Crew Commentary

What to look for in 2024 regarding our accelerating Climate Crisis

David Houle - Futurist


We at This Spaceship Earth have long thought that two things are critical for humanity to slow and then stabilize global warming: actions and a deep sense of urgency. We are not accomplishing enough… and certainly not with the urgency required. Urgent action is needed. Is our species up to this reality?



What to look for in 2024


  1. Lower CO2 emissions than in 2023
  2. Cooler temperatures (even just a teeny bit) than 2023
  3. More investment in clean energy than in 2023
  4. Less investment in fossil fuel-based energy than in 2023



Lower CO2 emissions from 2023 levels


A key measurement is how much CO2 emissions occur every year. The first step to slow global warming – the cause of our climate crisis – is to lower emissions. Not talk about the need to lower, but the actual lowering of emissions year over year. As this chart below shows, there is only one year where humanity did so… in 2020.



Of course, the reason emissions were lowered in 2020 was COVID. For the first time in history, humans around the world did something together at the same time: self-quarantined. Said another way, the only time humanity lowered emissions was the year we collectively chose to act differently. How do we collectively act differently in 2024 than we did in 2023? There are lots of actions we can take as nations, provinces/states, cities, businesses (of all sizes), institutions, neighborhoods, families and individuals. Download our free eBook “Now That You Know” to learn more.


2023 was the hottest year in the last 120,000 years!


The increased average temperature over pre-Industrial Age temps was 1.46C [2.63F]. Will the average temperature increase in 2024?


The total failures of the COP conferences (all 28 of them) is clear here. The much-lauded, never-followed 2015 Climate Accord was to prevent warming from going above 1.5C, and we are close to that eight years after that embarrassment..


More investment in clean energy than in 2023


The estimated total investment in clean energy was $1.74 trillion in 2023. In 2022 it was $1.6 trillion. In 2021 it was $1.4 trillion. Will there be at least an additional $100 billion investment in 2024?



Less investment in fossil fuel-based energy than in 2023


The estimated total global investment in fossil fuel in 2023 was $1.050 trillion. In 2022 the number was $1 trillion and it was $914 billion in 2021. Will we get back to the 2021 number? We should if we are serious about moving away from fossil fuels.


IEA (2023), World Energy Investment 2023, IEA, Paris

https://www.iea.org/reports/world-energy-investment-2023, License: CC BY 4.0


These four metrics will determine if humanity is making progress to reduce emissions, slow the rate of temperature increase, increase renewable energy investments, and reduce fossil fuel investments. What is clear is that there is an absence of urgency, and only with urgent action will we have a chance to change the trajectory of our climate crisis.