The climate on our planet has always been variable due to natural cycles. They occurred over thousands of years, allowing ecosystems to adapt. What makes human-induced climate breakdown so dangerous is the speed at which it occurs. The main cause are CO2 emissions, a waste product of our fossil-based energy system that we have been dumping in the atmosphere since the start of the industrial revolution. Other major contributing factors are deforestation and methane emissions, largely from our livestock. The international scientific community is not 97% but actually 100% settled on this, contrary to what one might read in certain media.

The consequences are increasingly noticeable in the form of higher air temperatures, warming oceanssea level rise, ocean acidification, more extreme weather events such as floods and droughts and deadlier storms. Also social consequences such as the Syrian and African refugee crises have been linked to climate disruption by some. Unless we dramatically change course and reduce our annual emissions, a business as usual scenario brings us beyond 1,000 parts per million (ppm) concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, amounting to a 4 °C increase in global average temperature over pre-industrial levels by 2100. Such a scenario would prove catastrophic for human health and wellbeing, an existential threat to civilization as we know it.

To limit the worst effects of global warming and stay within a safe operating zone for humanity, leading climate scientists recommend to reduce atmospheric CO2 levels to 350 parts per million (ppm). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated that if humanity wants to have a 83% chance to limit global warming to 2 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels, our remaining carbon budget from 2020 onwards is around 900 gigatons of CO2(e). With our current emissions, this budget will be gone in 21 years.

The international community has agreed to stay below 2 degrees in the 2015 Paris agreement. This limitation has major implications for our economy and energy system, but also for our political system. In other words: “Climate disruption changes everything“. For further detailed reading on climate science, we recommend the website of NASA or the website by John Cook and his team. The latter includes more details and effectively debunks all arguments some skeptics use in their denial of this existential problem.

As climate is affected by so many factors, the sustainable solutions we look for span a wide range of topics. They include initiatives that increase awareness, trigger policy change, stimulate the use of renewable energy, keep fossil fuels in the ground, sequester carbon, contribute to reforestation, change nutrition habits, reduce methane emissions, and – perhaps surprisingly – stimulate alternative monetary systems.

See below the specific climate solution we visited. Note that many other sustainable solutions have climate component, too.

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