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 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 temperatures, sea 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, we may well be on track for a 560 parts per million (ppm) concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, amounting to a 4 °C increase in global average temperature over pre-industrial levels. Such a scenario would prove catastrophic for human health and wellbeing, an existential threat to civilization as we know it.
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.