Crew Commentary

Mission 2030: Now is the Time to Set Our Direction for the 21st Century

Bob Leonard - Climate Risk Manager


by David Houle


Humanity must change direction and ramp up our efforts to address our climate crisis. The first Earth Day was in 1970 (over 50 years ago) and yet we have done little to alter the trajectory of GHG emissions, pollution and the destruction of our ecosystem.


70% of all the CO2 in the atmosphere has been placed there since that first Earth Day. The refrain that came out of Earth Day 1970: reduce, reuse, recycle, has resulted in only 9% of global GDP coming from a “circular economy”. Humanity seems to think that well-intended efforts are changing the game. They are not enough! We must, and can, do more.



We must remember that once we emit CO2 into the atmosphere, it can stay there for centuries. There is CO2 in the atmosphere from the Industrial Revolution in 1800s England, along with emissions from last year, last month and yesterday. Until we actually have consistent year-to-year reductions of global GHG emissions, we can’t even begin to tackle our climate crisis.


Eliminating GHG is a key goal that must be achieved within the decade of the 2020s if we don’t want our climate crisis to worsen. Yet reducing emissions alone does not solve our climate crisis. If we stopped all GHG emissions today, the earth would continue to warm for 20 to 30 years due to the GHGs already resident in our atmosphere.


We must also drawdown CO2 from the atmosphere. We need to learn how to do it, do it affordably, then how do it at scale as fast as possible.


As of this writing, there is approximately 1300 gigatons of CO2 in the atmosphere. Prior to the Industrial Age, there was an estimated amount of 730 gigatons. This means that all the warming that has occurred in the last 50 years has been the result of this increase of 570 gigatons. Half of that amount has been emitted just since 1990!


We must reduce our annual 50 gigatons CO2 emissions down to under 10 gigatons ASAP. Simultaneously we must start to drawdown what is already up in the atmosphere. While this latter effort will not kick in until we lower the costs and increase the scale of the technology. Planting trees is good, but is not nearly enough.


70% clean energy by 2030 is part of the #Mission2030 effort: to recruit youth around the world to actively participate in lowering fossil fuel use in this decade. There are many ways to contribute to this effort. Youth can choose how they go about it. The creativity and energy of youth are essential.


Please join us.