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These 25 Actions in 5 Sectors Can Tackle 90% of Global Emissions

We already have the knowledge, tools and financial resources to implement these climate-change solutions.

When the Covid-19 crisis hit last year, it stalled progress on another global crisis, climate change. 

We saw a “tidal wave” of plastic garbage and medical waste resulting in a collapse in waste management chains that worsened the problem. In agriculture, farmers were tragically forced to destroy tons of milk and crops and euthanize livestock due to disruptions in the supply chain. 

A major new climate report by the United Nations paints a potentially bleaker future. The planet has already warmed, and we are already locked in to three more decades of worsening climate impacts, no matter what efforts we make, according to a summary of the UN report by the New York Times. But there is still a window in which humans can alter the climate path, if we take aggressive action to limit how much warming occurs, and guide our future to its most optimistic scenario of "net zero" emissions.

Seize the Day

Solutions don't necessarily mean sacrifice. Countries around the globe are finding ways to respond to climate change while still delivering strong economic growth, sustainability and inclusivity. 

Many in the private sector viewed the pandemic as an opportunity to “recover better,” according to the UN, which rallied corporate partners to capitalize on the economic downturn to build a safer, greener, fairer and more resilient global economy.

Architects and designers, stuck at home for months in 2020, began radically rethinking the country’s densest cities with visionary plans that include more green energy infrastructure, sustainable housing, vertical agriculture and streets without cars.

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25 Climate Actions

A 2020 report by the The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) focuses on solutions in five sectors that can tackle 90% of carbon emissions. The report outlines 25 actions that can get the world back on a track of decarbonizing economies around the globe. The OECD is an international organization that works to shape policy, with members from 37 countries, including the U.S.

The five sectors — agriculture, buildings, electricity, industry and transportation—intersect with five policy levers — investment, regulation, tax/subsidies, leading by example, and informing/educating — to produce 25 policy actions that can spur strong climate action coherently and fairly, the report says.

We already have the knowledge, tools and financial resources to implement these solutions, the report says. These solutions range from regulation, energy-related taxes, carbon pricing and government incentives for green technology to public and private investment in low-carbon resilient infrastructure, corporate responsibility and individual lifestyle choices.

Here are the 25 climate actions the world can take now, from the OECD’s report. 

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This article was updated Aug. 11, 2021