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Can We Reverse Climate Change? – Part 1

Some might say it’s delusional to believe that we can solve climate change. They might say it’s even more delusional to suggest that we can do it in our lifetime. One suggestion as to how it should be approached is reversing the primary driver of climate change: the excessive amount of carbon dioxide that exists in the atmosphere. It essentially boils down to simple math: Balancing the carbon books will put an end to the harm we’ve done to the climate. So what does that means in plain English? Here are 10 things that we can do to reverse climate change.

Changing our mind

A mindset all too often found within those operating in the environmental community is that there’s no turning back. We seem to have accepted that the limit of our expectations is that we can limit the damage of climate change or merely adapt to it. Unfortunately, that mindset doesn’t seem to align with the idea that we can stop it entirely.

We pick favourites at the system’s expense, such as progressing vanity projects with their negligible impact or when nuclear plants should be put down. We also tend to minimise the responsibility that lies with those who are the cause of the problem when it comes to how they can help play a positive role in the solution. The above examples are born out of a non-productive mindset that can lead to spending precious time and resources on fruitless approaches.

The greenhouse effect is climate change’s underlying cause. When we add carbon dioxide, it gives strength to the greenhouse effect. Therefore, we need to limit the greenhouse effect by ensuring that greenhouse gas concentrations remain below a certain level. So we need to focus our activities on 1) Stopping carbon from being released into the atmosphere and 2) removing carbon from the atmosphere.

Thinking bigger

If we change our mindset, we can also think bigger. If we take on the responsibility that lies within each of us and that that responsibility ultimately means removing carbon, we have a chance to solve the situation entirely. Then we can consider the solution to climate change as being an issue of waste management.

We can think of it like this: there’s rubbish piling up in the street that’s leading to health issues. Removing carbon is akin to taking out the rubbish that we’ve been responsible for putting there so we can, therefore, put an end to the health problems. Once we accept this premise, we need to ask ourselves certain questions like “how much rubbish should be in the street?” and “who will pay for it?”. Answering these questions become a challenge of coordination.

Once we’ve agreed that we can only solve the problem if we remove carbon, we can accept that we need to remove any greenish gases that we add to the atmosphere and that if we remove enough carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, there’s no longer a problem. We can also be certain that by assigning a price to removing carbon, we can motivate ourselves not to add it and that climate change becomes a financing- and incentivising-related challenge.