“The Breakthrough Effect,” a term recently coined in a new report released at The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, suggests that with just a few small interventions in the mere 10 sectors that contribute to a whopping 70% of all carbon emissions, we could be well on track to halt our arrival at a 1.5°C global temperature increase, and “move rapidly” towards net zero.
The main three suggested changes for the top 10 carbon emitters are: putting mandates on the sales of electric vehicles, applying “green ammonia” to agricultural fertilisers, and encouragement to consume more plant-based foods.
These regulations would lead to cheaper hydrogen to help decarbonise the shipping and steel industry, solar and wind becoming more popular sources of electricity, and far less deforestation as a result of a plant-based diet.
The "Breakthrough Effect” report released today identifies positive tipping points that could trigger a breakthrough on climate ➡️ https://t.co/xN8fFDKRKN.
— Andrew Steer (@DrAndrewSteer) January 20, 2023
This new idea is hopeful, and what’s more, it doesn’t seem impossible to comply with.
These three game changers or “super-leverage points” could trigger a range of new positive “tipping points.”
The Guardian describes tipping points as “the point that occurs when a zero-carbon solution becomes more competitive than the existing high-carbon option.”
This point of popularity is something that has been necessary to aim for, for a long time, and it’s refreshing to hear we are finally getting there.
One of these tipping points has already been achieved with the production of solar electricity, which currently accounts for 75% of new global capacity built in 2022, which is a fantastic statistic that few are aware of.
There are also already regulations in place on the sales of fossil fuel-powered cars, with an EU aim to ban all fossil fuel-powered cars by 2035.
Other countries such as the UK and China are following similar aims, with the UK planning to out rule fossil fuel vehicles as soon as 2030.
As the sales of electric vehicles are boosted, battery production will scale up, eventually resulting in the power produced by wind and solar farms being able to be stored in batteries, minimising waste and maximising efficiency.
Popularity in sustainability works like a feedback loop; as one thing becomes more popular, people will start recognising it as the norm, causing more people to follow that trend, again making it even more popular. Higher sales lead to mass production, which also makes things cheaper on a large scale, once again increasing popularity.
Current points of concern for climate collapse
Although these new tipping points are sending us in the right direction, it is important to acknowledge the main points of concern which could lead us to climate collapse across the globe.
The Arctic has been shown to be warming four times faster than the rest of the planet, and as a result, many reports have suggested “we are likely to see ice-free summers in the Arctic before 2050, which is irreversible”
One of the more widespread effects of having no snow in the Arctic is the recent mega-storm in California, which affected as many as 25 million people.
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The climate crisis is often ignored by people in the West as they are not affected by it. The USA is a “hotbed” for climate change denial, which may change as more storms invade its shores.
Colossal amounts of Greenland’s ice is melting, which should be a major concern for people all over the world, as the country contains enough ice (soon to be water) to make sea levels rise by seven meters.
This freshwater released by Greenland is also slowing down the circulation of water in the Atlantic which affects the air temperature in Europe.
The Atlantic also controls rainfall over the Amazon, which is currently in depletion.
If the Amazon does not get enough rain it will dry to death, and all efforts that have gone into preserving it would be counterproductive.
What the above facts from the WEF report show, is that every aspect of the climate crisis such as sea levels rising, global temperature increase and loss of the Amazon, is that all are interconnected. We cannot concentrate on “saving” one aspect.
Although the destruction of each aspect leads to different effects, the cause of the destruction has one common denominator; us.
The human corridor for escaping climate change
The basis of the world economy needs to change. There is little justice in the fact that some of us live in climate poverty, whilst others consume “luxury” amounts of carbon.
However what WEF has pointed out, is that “If we do nothing, or the bare minimum at this pivotal moment, we and our children – even if they are wealthy – will live in a danger zone,” showing that it is not just the developing countries that will be suffering.
Whether we will be able to continue living healthy and prosperous lives is not a yes or no answer, it is “up to us.”
“If businesses and governments commit now to enormous and just transformations in order to operate within the safe and just boundaries, then our children will have a future worth living for” – Davos 2023
We act with hope and determination. 💚🌳🌍
— Greenpeace (@Greenpeace) January 23, 2023
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by the authors are their own, not those of Impakter.com — In the Featured Photo: Globe amidst the domino effect. Featured Photo Credit: Jernej Furman/Flickr