Thinking about climate change demands sustainability solutions

Kaushik Sridhar

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationAIB Review - scholarly output

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Abstract

Imagine the atmosphere as a bathtub. The faucet is “human activity,” pumping pollution into the tub. The drain is Earth’s capacity to “absorb that pollution.” Through most of history, the two factors have been in balance. That balance is now gone, so what can we do to stabilise the situation? If people keep generating carbon at today’s rate, the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will keep increasing. Other pollutants contribute to climate change, but the larger, more long-term effects are linked most closely to carbon dioxide. Humanity must decrease carbon production or increase the planet’s ability to handle carbon. Before the Industrial Revolution, the atmosphere held roughly 280 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide. Now it contains roughly 400 ppm. The count is rising; the International Energy Agency predicts 700 ppm by 2100.

In January 2020, the World Economic Forum’s annual risk survey identified “failure of climate change mitigation and adaption” as the number one risk by impact and number two by likelihood over the next ten years. The survey drew on 750 experts and decision-makers around the world from business, academia, civil society, and the public sector.
Original languageEnglish
No.2
Specialist publicationAIB Review
PublisherAustralian Institute of Business
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2020

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