Challenges and Next Steps for Climate Action - Seeker's Thoughts

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Seeker's Thoughts

A blog for the curious and the creative.

Challenges and Next Steps for Climate Action

Over one billion children are vulnerable to climate hazards that threaten their lives - such as air pollution, cyclones, disease outbreaks, flooding and heatwaves - that pose real threats. We must act now.

Businesses need to redirect subsidies away from high carbon industries in favor of supporting low-carbon alternatives, while simultaneously strengthening resilience by restoring natural defenses such as reefs and wetlands.

Climate Change

Our planet faces an alarming climate crisis due to human activities contributing too many heat-trapping greenhouse gases into its atmosphere, such as burning fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) for energy generation or deforestation and land-use changes; agricultural practices; deforestation; deforestation for deforestation purposes or changing land-use practices and deforestation practices which release these additional heat-trapping greenhouse gases; rising temperatures across our planet are increasing, glaciers are melting off sea levels while weather patterns shift as our world adapts itself into another reality.

Combatting climate change will require significant shifts in how people produce and use energy, construct buildings and transportation infrastructure, grow crops, manage water resources and manage natural resources - including new policies, regulations and incentives that affect capital investments and consumer behavior. Due to time lags inherent to climate systems, their full effects won't become evident until decades have passed since these changes took place.

Adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015 provided a key framework for global action. Under its guidance, countries were encouraged to set ambitious climate goals - known as nationally determined contributions or NDCs - and formulate plans to reach them over the coming decade.

Reaching net zero emissions requires significant reductions in fossil fuel use - such as coal, oil and gas - along with rapid transition to renewable sources such as wind and solar power, while simultaneously creating battery manufacturing capacity capable of powering 13 million electric vehicles per year.

President Biden is leading the charge in meeting this monumental challenge head on, investing in a clean energy economy that will create economic opportunities for workers, lower costs for families and save American businesses an average of $500 annually in energy bills; all while setting America on course to meet its goal of cutting emissions to zero by 2050. Progress includes setting records for clean energy deployment; tripling utility-scale battery storage capacity, reaching three million electric vehicle sales on roads globally in 2015 and building enough refueling stations per day to charge 13 million electric vehicles daily.


Water security is at the core of all climate actions. It plays an essential role in alleviating poverty, supporting health and sustainable agriculture practices, as well as upholding human rights. Yet global inequalities mean millions lack access to safe drinking water and sanitation. Furthermore, climate change poses increased threats that further widen inequalities unless action are taken now to address them.

Flint, Michigan residents' suffering from lead poisoned water is a stark reminder of the urgent need for secure, clean drinking water for all. Other examples are two manmade reservoirs in western America - Lake Mead and Powell, which serve as primary sources of freshwater to 40 million Americans respectively.

Numerous global initiatives have taken on the challenges associated with water and sanitation. At the 1992 International Conference on Water and the Environment held in Dublin, participants adopted "Dublin Principles," promoting integrated water resource management to address catchment-level issues while decreasing vulnerability and increasing supply. These principles were later included as Chapter 18 in Agenda 21, adopted that same year at Rio de Janeiro by United Nations member countries.

Reaching these goals requires greater commitment from all. More emphasis must be put on governance - particularly regarding water-related risks - by way of enforcing compliance with agreed standards, increasing transparency of funding and investments for water and sanitation, fighting corruption and adopting innovative financing models like Costa Rica's wastewater discharge environmental fee, Cambodia's sanitation development impact bond or Kenya's credit rating scheme for utilities as possible solutions. Education about "water literacy" may also increase adoption of rigorous policy measures necessary for secure water provision.


Feeding our projected global population of 9.6 billion by 2050 while also advancing rural development, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and safeguarding valuable ecosystems remains one of the greatest challenges of our time. The food, agriculture and beverage industries face these obstacles on an international scale with many operations located in climate-sensitive regions vulnerable to heatwaves, hurricanes or other forms of natural disasters that pose risks. They must strike a delicate balance between protecting workers while running daily operations as usual and creating strategies that are sustainable in light of climate change disruptions as they navigate their businesses in response to disruptions such as these disruptions.

