“Shifting to a diet rich in plants runs counter to the meat-centric Western diet on the rise globally. That diet comes with a steep climate price tag: one-fifth of global emissions” Drawdown.org

 

I’ve been thinking things are not nearly as bad as they were.

We are virtually at agreement in Australia (at state level at least) to target net zero emissions by 2050. Several states are in fact doing some really good things on this front. While we have been busy trying to coerce federal government to use the best carbon pricing lever, things are moving on at other levels of government which though not all perfect, do reflect a deeper understanding of the climate change problem and commitment to solutions.

Thinking positively, that we can meet net zero emissions by 2050, and that we can gain similar commitments from the rest of the world, we still need to consider what comes next, because leaving the atmosphere at around 500ppm CO2 does not in itself solve the problem.

We have to actively drawdown massive amounts of CO2 to keep warming under 2 degrees. Mother nature will be far too slow. And even if we CCL’ers can eventually get CF&D established worldwide, this will alas not help with drawdown. Once zero emissions are met there is no longer a fee or dividend.

Drawdown – an essential part of any solution – but how do we engage it?

Paul Hawken’s Drawdown project identifies all known solutions for stopping emissions and drawing carbon back into the earth. The project’s sums show that it may just be possible to achieve our aimed recovery from global warming, IF we implement ALL the technologies and solutions we currently know of.

When we think of reducing emissions, we naturally think of wind farms and solar panels, but these are just a few of 76 well researched technologies and techniques we need to employ. For instance take the ‘plant rich diet’. The Hawken team ranks this societal change as fourth most important if we really want to achieve zero emissions by 2050. They have calculated that 92 GT of carbon emissions can be saved from our skies in the next 30 years just by reducing our consumption of meat. Thats two and a half times our current annual emissions saved over that period!

We dont all have to become vegans!

Now in case you meatlovers are getting worried – this does not mean we all have to stop eating meat! The Drawdown researchers have estimated their savings based on what I feel are very realistic expectations. To achieve the desired outcome means a transition to a plant rich diet that essentially means, at worst, reducing meat consumption in the biggest meat eating nations  (eg. USA, Australia) by half. Having myself found a wide range of really tasty vegetarian meals in recent years, I think this is highly achievable without reducing our enjoyment of food, and like many of the other solutions, this solution promises to improve our health at the same time.

Of course that is just one of the changes we need to make to solve the problem.

This Thursday on our national conversation we’ll explore a few more of the intriguing drawdown solutions before asking the question:

Whats our best strategy to encourage drawdown?

Do we learn about each solution and promote them to appropriate ministers?
Is there a magic mechanism like CF&D that we should explore and promote?
Do we focus on just the major ones, or try for them all?

I hope you can join me Thursday night 21 May 8pm AEST* on the CCLA zoom room for our national chat

Cheers        Tom Hunt

National Media Coordinator

 

* 6pm WA, 7:30pm SA, NT, 8pm Qld, NSW, ACT, Vic, Tas

Creating the political will for a liveable world