This April, California passed the Climate Corporate Accountability Act, requiring all companies doing business in the state and grossing over $1B annual revenue disclose all of their greenhouse gas emissions. While this is good news for carbon accounting companies like CarbonChain, Persefoni, ClimateView, or SINAI Technologies, these groups are still missing a major sector that nets positive carbon costs yet has the potential to be a massive carbon sink: agriculture. Agriculture and forestry is estimated to produce approximately 10% of all GHGs emitted in the US (University of Missouri, https://extension.missouri.edu/publications/g310) and 24% globally (EPA, https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/global-greenhouse-gas-emissions-data). Propose a solution that enables growers to make data-backed decisions that quantifiably reduce their environmental impact (ie. on-farm greenhouse gas emissions, soil carbon sequestration, biodiversity impact, etc.).
In 2019, Impossible Burger sales spared the equivalent of 81,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and 900 million gallons of water (Impossible Foods, https://impossiblefoods.com/impact-report-2019) but captured less than 0.2% of the total meat and alternative meat market share. Propose a solution that reduces the adoption barrier of leading alternative protein sources — plant protein, insects, mycoprotein, and cultured meat — and decreases carbon outputs of the alternative protein sector.
Non-profit conglomerate ReFED has identified reducing portion sizes as the most effective method of reducing net CO2e, reducing water usage, and increasing financial benefit worldwide (https://insights-engine.refed.com/solution-database/portion-sizes). Propose a solution that can achieve long-term wide-spread adoption.
According to a survey by the OECD, the average American withdraws 1,207 cubic meters of water a year. At the current rate of consumption, shortages could occur in about half of the freshwater basins in the US by 2071 (Brown et al., 2019). Propose a solution towards being water positive, that is, replenishing more water than we consume.
MIT’s Technology Review, in a 2020 article, named air conditioning as “the great missed opportunity in the fight against climate change.” In the next 30 years, researchers expect air conditioners to quadruple and account for as much as a 0.5°C rise in global temperatures (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-to-prevent-air-conditioners-from-heating-the-planet/). Propose a solution to mitigate, prevent, or reduce the impact of cooling.
While 2020 saw the greatest year-on-year renewables increase in the past 20 years (https://www.iea.org/reports/renewable-energy-market-update-2021/renewable-electricity), private adoption is still limited by factors such as utility rate structures, lack of transmission or interconnected standards, and permitting processes. Certain states have adopted policies to support greater investment in renewables (https://www.epa.gov/statelocalenergy/state-renewable-energy-resources), but accessibility to these solutions remain spotty, including in states where the greatest potential for PV-generated electricity lies. Propose a solution that increases the affordability and accessibility of renewable or alternative energy sources.
In order to develop better laws and policies we need an in-depth understanding of the existing laws and policies, so policymakers can replicate successes and avoid mistakes. Propose a solution towards increasing accessibility in understanding global climate legislation and its impacts.