- Last Updated: 17 January 2016 17 January 2016
Action is not enough. To be useful, actions should help the world energy and resource systems make a timely transition to sustainability for the short and long term. To know what helps and what doesn't, learn about earth systems and conditions lead to a stabilization of CO2 in the atmosphere. Learning opens up new vistas and pathways for transformation. It is a practical and critically-important step that individuals can take in response to climate change.
This short webpage introduces a small number of ideas and concepts that were chosen so they might inspire learning about the earth system, CO2 stabilization and related matters. Regardless of which sources of learning and transformation inspire you the most, consider making a deliberate decision to pursue learning about systems and stabilization.
Innovate to Zero
In 2010, BIll Gates gave a TED Talk, "Innovating to Zero." In the talk, he acknowledges advice he received from scientists on the inevitable need for global CO2 emissions to drop to zero. And it acknowledges the need to end global climate change in order to preserve humanitarian advances that are being seen in many other fields.
Gates' talk points to a particular response: 4th generation nuclear energy. The talk is not posted to promote this single prescription. It is not to promote technology as a standalone response to global environmental problems. The purpose is to promote the idea that people and societies have the capacity to advance human ingenuity and innovation to get to zero emissions. Regardless of your thoughts on the prescription Bill Gates is presenting, consider his talk as one good example of miixing purpose and innovation to develop pathways to outcomes as difficult as 'zero CO2 emissions.' Afterall, innovation reveals many pathways, including pathways that today seem unimaginable.
Divest from Fossil Fuels
Money talks. Money matters. Individuals and groups can influence change by making deliberate investment decisions. Moving money from fossil fuel infrastructure to alternative, carbon-free energy says a lot. You might say that it helps inject wisdom and intelligence into the market system. And that's a good thing, right?
Leading the way, students and educators around the world are persuading college and university administrations to move institutional money from fossil fuel investments--and make investments that align with a prosperous future.Consider this excerpt from an open letter signed by more than 300 faculty at Stanford University in California, USA:
If a university seeks to educate extraordinary youth so they may achieve the brightest possible future, what does it mean for that university simultaneously to invest in the destruction of that future?
~ 300+ Faculty at Stanford University
Stanford Faculty Divest 2015 letter to support fossil fuel divestment
Fossil Free Stanford Students pledge disobedience unless Stanford divests
Go Fossil Free Home Page | Learn how to divest in your part of the world
Rolling Stone McKibben (2013) The case for fossil-fuel divestment
Rolling Stone McKibben (2012) Global warming's terrifying new math
About 90% of global CO2 emissions comes from burning fossil fuels. If humanity is to achieve zero CO2 emissions and create a future without non-renewable fossil fuels, the global energy system requires transformation. Energy infrastructure needs to be replaced with infrastructure for renewables.
The Solutions Project (USA) Transition to 100% clean, renewable energy
Rising CO2 and other global environmental challenges involve complex earth and human systems. To comprehend the challenges and effective responses, it helps to think in systems. Many schools, teachers and resources are available to assist people while learning about systems. A very short, introductory list of resources is offered below. It is sure to grow over time.
Centre for EcoLiteracy Seven lessons for leaders in systems change
University of Oslo Transformation 2013 Conference Video & Proceedings
Pathways for Decarbonization
Rome wasn't built in a day. The development of any new system takes time. There are so many details, it is impossible to make all the decisions in advance. In these complex situations, a clear direction enhances effectiveness. Defining a pathway enables a shared sense of how advances are made. Climate response pathways are commonly discussed, and many options exist.
Aiming to mix ambition and practicality, the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) is introduced as an approach that deserves consideration.
The DDPP is a collaborative initiative to understand and show how individual countries can transition to a low-carbon economy. It shows that the world can meet the internationally-agreed target of limiting global average surface temperature to less than 2°C. Avoiding this threshold means global net GHG emissions need to approach zero by the second half of the century. This will take a profound transformation of energy systems between now and 2050 through steep declines in carbon intensity throught the economy. The researchers call this transmortation “deep decarbonization.”
The DDPP publishes pathways for the world and 15 countries. The single link below takes you to the DDPP site and host of publications and tools for designing a tranformative pathway to decarbonization.
Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project DDPP Website