The Coming Climate Action Decade, the 2020s

The Coming Climate Action Decade, the 2020s.

An entire generation will be known for the next decade, starting in the 20s.  In fact, it is the next 20 years, or fifth of a century, that will be crucial, and has to be celebrated and inaugurated with intentional goals and purpose.  It should be as important as the start of the millennium, which led to the generation known as the Millennials.  

There were all sorts of apprehensions about the millennium, starting with the fear that there would be major computer failures, or that clocks would freeze.  Actually, nothing really happened, other than some great celebrations.

The 20s starts with even a much greater apprehension and need for commitment in the pressing area of Climate Action.  This was emphasized by the United Nations in COP 25 in Madrid.  This has to be the decade where the combined nations must commit to lower greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by the end of the decade.  Done exponentially, it is said to require a yearly 7.6% reduction.  

(Actually, if you take 0.93 and raise it to the power 10 on your calculator, you get 0.48 left, for a 52% reduction.  This is a yearly 7% reduction.  Taking 0.94 to the tenth power is 0.54, for a 46% reduction, with 6% a year.  If you take 0.95 to the power 10, it is a 40% reduction in a decade, or 5% a year, as some goals are.  0.96^10 = 0.66, or a one third reduction in a decade, with a 4% a year reduction.)

California’s goals are 50% renewable source electricity by 2025, 60% by 2030, and 100% zero carbon sources by 2045, which includes nuclear power.  In 2018, California had 31% renewables, 11% large hydro, and 9% nuclear for a total of 54% clean power.

Yet, what are we facing at the start of this crucial and historic decade?  The previous leading nation in the Climate Action movement, the United States, and the second leading GHG polluter, has:  a President who is subservient to the oilgarchs, who has naive ideas about climate change, who is dismantling an advanced Obama clean energy program, who gets rid of all government scientific advisors, who eliminates science in the dismantling of regulations, and who will withdraw from the Paris Accords at the first day possible, one day after the 2020 election.

Oh, and did I forget to mention that the most powerful leader of the most powerful nation and military is getting impeached for believing conspiracy theories suggested to him by our arch enemy Putin, who has been getting Trump to suspect Ukraine, so that his invasion and seizure of key Ukrainian resources will be unopposed by Trump, and Putin almost succeeded.

So not only did the impeachment ruin Christmas and New Years for the start of the 20s, it promises to distract for the entire year.  What is even more distracting are the Democratic candidate brawls.  While they agree on climate action, there is no agreement on whether to involve the action with an entire and expensive social equality program, a Green New Deal.  Meanwhile, Trump could be President for the next five years, killing half of the decade from the point of view of federal action, which also attacks the ability of states and industries, like with CAFE fuel economy standards, to carry out their own climate action.  This, despite the fact that the majority of Americans believe in climate change, and also will participate in climate action through their states, cities, corporations, and individual actions.

The younger generation is educated about and motivated to demonstrate and participate in climate action.  They should be named after this need and their commitments.  Like:  The Action Generation.  I think that the generations are named for when they come of age, and can exert influence by voting.

People no longer use the word “score” for two decades, but we all learned it in school with the Gettysburg Address.  Climate action will take a score of years, and continue until 2050 and beyond, as more areas of the world become developed countries, and the world population keeps growing.  We hope for more research and development breakthroughs in energy generation to find new methods and reduce costs.  The dedicated youth of today will have big roles to play in this, as well as to study and find corrective environmental actions to take.  But in three months, the Climate Action generation can register and vote in the primaries, and in 10 months, they can vote for a new and active President, Senate, and House.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
This entry was posted in 2020 Election, 2020 Primaries, CAFE Standards, California Power Mixes, Clean Energy, Climate Change, Climate Education, Climate Science, Donald Trump, Electric Cars, Electric Power, Energy Efficiency, Fossil Fuel Energy, Global Climate Action Summit, Hydropower, Mayor's Climate Action Plan, Nuclear Energy, Paris Climate Accord, Poverty, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Swing States, Trump on Climate Change, Wind Energy. Bookmark the permalink.

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