Our Two Climate Crises Challenge: Urgent Cooling and Long-Run GHG Removal & Ecological Regeneration

We are facing both a short-term emergency cooling crisis and a long-term Green House Gas (GHG) drawdown planetary ecological crisis. We must address both. The first requires emergency direct cooling, or temporary “triage” or a “tourniquet, for our bleeding planet”. The second requires rapid GHG emissions reductions and drawdown and natural planetary regeneration that realistically will take at least a few decades and may take a century or more. Conflating the challenge and opportunity of the second crisis with a response to the first crisis will not produce a rapid and credible global response to the second crisis because of structural economic inequity and fossil fuel dependency that is deeply embedded in the current global economy. Realistically, we need emergency direct cooling to address the first crisis and a long-term binding global cap and trade “emissions trading system” (ETS) to address the second. The Florin proposal that conditions Stratospheric Aerosol Injection (SAI) direct cooling on credible GHG emissions and drawdown is a step in the right direction, but omits other direct cooling methods and effectively makes the deployment of SAI contingent on a global ETS that may not be possible before the deployment of SAI becomes necessary. Rather than conflating our two climate crises, or conditioning the solution of the first on a solution to the second, we need to address both on an emergency basis by putting all options on the table as called for in the Healthy Planet Action Coalition (HPAC) proposal.

Draft paper forthcoming in the Review of Radical Political Economics can be accessed here.