Monday, October 15, 2012

Power of We

On this blog action day, it's appropriate to talk about how countries can collaborate and bring about change in the control of greenhouse gas emissions, the biggest threat to our planet and its life that we've ever seen. The carbon is building up, heating the planet, acidifying the oceans and melting the arctic.

Clearly the people of the world need to get together and rapidly agree on what the carbon limits must be. That's why it's so important to frame this around a constructive approach which is put out there in a big way as global public policy, and it's a powerful motivator if there's a consensus-based template out there that gives people tools to use immediately within their local ecosystems. These numbers have to be based upon actual real-time carbon measurements, which are completely do-able. There's also the possibility of anecdotal experience and its recording of climate change and its effects on people all over the world. It's a "witnessing" of the real climate impacts by people who have lived in a place for decades.

The solutions are pretty obvious in a lot of areas, but something needs to be mapped out by region and agreed to, quickly. Global policies have to change, and the many multiple ways in which these mitigation measures can be implemented can also be financially productive.

The focus on these solutions could be collaboratively managed by region, with the highest emitting countries responsible for the majority of the carbon reduction management, working in tandem with the smaller countries on the same continent. All would have access to the same data pool and observations (transparency). It's like online cybergaming but with real world impacts. Then these countries can trade off resources and carbon taxes locally, and use this balance to bring down the carbon impact in their region, according to agreed-upon global targets. Then each continent compares its carbon reduction rate to the others, and the race is on! The diagram above represents a conceptual grouping for North and Central America.

Who pays for the cost of these solutions? How are these costs quantified, the solutions actually implemented, enforced in the face of corruption, and the measurement of improvement communicated in a reasonably unbiased way? That's what's important about carbon reduction, otherwise known as convergence and contraction. It's a creative exercise done in a collaborative way.

It's the hope for a younger generation. We can't envelop people in despair, we need the world's people to cooperate in an urgently necessary task. So then what is the measure of success?

Acres of forests?
Smaller populations?
Restoration of watersheds?
Farming practices that work with natural processes?
Solar and wind power?
Net zero building practices?
Recycling instead of mining?
No more gas and oil?
Record carbon sequestration?

This might even be more fun than starting wars. Same goal, actually, control of resources and a share of the wealth, except that this is replenishment of resources for everyone, puts the carbon back where we found it and shares a responsibility for the common good. It's time for the old global regime to step aside.