By Dr David Laing Dawson
I am sitting inside under an air conditioner at this moment because the temperature outside in Willoughby just north of Sydney is 40 degrees centigrade and the air outside is humid and smoky. The bush fires rage up and down the coast and inland, some under control and some not.
And this decade, they say, may be the last chance to do something about climate change before a tipping point is reached, and that point is the moment a positive feedback loop engulfs us all – when it is too late to stop the destruction.
Australia contributes just over 1 percent of world carbon emissions, but combined with the emissions of similar small contributors like Canada this adds up to over 40%.
With the USA wallowing in some kind of self-destructive delusional state, leadership could fall to a new group of developed countries – a consortium say of Australia, Canada, the UK, France, Germany…. and so I will, at the start of this decade, pitch my idea again.
We need to bring together the people and the knowledge from all the pertinent fields to arrive at a doable plan. Not merely a plan to “reduce emissions”, or a target for global emissions, but a consideration of the roles and possibilities of other factors as well. These are:
- Population control (and this should be high on the list)
- Bypassing fossil fuel in developing countries. What can developed countries do to foster this?
- Carbon Capture technology. Are any of these technologies viable and scalable?
- Natural carbon capturing plants and trees. What role can reforestation play? New technologies to plant millions of trees?
- Shifting all power plants to carbon neutral technologies. How and when and which ones?
- The role that could be played by nuclear power.
- Carbon neutral housing and building standards. What impact can this have?
- Cycling and mass transit. Just how much of a difference can this make?
- More plant based diets. Realistically what difference will this make?
- How long to shift most land transportation to electrical or hydrogen based power?
What incentives are needed to do this?
- Air transportation. Is there a viable technology to make carbon-neutral jet fuel? And how do we get there?
I’m sure this list could be longer, and each item have it’s own subheadings of viability, time, cost, contribution, technical, economic and political feasibility…but…
Justin, you could take the lead. A Manhattan project to save the world.
Setting this up will cost a lot but not nearly as much as all the fire fighting and disaster relief we will all be paying for in the coming years.