Developed countries' ability to adapt to climate-related nutritional changes in terms of both their content and safety will depend heavily on the policies they implement. Some examples include encouraging low greenhouse gas (GHG) diets with incentives like tax rebates; altering cropping patterns to use less fertilizers and pesticides; encouraging seasonal produce consumption (which produces lower GHGs than out-of-season crops); increasing fortification during processing or agriculture (e.g. adding vitamins and minerals to white flour in Britain) etc.

Environmental action also necessitates taking into account the needs of developing countries--particularly Africa, which contributes heavily to global hunger and malnutrition. Achieve these goals requires various interventions such as: increasing adoption of drought-tolerant crops; supporting more extensive and targeted irrigation infrastructure; rescheduling planting times with additional fertilizers used; encouraging decreased meat consumption and decreasing runoff from agricultural fields. Recently, The European Academies' Science Advisory Council released a scientific opinion describing all these approaches in detail.


The United States holds great promise when it comes to the creation and deployment of climate-smart technologies, bolstering manufacturing industries while opening pathways towards increased global competitiveness. Demand for these technologies grows in tandem with their potential job creation potential - studies indicate that each dollar invested in green energy generates 70% more job hours of employment than an equal dollar spent on highway construction (Valverde et al, 2022).

Climate change requires an international response, to ensure everyone can access clean energy and environmental protection. Unfortunately, "free riders" benefit from others' work without paying their fair share; to address this, a carbon border tax could impose a shadow cost upon governments who do not implement carbon pricing and incentivise them toward creating low-carbon economies.

Many companies are taking proactive steps to prevent climate change from becoming a local or global crisis, including reducing emissions, investing in renewable energy sources such as wind or solar, using electric vehicles instead of fossil-fueled ones, upgrading buildings to be more energy-efficient and upgrading employee engagement programs for improved stakeholder relationships. As a result of their actions they are reaping the rewards: reduced electricity costs, engaged employees and positive stakeholder relationships.

Health plays an integral part in the climate fight. Recent studies indicate that climate actions may offer substantial health benefits, from avoiding impacts to premature deaths and reduced healthcare costs related to climate-related illnesses. This provides an argument for including health and equity considerations when making climate policy decisions; by emphasizing co-benefits of climate actions we can increase support among key players while garnering their buy-in for these initiatives.


Cities are at the epicenter of climate change and can have an outsized effect globally. Cities represent both a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions as well as an enormous opportunity for climate action that could save lives and create millions of jobs. Cities have demonstrated how bold local actions can spark a clean energy economy with lower costs for families, stronger communities, cleaner air and water and cleaner environment; just in 2021 alone cities deployed enough renewable electricity capacity to power 10 million homes while tripling their number of EV vehicles on our roads!

Cities need the knowledge and tools needed to develop and deliver low-carbon programs effectively, including scientific networks like Urban Climate Research Network (UCCRN). Such networks can assist city leaders by providing timely information about how climate-change impacts are changing across their cities - this data helps inform citywide planning processes while supporting more holistic approaches to mitigation and adaptation that incorporate all urban systems and sectors.

City leaders require information that allows them to make the appropriate decisions regarding emissions from buildings and public transport, including increasing frequency and routes, adding bike/walking paths, and reducing parking requirements. Furthermore, city leaders should connect their climate action agendas with discussions surrounding sustainable water supplies and pollution control strategies.

Cities require technical and advisory support in order to implement their climate action plans, and WRI is developing programs and services to address this need. Through research and technical assistance programs, cities will be enabled to integrate climate considerations into strategic, spatial, and budget planning processes; additionally we aim to collaborate with national governments on aligning policies and regulations so as to promote citywide climate action plans.

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