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The world’s first trillionaire will be someone who will help solve climate change[1]. In this article, we will touch on solutions to climate change that are not discussed in the mainstream media around climate action. The challenge arising is that many knowledgeable climate advocates are starting to realize that it may already be too late to avoid climate change[2],  hence the adverse effects that it will bring. The United Nations warned that even after the dip in global emissions due to the coronavirus, the world is nowhere near being on track to keep global warming under 2°C[3].

Even if the US rejoins the Paris Accord under the Biden Administration, experts made it clear that any international agreements like the Paris Accord do not have enough enforceability to guarantee any outcomes. It is important to note that the majority of the world population outside the western world will need access to cheap energy to continue to develop[4]. Curbing global carbon emissions for developing world nations will not necessarily be on their top list of priorities. There will be a requirement for tremendous global cooperation and strict enforcement, one that is along the lines of NATO alliances or nuclear weapons perforation efforts on non-nuclear nations who seek to have nuclear weapons. Without such cooperation and enforcement keeping global warming under 2 °C will not be guaranteed. As such a  Plan B will be required.

‘’The world’s first trillionaire will be someone who will solve climate change’’

Plan B will likely involve the private sector. Individuals who are successful to profit off carbon reduction will be significantly rewarded and it may lead to the world’s first trillionaire. Finding a business model to profit from carbon reduction on a global mass scale will be a challenge.  However, there may be some unexplored avenues that will lead to a business model. One of those avenues is Geoengineering: changing earth’s environment to achieve a certain goal.

One technical solution to reduce earth’s temperature is spraying sulphate, which is a chemical, in earth’s upper atmosphere[5]. This sulphate will have low concentration and will reflect a portion of the sunlight falling on earth which can reduce earth’s temperature. Whether people like it or not, care about it or not, if someone is able to create a business model to profit off this solution, it may be a possible solution to implement, once climate catastrophes start to happen at a higher frequency yearly.

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Stratospheric Aerosol Injection, Image: Scientific American

Another solution is iron fertilization which entails dropping amounts of iron into the ocean[6] which will react with the water and stimulate a biological process[7] that will result in absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

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Iron fertilization for carbon absorption, Image: 21 Century Tech

Another promising solution is creating genetically coded proteins[8] that can absorb tremendous amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Perhaps with advancements in genomics a super protein can be developed and deployed to regulate the amount of Co2 in the atmosphere.

Geoengineeing at the first glance sounds like a less ideal solution than a transition to a low carbon economy, however, if such low carbon transition doesn’t happen, it may be the silver bullet to save many lives and make some people very rich.

Reference

[1] “Chamath Palihapitiya on Twitter: “The world’s first trillionaire ….” https://twitter.com/chamath/status/1318910679856807937?lang=en. Accessed 26 Dec. 2020.

[2] “An earth system model shows self-sustained melting … – Nature.” 12 Nov. 2020, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-75481-z. Accessed 26 Dec. 2020.

[3] “UN Emissions Gap Report Says World is Behind on ….” 9 Dec. 2020, https://time.com/5919239/un-emissions-gap-climate-change/. Accessed 26 Dec. 2020.

[4] From The David Rubenstein Show: Saudi Wealth Fund Head Yasir Al-Rumayyan https://youtu.be/bUcyQGOzG3s?t=904

[5] “Stratospheric aerosol injection tactics and ….” 23 Nov. 2018, https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aae98d. Accessed 26 Dec. 2020.

[6] “Ocean Iron Fertilization – Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.” https://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/special-series/ocean-iron-fertilization/. Accessed 26 Dec. 2020.

[7] “The Biological Productivity of the Ocean | Learn Science at ….” https://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/the-biological-productivity-of-the-ocean-70631104/. Accessed 26 Dec. 2020.

[8] “A genetically encoded photosensitizer protein facilitates the ….” 5 Nov. 2018, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41557-018-0150-4. Accessed 26 Dec. 2020.

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Mike Hassaballa
Mike earned a master’s degree in applied science in 2013, then he launched his career in the data centre industry. In 2015, he shifted gears and took on a Lead Engineer role in a company developing emission reductions technology. He then moved in 2018 into energy consulting. Mike focuses on most critical issues and opportunities in business: strategy, operations, technology, transformation, advanced analytics, and sustainability. Mike writes fascinating stories meant to be read by anyone. He excels in simplifying complex subjects and bringing a fresh new perspective to pressing issues.

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