Climate chess ♛♘♝♔♜♙
Climate chess: big picture strategy on climate solutions.
Long-time readers will know that I’m a huge fan of Project Drawdown and their rigorous research on climate solutions. Their Executive Director, Dr. Jonathan Foley, just published “We Need to See the Whole Board to Stop Climate Change” which is well worth the 14-minute read.
He starts by saying: “Addressing climate change is like playing chess. So we should learn the rules.”
The 7 Rules:
- The board is bigger than you think, and includes more than fossil fuels.
- We need to rapidly reduce all sources of greenhouse gases, not just a few.
- We need to protect and maintain nature’s massive “sinks” of greenhouse gases.
- We should create new, long-term carbon sinks. But we need to be keenly aware of their limitations.
- We need to actively manage a broad portfolio of solutions. And we need to consider solutions that come from outside traditional climate thinking.
- We need to pursue multiple tactics to bring solutions to scale.
- See the whole board, and collaborate with others to play the game.
Highly recommend you read the whole article because this overview doesn’t do it justice.
I think Dr. Foley outlined a very useful analogy and framework here. And I’d like to build on it a bit to include who and/or what forces we are playing against in this chess match.
Because in order to determine a holistic and effective strategy we need to identify and account for the forces that are actively working to prevent or delay climate action as well.
The picture simply isn’t complete without them.
We need to understand who our powerful opponents are, what they’ve done over the last 40 years, and what they’re doing today in order to overcome their obstruction and limit warming to as close to 1.5°C as possible.
We each have a small but critically important role to play in this timed chess match.
And if we play strategically, quickly, and collaboratively, we will help save and improve billions of lives.
One last thing:
I don’t think any of us fully understand just how much bad actors have done to block climate action. These relatively few, but extremely powerful people are a major reason that, despite the world grasping the climate threat in 1988 when Dr. James Hansen testified to congress, annual emissions haven’t declined since then but instead rose by more than 62%.
More than half of all man-made emissions in the atmosphere were dumped there after society at large first learned of the emergency.
I started to compile a list of examples and data points highlighting what bad actors have done and are doing to block climate action…it’s too long for this newsletter. But it’s stuff we should all know and share with others.
So stay tuned. And take care!