A report released by The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a U.N. body, in October 2018 highlighted the importance of keeping global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. In November, the UN released its annual Emissions Gap Report, warning that current emission levels would not even keep the world below 2°C of warming. The consequences of such warming could be extensive and devastating.
Over the years, a number of strategies — some more viable than others — to combat climate change have been developed. No matter which is the best way of motivating the world’s governments, businesses, and private citizens to make the changes needed to cut emissions and prepare for the worst — regulations, restrictions, or incentives — these changes and steps must be taken in order to avert disaster, and it must be a worldwide effort.
These strategies fall into two major categories. The first is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere and the potential sequestration of gases that are already in the atmosphere. The second is developing technologies and strategies to reduce the already inevitable impacts of climate change.
Amanda Levin, policy analyst with the National Resource Defense Council’s Climate and Clean Energy program, explained to 24/7 Wall St. that efforts need to be both in prevention and mitigation of consequences.
“We need to do both,” Levin said. “We are already facing the impacts of climate change today, and even in a 1.5 or 2 degree [increase] world, there will be significant impacts, so adaptation needs to occur at the same exact time that we’re doing everything we can to mitigate our emissions and reduce our climate footprint.”
Based on our conversation with Levin, as well as reports by nonprofits and other groups, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed 21 strategies that could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the consequences of global warming. Most of these strategies on their own would be insufficient in reversing our current path, but together they could pose the solution. Some have already been implemented, mostly at smaller scales, while others are technologies or ideas that are still being developed.