According to the latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world already has the tools to solve climate change. However, they cannot be implemented due to behind-the-scenes politics.
One of the key points the report highlights is the decreasing costs of solar and wind energy. Since 2010, the overall price of solar and wind has decreased by 85%. As a result, it hasn’t just become viable, it is a cheaper alternative to fossil fuels.
Yet, despite both the economical and environmental benefits of speeding up the installation rate, governments around the world continue to heavily rely on dirtier and more expensive fossil fuels for their energy needs.
Truly the only thing standing in the way of the world from avoiding irreversible climate damage is politics.
How Can The World Solve Climate Change?
For starters, the world needs to ditch fossil fuels. And as the report had made clear, we already have clean alternatives to fossil fuels that are not just healthier options, but economically viable. Doing so would grant every nation energy independence.
Therefore, no nation would ever have leverage over another as a result of energy exports.
While this is a long-term process, in the short term, we can eliminate methane emissions. At the very least, we significantly reduce them. While natural gas is cleaner than other fossil fuels, when measuring for carbon, it is much dirtier than it gets credit for.
The sad part is that most of them are avoidable. By capping gas lines and preventing leaking in pipes, a majority of the emissions can be eliminated.
Of course, energy is just one piece of the puzzle. Reshaping urban areas to be more walker-friendly is simple and highly effective. Combine that with better public transportation systems, and you can eliminate a lot of emissions.
And let’s not forget the electrification of the car fleet. Although, this one seems inevitable at the moment.
By implementing energy changes, and other key infrastructure, the world can see a global emissions drop between 40% and 70% by 2050. This would not only achieve climate goals but would improve the living conditions around the world.
Carbon Removal Will Be Key
One of the most misunderstood aspects of climate change is the importance of carbon removal technologies and policies.
Stopping new carbon emissions is only the first step. In truth, all of the emissions since the dawn of the industrial age are still in our atmosphere. In fact, it takes between 300 and 1,000 years for carbon to disappear from the atmosphere.
That’s just too long and can lead to the planet continuing to warm, even at current levels. Instead, the second step is to begin removing that carbon.
There are two main ways to do this. The first is reforestation methods that help restore forests or plant new ones. Trees and other flora are a very efficient way of removing carbon from the atmosphere. However, there are limits to it.
Especially as more land becomes urbanized.
The other method is to use technology to remove carbon from the atmosphere. In some cases, they are like a big vacuum that sucks in carbon dioxide. Others use filters that capture carbon dioxide molecules from the air.
The problem is that both of these only work on a small scale. Thus, they can’t remove the necessary amount from our atmosphere, especially when we are continuously adding more. That said, technology gets better every year thanks to new research.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.