Climate Advocates Meet in NYC while Giant Sequoias Burn in CA
By Jim Clugger
Disparate events this week emphasize the need for urgent action on climate change.
Representatives from industry, government, and organizations are convening in New York for Climate Week NYC 2021 to showcase their commitments to climate action and discuss ways to accelerate broader adoption of climate action.
At the same time, the environment reminds us of the consequences of climate inaction.
Wildfires in California are threatening the largest tree in the world, the General Sherman Tree. Its base has been wrapped in a fire-resistant foil and the surrounding woods have been thinned with prescribed burns to protect the famous sequoia.
This is not the first article to juxtapose a climate meeting with a concurrent natural disaster linked to climate change. In fact, it happens all too often. Even so, the meeting in New York and the burning of a famous tree stand on the other side of the country puts the need to do more in stark relief.
Climate scientists have linked the two-decade megadrought in the west to climate change, resulting in more frequent and intense wildfires. Thousands of sequoias burned last year, and the current fires burn in at least four groves of the ancient and majestic trees.
The attempts to save the General Sherman Tree are emblematic of the fight against climate change as a whole. Focused efforts are being made on particular climate projects to adapt to climate change while the surrounding ecosystem continues to decline. A more wholistic approach is needed.
It would be terrible for the General Sherman Tree to burn, but our focus should be on the forest itself. In this case, as with climate change, we must see the forest despite the trees.
Climate change is responsible for the increase in intensity and frequency of natural disasters, like the fires in California. To meaningfully alter the trajectory of these natural disasters, those meeting in New York this week must commit to impactful actions like reducing emissions in accordance with science-based targets, committing to net-zero emissions now (not at some distant date), and advocacy for others to follow the same course.
Consumer sentiment appears to be leading industry action. 71% of consumers are worried that climate change will harm them or future generations. Fortune 500 companies, however, have a ways to go; only 32% have committed to climate targets.
Our startup, Littorary, is different. Littorary is a committed brand to Climate Neutral, which means that we have committed to offset all our greenhouse gas emissions starting this year.
Climate Neutral is a broad-based program that has the potential to significantly reduce the effect of greenhouse gas emissions. First the program acts as a self-imposed tax, where companies must buy offsets for the emissions they produce. This creates a financial incentive for the company to reduce emissions. Second, any emissions that remain must be offset by purchasing third-party verified carbon credits. These credits fund projects that remove and sequester greenhouse gasses or prevent future emissions. Third, the solution is scalable; the more companies sign up, the larger the impact.
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