EU Beats Climate Target, Meanwhile CO2 levels reach highest in history

EU Beats Climate Target, Meanwhile CO2 levels reach highest in history

The EU just crushed its 2020 climate target with a 34% reduction. Why can't the rest of us do as well?

In my article on Monday, I mentioned that I think about the environment and the damage we are doing to it. If I am honest with myself, I only think about the environment. I can’t say me or my family has taken any steps to really contribute to fighting climate change. How’s that for candor? There is no time better than now right.

One way to contribute is to move towards a zero-waste lifestyle. Sometimes articles find you when you need them and today I learned about Kennedy Hammond’s zero-waste company Love Of Earth Company.

While I was sitting around thinking about my own lack of commitment in environmental efforts, I stumbled across news that the European Union was able to accomplish a 34% reduction in emissions, reaching the lowest levels since 1990.

Which got me thinking. If they can accomplish that, surely the U.S., and little ole me, can do better.

But, it appears we aren’t doing any better as a collective.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, has recorded the highest levels of carbon dioxide ever at its monitoring station in Hawaii. Those levels are now 50% higher than in pre-industrial times which pushes the Earth past a milestone that I don’t think any of us wanted to reach.

Reading the Tea Leaves

In the book Speed and Scale, the authors call out an action plan for getting to net zero emissions by 2050. I recommend the book. It is a bit of a heavy read but worth the education.

The action plan calls for a six-step process.

Source: Speed and Scale

I have to be honest. I don’t think accomplishing net zero emission by 2050 is going to cut it. I don’t have any data or evidence to support my statement. Other than the fact that there are other organizations that agree. For just as many articles and research papers I was able to find that talk about the 2050 goal, there were an equal number of articles, etc. saying that it just isn’t enough.

Therein lies part of the issue. We can’t come to an agreement about how we will accomplish net-zero emissions or when we need to accomplish it.

Germany is a good example. Up until 2011, Germany had used nuclear for 25% of its energy. Nuclear is often regarded as a very clean energy source. Then the country shifted to a phase-out of its nuclear plants. That led to their reliance on Russia for energy in the form of gas. Look where that got them.

My boss has a saying that goes, “Plan beats no plan”. Hi, Ben. 👋🏻. Of course, the reality is that a plan supported by data and facts beats a bad plan. If ever there was the need for consensus on a topic that is highly economically and politically heavy, agreement on how to address climate change is that topic.