Jiva Technology

Net Zero Targets

On the 24th September 2019, the news cycle in the UK was dominated by the decision-making of the UK Supreme Court. It crowded out a piece of news from the Labour Party conference in Brighton with potentially longer term implications. In what should be viewed as a positive move, irrespective of political affiliations, the UK Labour Party acknowledged what is now reasonably well accepted in scientific circles: we need to set our sights higher than the Paris Climate Change Goals. As a global community, we aren’t even on track to meet the Paris goals, but Labour became the first major political party in the world to commit to Net Zero emissions by 2030. They even delivered some ideas as to how they would achieve it.

The response was, as expected, lukewarm. Most commentators saw it as virtue signalling at best and blatant politicking at worst. But it forms part of a growing trend, a move towards getting serious about the threat of climate catastrophe. The Liberal Democrats similarly made concrete proposals, suggesting that the UK appoint a Minister with the power to deliver the changes that are needed. And what’s needed at the moment is some serious muscle behind all the fledgling ideas, not only on emission reduction, but emission removal. Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) technology has serious potential, but if it’s going to be developed fast enough to be useful, it needs government support, either directly or via tax breaks. The reality of our economic system is that companies, the private sector, are responsible for most of the short term innovation that’s going to be needed to rescue us from a watery future. And companies are economic animals, so it makes perfect sense to harness the existing financial infrastructure, possibly via a Green EIS scheme, to turbocharge CDR technology as quickly as possible.

Nature-based approaches, agriculture-based approaches, enhanced mineralization, direct air capture; we’re not short of early stage ideas. What seems to be lacking is the imagination to see a much physically greener landscape and a non-carbon based economic infrastructure. It sounds a lot better that hurricanes and uncontrolled sea-level rise. What seems to be lacking is the leadership necessary to move everyone int he same direction. If ever the phrase, “cometh the hour, cometh the (wo)man” needed to be true, it’s now.

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