We have every tool we need to tackle the climate crisis. Here’s what some key sectors are doing
The climate emergency is the biggest threat to civilisation we have ever faced. But there is good news: we already have every tool we need to beat it. The challenge is not identifying the solutions, but rolling them out with great speed.
Some key sectors are already racing ahead, such as electric cars. They are already cheaper to own and run in many places – and when the purchase prices equal those of fossil-fueled vehicles in the next few years, a runaway tipping point will be reached.
Electricity from renewables is now the cheapest form of power in most places, sometimes even cheaper than continuing to run existing coal plants. There’s a long way to go to meet the world’s huge energy demand, but the plummeting costs of batteries and other storage technologies bodes well.
And many big companies are realising that a failure to invest will be far more expensive as the impacts of global heating destroy economies. Even some of the biggest polluters, such as cement and steel, have seen the green writing on the wall.
Buildings are big emitters but the solution – improved energy efficiency – is simple to achieve and saves the occupants money, particularly with the cost of installing technology such as heat pumps expected to fall.
Stopping the razing of forests requires no technology at all, but it does require government action. While progress is poor – and Bolsonaro’s Brazil is going backwards – countries such as Indonesia have shown regulatory action can be effective. Protecting and restoring forests, particularly by empowering indigenous people, is a potent tool.
Recognition of the role food and farming play in driving global heating is high, and the solutions, from alternatives to meat to regenerative farming, are starting to grow. As with fossil fuels, ending vast and harmful subsidies is key, and there are glimmers of hope here, too.