“The decisions we make this decade… are the most important in human history”
David Attenborough to the G7. June, 2021
“Every day you fight, like you’re running out of time
Like you’re running out of time
Are you running out of time?”
Burr to Hamilton in Non-Stop
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. 5,501 days. 132,009 hours. 7,920,572 minutes. That’s how long has transpired since Al Gore release An Inconvenient Truth and tried to rally action against climate change. That’s 15 years or over a decade and a half. A lot could have been accomplished in that time.
And because we didn’t act we now face one of the most challenging decades in human history. One in which the decisions and actions we take could have an influence for generations to come… and we’re running out of time. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
Dr. Jonathan Foley, Executive Director of Project Drawdown has a brilliant post on why time is as critical as tech in this fight. The following graph summarises the enormity of the challenge. In the coming decade the planet (yes… all of us) will have to cut emissions by 50%. In one decade. And then cut in half again by 2040 and again by 2050.
And while there are techno-optimist dreams of giant machines sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere in the future, those cannot be deployed at scale nearly fast enough or nearly cheap enough. We need actions and solutions that can start being deployed today. Tick. Tock.
The actions we need to take are not (only) about eating less meat, switching to renewable energy, turning the lights off at home. They are systemic changes to our economic landscape, from how we produce and transport proteins and goods to humans, to how we move around to how we build our homes. And actions across all of these areas need to start today. Tick. Tock.
This is the reason I decided to help launch 2150. Through my own education I realised that there are technologies today, that can be deployed today, and start having an impact today and that many of those serve the broad urban environment. If time is one of the most critical weapons for this battle, let us then start leveraging it… while continuing to invest into science and technology that can help in the future. Tick. Tock.
Why aren’t we fighting like we’re running out of time?