Decarbonization! That’s a word that we’ll hopefully hear more and more about. This week, the UN-backed Sustainable Development Solutions Network released a report, Pathways to Deep Decarbonization, outlining steps needed to keep the climate from rising higher than 2° celsius. A comprehensive project conducted between 15 countries and an impressive list of researchers, it also took economic development goals into account. The report delivered two pieces of encouraging news: It will be possible for these 15 countries to take steps to reach zero net emissions and, we will be able to achieve this goal without impeding financial growth
Oliver Milman of the Guardian focuses on Australia, citing the report’s affirmation that the country could cut emissions to zero by 2050 while still enjoying a GDP growth of 2.4%. To put that into perspective, the average growth rate of Australia over the last 4 years is at 2.7%.
This is great news for sure, but the “Pathways” that the report outlines will take massive policy changes to come about. Milman summarizes (read the full report at the link below):
But the newly released study plots a path that involves phasing out coal use almost entirely, shifting electricity generation to renewable sources such as solar and wind, and powering vehicles and buildings with clean electricity rather than fossil fuels such as oil and petrol.
Industrial and farming processes that can’t use such clean technology would be offset by large-scale storage of carbon in soils and trees.
The issue then becomes how will it be possible to convince the relatively few folks (mostly in the U.S.) who are having trouble grasping the science behind climate change. That’s where Katharine Hayhoe comes in, at least for a certain sect of these “non-believers.” A recent winner of the American Geophysical Union’s science communicators award, Hayhoe, a self-identified conservative Christian, has begun to break down the somewhat unfortunate relationship between evangelical Christian values and the science behind climate change. Emily Gertz of Popular science explains how Hayhoe’s book A Climate for Change has helped to change the conversation:
In an interview earlier this year, Hayhoe told me how the book led to word-of-mouth referrals from co-religionists, resulting in more invitations to speak at churches, Christian colleges, and other conservative groups that, she thought, would not typically invite a scientist from a public university to come talk about global warming. It's work she continues to do, as evidenced in her recent appearance in the climate change documentary, "Years of Living Dangerously."
Zero carbon and economic growth can go together, UN study says via The Guardian
Meet The Scientist Who Might End The Climate Culture Wars via Popular Science