10 New Insights Every US Community MUST Apply to Their Climate Action Plans

Washington (GGM) Analysis | November 17, 2021 by author and climate journalist Noreen Wise

Have you ever had to look into the future, and face the hard cold truth about the likelihood of succeeding at a life-threatening quest, then create an action plan that you hoped would guide you toward a “life” versus “death” outcome? 

Or are there any particular big decisions that you’ve ever had to make in your personal life that may seem similar to this type of crossroads moment? For example, should you take this job or that one? Move or stay where you are? Say “goodbye” to toxic family members, or maintain family loyalty at all costs?

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less traveled by.” —Robert Frost 

How many of us have actually taken the road less traveled?

If we’ve executed the big leap before, then making another significant and immediate big leap decision likely won’t be a problem for us. But if not, if this feels like a first-time experience, then the best thing to do, is put our boots on today, and just take a small step forward. No leap required. The pace will be slower, which is okay, as long as we are indeed moving forward.

Every community and every individual in the US will have to make unexpected decisions post COP26, as we begin to implement plans that will take us through the next decade in our quest to cut carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2030.

“Will we do what is necessary? Will we seize the enormous opportunity before us? Or will we condemn future generations to suffer? This is the decade that will determine the answer. THIS decade.” —President Joe Biden, COP26

Swedish professor and joint director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research Johan Rockström provided a framework at COP26 for climate negotiators who would  be strategizing about actionable plans and mapping out the scope and deliverables along a timeline that would lead to a smooth landing at 1.5ºC in the nick of time. Rockström emphasized that there were “10 New Insights” that had to be incorporated into their plans. These ten also apply to our local communities and cities.  

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  1. Stabalizing at 1.5ºC warming is still possible, but immediate and drastic global action is required.
  2. Rapid growth in methane and nitrous oxide emissions put us on track for 2.7ºC.
  3. We’ve entered the age of the “mega fires.”
  4. Climate tipping elements incur high-impact risks.
  5. Climate action must be just.
  6. Household behavior changes is a crucial but overlooked opportunity for climate action.
  7. Political challenges impede the effectiveness of carbon pricing.
  8. Nature-based solutions are critical for the pathway to Paris — but look at the fine print.
  9. Building Resilience of marine ecosystems is achievable by climate-adapted conservation.
  10. Costs of climate change mitigation justified by the benefits to the health of humans and nature.”

Will THIS decade be the NEW Roaring Twenties only this time for green living? I sure hope so. “Roaring” definitely seems like the correct verb, (“great in intensity or degree,” Merriam-Webster), and this is indeed the twenties.

The majority will move slowly, which based on the figure above, is fine. It’s only the top 10 percent who have to roar, which according to the same figure, shows they’ve been extremely successful in the past at roaring to the top.

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No rose without thorns. —French Proverb.
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