Every year, we add 51 billion tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. If we’re going to avoid a climate disaster, we have to get from 51 billion to zero in just 30 years.
This might be the most difficult challenge humankind has ever taken on.
That’s because virtually everything we do – growing things, making things, getting from place to place, leading a comfortable daily life – releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. By 2050, as global living standards improve (which is a good thing), energy demand is expected to go up 50 percent. If nothing else changes, emissions will go up by nearly as much.
At the same time, the global population is expected to reach 10 billion people by 2100. That means we will need more food, more vehicles, and more housing to accommodate everyone.
So we don’t just need to get to zero. We need to do it while bringing more products and services to more people in more places. We need to create a world where everyone has access to clean, reliable, and affordable energy.