest National Greenhouse inventory gives the following pie chart by sector:
Few have addressed the entire problem, not even the IPCC, until Paul Hawken, of Natural Capitalism fame, set to work.
Back in June John D sent me the link to the Vox article A new book ranks the top 100 solutions to climate change. The results are surprising with an exhortation Definitely a must read for anyone interested in doing something about climate change. Late, but here it is. Hawken says that if we carry on as we are in a realistically vigorous manner, we will fail. We can succeed, he says, if we adopt and optimise all the solutions available to us, with technology that already exists.
His top solution is educating girls and family planning. In combination they would see 1.1 billion fewer people on the planet come 2050, and will save more emissions than on- and offshore wind power combined. Together educating girls and family planning could reduce 120 gigatons of CO2-equivalent by 2050 — on- and offshore wind power combined would come in at 99 GT.
Here are the plausible solutions by rank. And here are the top 10:
It is important to note here that Hawken has created three scenarios:
Plausible Scenario: the case in which solutions on the Drawdown list are adopted at a realistically vigorous rate over the time period under investigation, adjusting for estimated economic and population growth.
Drawdown Scenario: the case in which the adoption of solutions is optimized to achieve drawdown by 2050.
Optimum Scenario: the case in which solutions achieve their maximum potential, fully replacing conventional technologies and practices within a limited, competitive market.
Plausible Scenario is where we carry on as we are in a realistically vigorous manner, which, he says, will lead to failure, so clearly we should head for the other two, preferably the Optimum Scenario, where onshore wind becomes the top solution. Nevertheless educating girls and family planning combined would still come in second.
An alphabetical list of solutions has been developed, which can then be sorted into the categories Electricity generation, Food, Women and girls, Buildings and cities, Land use, Transport, Materials, and finally Coming attractions, that is, technologies which show promise but have not yet been fully developed.
A website Drawdown has been established, which I’ve been linking to above. The important thing to note is that Hawken used a team of 70 research fellows from 22 countries who set out to “map, measure, and model” the 100 most substantive solutions to climate change, using only peer-reviewed research. And the project is current – another book is planned on the future attractions.
Meanwhile our own Ozzie government has completed what the Climate Council called a “data dump: Carbon pollution and climate review”. Josh Frydenberg had an article in the AFR making out he’d done a Hawken, but the Climate Council is not impressed:
- Australia’s carbon pollution levels have increased for a third consecutive year.
- The Australian government has proposed no new credible policies to help cut Australia’s pollution levels.
- We are in the critical window of opportunity to act on climate change, yet the Federal Government’s climate policy is failing.
Sounds like business as usual.
Hawken believes that the Trump government’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement has little import. He believes states and cities have led on climate change. Unfortunately our government does tend to get in the way.
I commend to you my 2013 post Climate change: reconnecting politics with reality.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Here’s the image that graced the AFR report yesterday about where this country is heading:
I have heard muttering about buying cheap overseas carbon credits and a continuation of the strange Emissions Reduction Fund, which seems to find savings we never suspected were there, giving money to people to do what they were going to do anyway, or not to do what they were not going to do. The same may be said about offshore credits. Worth a look, because clearly there is magic at work.