Bend the curve in 9 years… only nine

I tweeted out this TED Talks video this morning…and it’s main point has been sitting with me all day…

At one point the narrator states “It is the next 9 years that will determine whether we can achieve the targets of net-zero by mid-century.”

She’s referring to the steepness with which global greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced in the years ahead if we have any likely (and affordable) chance of achieving net-zero by 2050.

The shape of the curve looks even starker in the IPCC report

Nine years… that’s less than a venture capital fund cycle… that’s as long as my youngest son has been on this planet…

A few years ago, sitting in a restaurant in Berlin I confided in my friend Colette Ballou that I wanted to step back from the fund I had created to work on something more impactful…”Why?” she asked “Because I want to bend the curve of the future!” I cheekily responded. Little did I know how prophetic that pithy comment would become.

Nine years… that means we need to start deploying technologies at scale which start having an impact today. It means that we need to fight like we’re running out of time…because we are.

Yes, we can keep funding giant CO2-sucking machines to be deployed in 10 years time, plastic eating bacteria still in the lab, and other amazing science with Gigacorn potential, but investors must fund, governments must push for, heavy-polluting industries must adopt those technologies that are ready for deployment today.

The IEA has handily mapped those technologies those out. Technologies that are mature today that could reduce emissions by 5.2GtCO2 per year by 2030 (That’s only 10% of where we need to get to FWIW). And guess what? Those deemed most mature and with the highest impact address our built environment, the urban stack.

I didn’t expect, that night in Berlin, to be here a few years later, passionately excited about the chemistry of concrete, technologies to seal building envelopes or refrigerants in A/C units… but I have come to realise those are the technologies available today, that can be deployed today that can start having an impact today. Because we only have 9 (NINE!) years…one fund cycle… my son turning 18…