Livestream: 24 Hours of Reality. Begins at 6:00 P.M. Eastern
The future of the planetary conditions on which human civilization depends are reliant now more than ever upon scientists and innovators, businesses and civil society, and our collective efforts to accelerate the implementation of the solutions to the climate crisis that are already available and cost-effective.
We have always known that this work would not be easy. We still depend on fossil fuels for approximately 80 percent of all the energy we use in the world; it is a daunting challenge to shift away from them as quickly as the scientific community says is imperative and urgent. Every day we pour 110 million tons of heat-trapping global warming pollution into our atmosphere as if it were an open sewer. All that extra heat energy is disrupting the hydrological cycle, evaporating much more water vapor from the oceans, filling the atmospheric rivers that fuel stronger storms and more extreme floods, deeper and longer droughts, increased water stress, declining crop yields, the spread of tropical diseases poleward, refugee crises and political instability. Simultaneously, the melting and fracturing of the cryosphere is accelerating sea level rise, threatening coastal cities and fresh-water acquirers.
The extreme losses of biodiversity and critical ecosystems are at dangerous levels. And the pending collapse of the “sub-prime carbon asset bubble” threatens the global economy.
Now, in the wake of the United States presidential election, we face even greater uncertainty.
But just as the changes in our climate do not stop and start with elections, our transition to a sustainable future -- which is well underway – is not dependent on politics or ideology. Solutions are at hand – new technologies exist and are being deployed. Markets are reacting and rewarding clean energy generation and storage – and digitally empowered efficiency and waste reduction. But we are in a race against time to ensure that we make these necessary changes quickly enough to avoid the worst climate catastrophes. It is incumbent on the global community of scientists, technologists, innovators, investors, entrepreneurs and grassroots leaders to redouble our efforts to understand the challenge we face, to call for action and to implement solutions.
On Monday, December 5 and Tuesday, December 6, The Climate Reality Project, the organization which I founded and chair, will shine a spotlight on this unfolding transition during 24 Hours of Reality: The Road Forward. The broadcast, a 24-hour live event, will focus on the 24 countries with the highest greenhouse gas emissions in the world, the unique challenges each of them face related to the climate crisis, their commitments to take action and the solutions that are being implemented in communities around the globe.
The Paris Agreement marked a historic moment as the world’s governments collectively agreed to take climate action. In all parts of the world, local, state, and national governments are increasingly realizing the importance of taking substantive action to confront the climate crisis and, perhaps most importantly, public support for climate action is higher than ever.
The cost of solar and wind energy continues to drop dramatically, reaching market parity with coal in many parts of the world. Countries across the globe who have been dependent on oil and gas for far too long are ramping up their use of solar and wind power to address carbon emissions, pollution, and energy poverty. Cities and communities around the world are transitioning to 100 percent renewable electricity.
Science and technology are paving the way, showing us the exciting opportunities ahead and proving that we are not stuck with the archaic energy solutions, infrastructure, and policies of the past. Businesses and investors are seizing these opportunities, proving that we can grow economies, create jobs and protect the planet at the same time. The story of climate action is one of hope and progress, not despair. This is our Road Forward.
But this moment requires more than just hope. More than ever before, we must work together to solve the climate crisis, to move past denial and despair and to move away from old, tired and dangerous ways of consuming energy. A world powered by clean energy is not just possible, but within close reach, and we must be the drivers of progress. Innovation and action will do more good than ignorance and complacency. With the scientific and technology communities in our corner, we are undoubtedly on the Road Forward to a sustainable future.