In perhaps the most significant call to action written by scientists and policy experts since the Paris Agreement, a new plan released on Wednesday aims to map out an achievable pathway to halting the increase in global emissions by 2020 — decades ahead of the current pace.
There’s an obvious shock value here: 2020 is only three years away — before Donald Trump finishes a full presidential term.
That ultra-tight timeline is intended as an invitation to what the authors call a “turning point,” and its urgency follows from a study earlier this year showing that, at current emission rates, we’ll be guaranteed 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming by 2019.
“We are in the age of exponential transformation and think that such a focus will unleash ingenuity,” the proposal’s architects write.
Spearheaded by world-saver and former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Christiana Figueres — and endorsed by dozens of prominent climate scientists and experts — the plan spells out bold yet practical near-term actions in six key areas: energy, infrastructure, transport, land use, industry, and finance.
Earlier this year, Figueres called the three-year target “completely crazy” but “achievable.” On a call with reporters on Wednesday, she expanded on her optimism: She said sharply falling prices for renewable energy means that for the first time, “we have tailwind on climate change as opposed to headwind.”
Some of the plan’s proposals are already on track, like making electric vehicles more affordable and plentiful. Others are likely to be controversial: A call for all countries to put forth a strategy for achieving 100 percent renewable energy mirrors a recent, high-profile debate…