Climate Change, Simplified
Think about a car in the sun. Greenhouse gases are like the windows and windshield, they both trap the heat of the sun. If the windows are rolled down, the car traps less heat and is cooler. If the windows are all the way up, the car traps more heat and is hotter. Similarly, if there are less greenhouse gases, the planet is cooler, and if there are more greenhouse gases, the planet gets warmer. Climate Change is essentially the same as rolling the car windows up on a hot day. Some of us, and some of our man-made systems can take it. But for some, (elderly, infants, people with weak immune systems, forests, agricultural systems, ocean systems) the rapid changes in climate are unadaptable.
Climate change has been a “hot-button” issue that makes a lot of people angry or scared in the face of a large looming problem. Some will say, “the climate has always been changing since the beginning of time, why should I care now, it’s a hoax!” While global temperatures have gone up and down over millions of years, the climate has generally gone through its cycles over tens and hundreds of thousands of years. The reason climate change is now an alarming issue is because these same changes that typically happen over many millenia, are now happening in a span of a few decades to a few hundred years—a tiny, tiny fraction of the typical rate of change.
The planet is not going to turn into lava, and our skin won’t melt off. The real threat of climate change is to our bulky human systems and infrastructure—they was built for a temperate climate. Sure, we can likely change the way things work, but the question is whether we can change faster than the climate. Even with strong mobilization, our bodies, our human economies and systems (economies, food distribution, internet service, electricity) will be tested. Some of them will not pass.
What will happen when the Port of New York, which does over $187 billion in cargo handling annually, is flooded from Hurricane Sandy II? Just one day of down-time in the Port of New York alone amounts to a loss of $512 million. How do we cope with that economic loss when it’s the whole East Coast? Today, there are over 68 million people displaced by conflict and natural disasters, some estimate this number will rise into the hundreds of millions by 2050. What will countries do when entire populations come to them looking for food, clothes and shelter in an already constrained domestic economy? The threat of climate change is more about about the economic losses, and societal clashes for resources we are speeding towards, than it is about polar bears and hugging trees. Damage from hurricanes, floods, ocean acidification, increased medical complications from higher temperatures, and fights over increasingly scarce resources (water, for example)—these are the thorns of climate change that will cut us.
Solutions to Climate Change
We can achieve the effects of “rolling down the windows” by replacing dirty fossil fuel energy with renewable energy and increasing energy efficiency, reforesting and regenerating land and sea environments where sever degradation has occurred, conserving and repurposing natural resources after use, cutting down travel distances and making transport more efficient, and reduction of consumption of meat, of throw-away fashion and gadgets. All of these actions drive down, avoid, and destroy emissions on massive scales, and are necessary on a global scale. However, these solutions require careful design, the right economics and/or policy support to truly take off.
We exist to allow you to take quick action. While we cannot claim carbon offsetting is the sliver climate bullet–the reality is, we are up agains the clock, and every carbon offset project funded and supported means more time for us to make the transitions to renewable energies, efficient means of electrification, and healthier diets and consumption habits. We often hear, and understand well the quip, “what can little old me do about climate change, I’m just one person!” However, if every person in the world purchased one carbon offset, we would reduce net global emissions by about 17% (assuming 7 billion offsets purchased against 40 billion tonnes annually).
This is not an impossible problem to solve. The prices of renewable energies are falling fast, making fossil fuels too expensive to compete in the market place. Nutritional science is evolving and we are finding new ways to regenerate precious top soil without chemical fertilizers, all while improving crop yields. Sharing and circular economy models are gaining popularity, and the excessive use of resources is seemingly going out of style. Additionally, in many cases, these new economic models (like our Carbon Neutral Checkout model that builds the previously ignored cost of greenhouse gases into the cost consumers pay for goods and services) help to transform communities that are at risk in both developed and developing nations, creating a better world for everyone.
Taking action on climate is getting easier and easier. It’s time to realize that jumping in and making a difference does not mean you have to be a hippy, or a cavewoman (or man), or denounce capitalism. Here at Carbon Credit Capital, we are working on ways to make taking climate action as easy as blinking. Join us and see what we can accomplish together!
Why Care About Climate Change?
While warming is the root issue, it drives sea level rise, ocean acidification, biodiversity loss, declines in human health, resource scarcity, and socio-economic volatility as derivatives. As we continue to add carbon into the atmosphere, and for every degree Celsius we warm, our planets systems are expected to begin to fail in the following ways