Every day, climate change solutions appear in news headlines and science reports, reflecting a world increasingly impacted by unsustainable trends and catastrophic weather events. Oceans are becoming more acidic, with devastating results on coral and connected ecosystems. The air in major cities is full of dangerous particulates. Crop growing regions for key commodities are shifting. Sea levels are rising.
In the face of all this, Thomson Reuters asked the question, “Are there still meaningful choices and pathways towards a more sustainable planet?”
Climate change solutions happening right now
Thankfully the answer is that disaster is avoidable. There are at least seven areas or trends where the needle can and is being moved towards a more sustainable planet:
Transparency is growing.
It’s harder and harder to hide malfeasance. Oil spills and deforestation show up on satellite images. Carbon emissions are disclosed. Cell phones with cameras are everywhere. Communication is instantaneous. This omni-present, collective human eye is attached to our global media, and the collective judgement which comes with it. It’s a growing force for knowledge and self-correcting judgement.
Read more on global emissions transparency.
As transparency plays out, so do regulators act. VW’s emissions rigging is discovered by a non-profit in Michigan, and regulators act. As more companies and state actors disclose their greenhouse gas emissions, global policymakers and regulators act in the form of climate treaties and carbon taxation or markets. Contrary to a more cynical view, there are real and biting regulatory actions which can and do affect the behavior of the great powers in global commerce.
Find out how governments are creating change.
Investors see the risk.
With the Paris Climate talks, there is a growing realization that there is significant money to be lost and made as the world moves to a lower-carbon economy. The Managing Director of Banking at Barclays recently expounded on this with us, and he is not alone his views that investors increasingly see carbon risk specifically, and ESG risk generally as material to mainstream investing and asset management.This hidden hand is deploying huge pools of capital to reduce risk and promote economic growth in the long-term. Retirement funds, college endowments, insurance companies, hedge funds, and retail investors are all integrating sustainability or ESG risk into their approaches.
Discover why sustainability is important to investors.
In many markets, we are starting to see the cost of renewable energy approach parity with fossil fuel sources. As the pace of innovation around solar, wind, and nuclear increases, we see the potential for an era of “cheap energy” without the environmental price. Enormous investments are being made in things like “artificial photosynthesis”, which literally are putting sunlight in a bottle. These efforts, many of which are being driven by the best minds in academic and business labs, will without a doubt deliver solutions to many of our challenges on the environmental front. It’s more a question of when, not if.
Learn why alternative energies will become the norm.
Alongside the great minds in science, many individual policymakers, business leaders, farmers, and consumers are taking millions of decisions and small steps, every day, to reduce their impact or improve the planet. Generally, people want to take care of their world, and science and the media are providing the tools and knowledge to help them do so. Lights are being turned off. Public transport systems are being built and used. Food is being wasted less. This is part of the reason we are seeing reductions in the cost of commodities generally, as the world is waking up to how to take care of itself, and it is! We want to be heroes.
Meet the heroes advocating for sustainability.
We are also seeing some strange bedfellows emerge. Competitors are talking to each other, and to policymakers, around how to share best practices to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. Solutions to global sustainability problems are too big for any one country or company to solve. Emissions and rising sea levels are everybody’s problem, and everybody’s solution. The 196 nation consensus in Paris between many nations who have very significant differences is a testament to this growing force.
Check out who is joining forces on climate change.
We know we need to avoid it. There is growing evidence of just what our world will look like if we don’t. We’ve seen super-intense storms, record high tidal surges, island nations evacuating long-held communities to move to higher ground. We know the cost in human life and long-term security for allowing millions of poor, coastal-dwelling people to be exposed to the full fury of an unchecked and rapidly warming planet. We are afraid, and we should be. But we will also act on this fear.
See the data and the reality behind sustainable development.
Leading experts believe global disaster is avoidable. The 7 Reasons report takes a look at the programs and people who are working hard every day to pull our planet from the brink and put it on the path to sustainability.
You can find climate change articles, videos and more in our multimedia report: 7 reasons the world will be sustainable