The Sustainable Development Goal 13 states that: “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”. This SDG will require innovation, strategy, technology and global partnerships. The following mitigation strategies, in theory, will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally if appropriately applied:
1. Fossil fuel substitution: Fossil fuels account for about 70% of GHG emissions. The main challenge is to eliminate the use of coal, oil and gas. This challenge can be met by:
– Substituting fossil fuels with cleaner energy alternatives such as solar, wind, nuclear power, hydropower, and bioenergy.
– Energy storage by decentralizing power grids, decarbonization of transport and heating.
2. Energy efficiency; This ranges from using energy-efficient products like LED lights to energy-efficient buildings to the cogeneration of electric and heat energy.
3. Lifestyle and behavior: dietary change by adopting a vegetarian diet, reducing meat and milk consumption. The beef and dairy cattle industry is one of the main contributors to global greenhouse gases. Eating locally and organically are also sustainable alternatives to supporting the industrial agricultural practices that produce significant amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.
4. Supporting carbon sinks and sequestration through reforestation, afforestation, protecting peatlands, blue carbon, carbon capture and storage, ocean fertilization and many more
5. Geoengineering: This works based on altering the Earth’s radiation balance by managing solar and terrestrial radiation. The main radiative forcing geoengineering techniques include stratospheric aerosol injection, marine sky brightening, cirrus cloud thinning, space-based mirrors, surface-based brightening and various radiation management techniques. These techniques are still theoretical or at very early trial stages and carry a lot of uncertainty and risk in practical, large-scale deployment. (Radiative forcing is the difference between sunlight absorbed by the Earth and energy radiated back to space).
6. Policy: Introducing feed-in tariffs, reverse auctions, cap and trade and other market-based mechanisms and financial instruments to speed up investments in clean energy, changes to consumer laws, and implementing a green-recovery after the COVID 9 pandemic.
These technologies and techniques are mainly deployed in the power, industrial, transportation and building sectors. However, in the agricultural industry, climate-smart agriculture practices include cover cropping, crop rotation, agroforestry, irrigation, tillage, reducing the use of chemicals using environmentally friendly alternatives like composting.
Finally, a giant stride we can take in mitigating environmental pollution/climate change in Canada is eliminating environmental racism. Let us get Bill C-226 passed into law. Lend your voice to the movement on all possible platforms you have means of, both online and offline and we hope you join us again tomorrow as our campaign continues.