Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

3 Steps to a Zero-Carbon Future

Climate

We've all heard that we need to cut use of carbon-emitting fossil fuels to decarbonize the environment and slow climate change. And, except for a handful of vocal climate deniers, most of us agree. But in real, practical terms, how do we going about doing this?

We need to decarbonize the environment, and the World Bank lays out the steps to getting there. Photo credit: Håkan Dahlström / Creative Commons

The World Bank has laid out the primary steps we need to take in its new report Decarbonizing Development: Three Steps to a Zero Carbon Future.

“Choices made today can lock in emissions trajectories for years to come and leave communities vulnerable to climate impacts,” said World Bank Group Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change Rachel Kyte. “To reach zero net emissions before the end of this century, the global economy needs to be overhauled. We at the World Bank Group are increasing our focus on the policy options.”

First, the report says, we need to plan for the future by defining and focusing on the final goal. That means things like investing in the research and development of new energy technologies or designing cities for public transportation rather than short-term solutions with immediate impact.

"The appropriate way to achieve a given reduction in emissions by, say, 2030 depends on whether that is the final target or a step along the way to zero net emissions," it says. "If the latter, early action will need to be a mix of cheap, quick fixes and costlier long-term measures to promote technology development, investment in long-lived infrastructure and changes in how cities are built. So every country needs to define a long-term target—say, for 2050—that is consistent with decarbonization and to build short-term, sector-specific plans that contribute to that target and are adapted to the country’s wealth, endowments and capacity."

The second step is to develop policies that take into consideration not only pricing but investment patterns, technologies and behaviors. They need to not only price carbon to take into account the negative impacts of carbon pollution but also reward behavior that cuts pollution by encouraging the adoption of green technologies.

"Carbon pricing is necessary for an efficient transition toward decarbonization," says the report. "It is also an efficient way to raise revenue, which can be used to support poverty reduction and development or to reduce other taxes. And a carbon tax can be designed to be administratively simple yet harder to evade than taxes on income or capital. But carbon pricing alone cannot solve the climate change problem, given the many market failures and behavioral. Policy makers also need to adopt measures such as targeted investment subsidies, performance standards and mandates, or communication campaigns that trigger the required changes in investment patterns, behaviors and technologies."

And finally, we need to ease the transition for those most affected by policy and cost changes related to going green.

"Reforms live or die on the basis of how well the political economy is managed: a climate policy package must be attractive to a majority of voters and avoid impacts that appear unfair or that are concentrated in a region, sector, or community," it says. "Removing fossil fuel subsidies, which primarily benefit the wealthy, and implementing carbon taxes or cap-and-trade systems are two ways to free up or generate revenue that can lower costs of education, health care and infrastructure and provide direct support for the poor while also reducing carbon emissions."

“Data in 22 developing countries show that if fossil fuels subsidies were replaced by universal cash transfers, the bottom 60 percent would benefit from the reform,” said Stephane Hallegatte, a senior economist for climate change at the World Bank and a lead author of the report.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

250,000 People Call for Action on Climate Change and an End to Extreme Poverty

Global Carbon Levels Surpass 400 ppm for First Time Ever for Entire Month

Al Gore: We Must 'Put a Price on Carbon' and on Climate 'Denial in Politics'

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pixabay

By Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD

Fresh fruits and vegetables are a healthy way to incorporate vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants into your diet.

Read More Show Less
These 19 organizations and individuals represent a small portion of the efforts underway to fight racism and inequality and to build stronger Black communities and food systems. rez-art / Getty Images

By Danielle Nierenberg

Following the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, people around the United States are protesting racism, police brutality, inequality, and violence in their own communities. No matter your political affiliation, the violence by multiple police departments in this country is unacceptable.

Read More Show Less
Residents plant mangroves on the coast of West Aceh District in Indonesia on Feb. 21, 2020. Mangroves play a crucial role in stabilizing the coastline, providing protection from storms, waves and tidal erosion. Dekyon Eon / Opn Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mangroves play a vital role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere. Mangrove forests are tremendous assets in the fight to stem the climate crisis. They store more carbon than a rainforest of the same size.

Read More Show Less
UN World Oceans Day is usually an invite-only affair at the UN headquarters in New York, but this year anyone can join in by following the live stream on the UNWOD website from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. https://unworldoceansday.org/

Monday is World Oceans Day, but how can you celebrate our blue planet while social distancing?

Read More Show Less
Cryptococcus yeasts (pictured), including ones that are hybrids, can cause life-threatening infections in primarily immunocompromised people. KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images

By Jacob L. Steenwyk and Antonis Rokas

From the mythical minotaur to the mule, creatures created from merging two or more distinct organisms – hybrids – have played defining roles in human history and culture. However, not all hybrids are as fantastic as the minotaur or as dependable as the mule; in fact, some of them cause human diseases.

Read More Show Less
National Trails Day 2020 is now titled In Solidarity, AHS Suspends Promotion of National Trails Day 2020. The American Hiking Society is seeking to amplify Black voices in the outdoor community and advocate for equal access to the outdoors. Klaus Vedfelt / DigitalVision / Getty Images

This Saturday, June 6, marks National Trails Day, an annual celebration of the remarkable recreational, scenic and hiking trails that crisscross parks nationwide. The event, which started in 1993, honors the National Trail System and calls for volunteers to help with trail maintenance in parks across the country.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Indigenous people from the Parque das Tribos community mourn the death of Chief Messias of the Kokama tribe from Covid-19, in Manaus, Brazil, on May 14, 2020. MICHAEL DANTAS / AFP / Getty Images

By John Letzing

This past Wednesday, when some previously hard-hit countries were able to register daily COVID-19 infections in the single digits, the Navajo Nation – a 71,000 square-kilometer (27,000-square-mile) expanse of the western US – reported 54 new cases of what's referred to locally as "Dikos Ntsaaígíí-19."

Read More Show Less