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What is the best climate strategy for the next 4 years?

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25th Feb 2021

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In 2015 during COP21 in Paris, 196 countries adopted a legally binding international treaty on climate change known as The Paris Agreement. The landmark agreement, which came into force in November 2016, aims to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to limit global temperature increase in this century to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, however, research shows an increased limit of 1.5 degrees is crucial. In 2018, the IPCC’s Special Report: Global Warming at 1.5 Degrees Celsius concluded the difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius could mean substantially more poverty, extreme heat, sea-level rise, habitat loss, and drought.

In June 2017, Donald Trump announced the U.S. would cease all participation in the Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation, and as the biggest carbon dioxide contributor in the world, this was obviously a major set-back. Earlier this year Joe Biden made swift moves to rejoin the agreement but now there's some serious catching up to do. So what would be the best strategy for the US, and other nations, to follow for the next 4 years?

Ian Dunlop, an Australian Engineer, writer, and former senior executive of Royal Dutch Shell has been working on future casting the state of our planet and has released analysis that says it is no longer feasible to halt global warming to 1.5 degrees above industrial levels. He quoted that unless global leaders radically accelerate action on climate change to an emergency footing, we will not be able to achieve the 2-degree goal, let alone 1.5. 

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One key factor global leaders need to radically rethink is how we price greenhouse gas emissions and carbon pollution. Governments are not incentivizing companies or individuals enough to move to net-zero carbon - a system needs to be built that financially rewards for reducing carbon emissions. 

Fossil fuel subsidies also need to be eliminated. What are they? They are the incredibly low price the federal government charges to drill for oil or gas, and mine for coal on federal lands, vs developing a renewable energy project on federal lands. This begs the question, why are we are sending this signal to the market that we want to continue using fossil fuels? Governments also need to rethink tax policy so when you're investing in renewable infrastructure there are certain tax benefits vs investing in fossil fuels.

The list goes on. There are so many areas Biden and other global leaders need to focus on to help achieve the 1.5-degree goal by 2050. Aimee Christensen, Founder & CEO of Christensen Global and a Climate, Energy and Sustainable Development Innovator joined Stan Stalnaker earlier this month to give her views on what she thinks is the best climate strategy over the next four years. You can listen to the fascinating discussion via iTunes, Soundcloud and Spotify

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