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These 3 solutions could turn the tide of the climate crisis, according to a new analysis


The good news, however, is that there are also a series of “positive tipping points”, according to an analysis published Thursday by researchers from an international group of institutions, including the University of Exeter and Systems Change. World Resources Institute Lab, with support from the Bezos Earth Fund.

These are defined as small climate actions that could have a snowball effect, leading to emission reductions in some of the most polluting sectors of the global economy.

The theory is this: as new technologies begin to overtake older, dirtier versions, enhanced feedback loops are triggered that help a technology improve, become cheaper, and become more accessible.

The idea is to create “self-propelled change,” Tim Lenton, chair of climate change and Earth system science at the University of Exeter and author of the report, told CNN.

The report’s authors acknowledge that triggering these tipping points alone will not be enough to achieve global climate goals. But as time is running out to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, targeted action can be a powerful lever, they say.

“In the face of an otherwise huge climate and ecological crisis…maybe we can be part of a change that will happen faster than we think,” Lenton said.

The report identifies three “points of super-leverage”: relatively low-cost or low-difficulty interventions that could have the greatest impacts on decarbonizing the global economy.

Electric vehicles

A tipping point is already “very close” for electric vehicles, the report says. Electric vehicles accounted for 10% of all cars sold last year, driven by sales in China and Europe.

To be on track for a net-zero fleet by 2050, electric vehicles need to account for around 60% of new passenger car sales by 2060, according to the report, which says electric vehicle sales mandates could to be a “particularly powerful policy” to push forward. a tipping point.

As demand increases, production costs are falling, including for lithium batteries, which have seen their costs fall by 90% over the past 10 years, according to the report.

Electric vehicles overtaking gasoline-powered cars could also have positive implications for other sectors requiring battery storage, such as wind and solar.

“The electrification of cars means a tipping point for ever cheaper batteries, and cheaper batteries could be a really valuable and cheap source of electricity storage to enable the transition to renewables,” Lenton said. .

vegetable proteins

Meat has a huge impact on the climate. Livestock accounts for 14.5% of man-made emissions that warm the planet.

Plant proteins – things like beans, lentils, peas and nuts – produce up to 90% fewer emissions than meat. They are also catching up with meat in cost, as well as flavor. But they currently have a small market share.

Beef burger or fish sandwich?  These menu labels encourage people to eat less red meat, study finds

If public institutions such as schools, hospitals and governments used their purchasing power to buy plant-based protein instead of meat, it could be a “powerful lever to increase the adoption of these products”, said the authors of the report.

This policy shift could also help shift social norms around herbal products and increase their appeal, Lenton said.

Moving away from animal products would have the added benefits of reducing agricultural emissions, freeing up land to support wildlife and carbon storage, and reducing incentives for deforestation.

Green manure

According to the report, increasing the production of “green manures” could not only reduce emissions from agricultural fertilizer production, but also help kick-start a green hydrogen economy.

Green hydrogen could be the fuel of the future.  Here's why it's not yet a silver bullet

Ammonia, a key ingredient in commercial fertilizers, is currently produced from fossil fuels and accounts for around 1.8% of global carbon emissions. But it could be replaced by green ammonia, which is produced with green hydrogen from renewable energy.

Although currently more expensive than conventional ammonia, green ammonia should be economically viable within the decade, according to the report, which suggests that 25% of ammonia being green would help reduce system emissions food and to accelerate the growth of the green hydrogen sector.

Green hydrogen is a high-profile climate solution due to its potential to replace fossil fuels in incredibly energy-intensive industries, such as shipping, steel and aviation.

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