The Chronicle of Climate Solutions: Week in Green
It’s June 2020, you’re working from home, self-isolating from a global pandemic and watching the news with a mix of horror and disbelief. Should you launch a climate change magazine? The answer, it turns out, is yes.
This week Bloomberg Green published the first issue of our quarterly magazine (and, yes, we made sure it’s printed on 100% recycled paper in environmentally-friendly ink). Climate numbers are vitally important, yet relentlessly grim—which means it often seems easier to imagine the end of the world than the solutions to avoid it.
And yet the pandemic, and specifically the multi-trillion stimulus plans that governments are putting together to counter the effects of the looming economic crisis, are an opportunity to boost technologies that can zero out emissions in grids, buildings and everyday transport. We came up with 26 ways to boost green growth.
Others are smaller, and simpler. Germany, for example, sees working from home as a chance to reduce pollution in cities and improve citizens’ quality of life. If you still have to go to the office, you can consider replacing your car with an electric bike. Realistically, consumers alone won’t save the planet, but buying greener toothbrushes might salve your conscience.
We’re not shying away the hard truths. Climate change means that iconic landmarks will be lost forever, no matter what we do to lower emissions going forward. That’s the most likely fate for Dune Road in the Hamptons—unless the billionaires can save it. Key infrastructure will be damaged, and that could lead to more natural disasters such as the diesel spill that’s now polluting rivers and lakes in Siberia.
Perhaps the biggest challenge of all will be to tackle the inequalities springing from the devastating effects of climate change, and from the radical measures that will need to be taken to fight it. Societies can’t function when a significant share of their population is left behind, and the same goes for the planet. We can’t fight climate change in just one hemisphere or one continent, the effort needs to happen everywhere, and at the same time.
Black Lives Matter protests in the U.S. and anti-racism demonstrations across the world in the past few weeks have been a painful but necessary reminder of that. Climate change will only widen inequality within societies and between nations.
In the U.S., black Americans are exposed to 61% more pollution from vehicles than white Americans, and they’re three times as likely to die from exposure to air pollution as the rest of the population. Young black children in the U.S. are four times as likely to be admitted in hospital for asthma, compared to white children, and 13.5 times as likely to have high levels of lead in their blood. A green economic recovery will save black lives, as our editor Jillian Goodman highlighted recently.
The good news is that we have the technology and the means to fix many of these problems. The world has entered a new era of climate solutions.
Laura Millan writes the Climate Report and Week in Green newsletters about the impact of global warming.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.