The San Francisco Bay Area looked like this on Wednesday.
For some, it reminded them of the “Blade Runner” – I haven’t seen the movie so I couldn’t relate. I was reminded of the Mandalorian.
Regardless, there was no shaking the apocalyptic feeling.
The entire West Coast of the United States is facing a crisis right now – this is a map of air quality.
I don’t think we need reminding of the fact that the climate crisis is here.
Ryan Orbuch on the Climate team at Stripe shared a great post a few months back summarizing what he’s learnt about the road ahead. He explains that there are two pieces to the puzzle –
(1) Decreasing emissions
(2) Removing existing Carbon Dioxide from the sky
As is evident to anyone who has been following the data closely enough, we need heavy investments in both approaches. And, Ryan does a really nice job summarizing it while making the argument that efforts on (2) are still really underfunded. In his words –
- 10-gigaton-scale negative emissions are necessary in essentially every emissions reduction scenario. We have no choice but to fund, research, and deploy them if we’re serious about keeping warming to 2 degrees; or close to it. We are not even close to on track.
- Negative emissions have been dramatically underfunded in proportion to their importance. This needs to be fixed if we’re going to have a shot at reducing the cost enough to make 10-gigaton-scale deployment possible by midcentury. It will take likely take years or decades for basic research and pilot projects to scale and get cheap enough; so we need to start right now.
- It’s very unlikely any one category of technology, or any one natural approach, will scale enough. We should think of a portfolio across all the approaches outlined here, as well as more I didn’t discuss or have yet to be discovered.
- We face the defining problem of our generation; of the entire human project thus far. Climate spans physics, chemistry, ecology, geology, policy, technology, land use, human rights, and more. It’s time we take this seriously as a gigantic opportunity for human progress, and rally to solve it!
Amen to that.