By Susan A. Davis
A new United Nations report released in November provided a serious warning regarding the climate crisis we face. Unless we act now, global temperatures will spike 4 degrees by the end of the century.This year has been the hottest on record and we are seeing the impact. Superstorms, raging wildfires, droughts seem to be the new normal.
The good news is that solutions are not elusive and by working together there is a way to slow the rise in global temperatures.
While the House has taken action to address climate change, there is a new tool people are using around the country to better understand the challenges we face in creating viable solutions.
The En-ROADS initiative, created by MIT and the nonprofit, nonpartisan Climate Interactive, is a program that brings people together and requires them to engage as a group to craft climate change policy.
The nations of the world came together under the Paris Agreement with a goal of reducing global temperatures by 2 degrees by the end of the century.
With this goal in mind, the En-ROADs program looks to show how cooperation and a comprehensive approach can achieve the same outcome.
Mostly, it has been students who have taken up this challenge, but the creators of the initiative believe state, city, and local government leaders can participate to determine what policies they can implement to stem the rise in global temperatures.
In fact, just last month members of Congress were briefed on this new program.
En-ROADS takes a group of people and divides them into small groups representing stakeholders, such as climate activists, developed nations, developing nations, energy efficiency, fossil fuels, and renewable energy.
They then set about coming up with policy solutions requiring each group representing different sectors to find an approach that leads to a two-degree drop in global temperatures by 2100.
The groups eventually (usually through encouragement) then begin to negotiate with each other to come to an agreement.
The two big takeaways from these sessions? People are realizing how hard it is to reach the goal of reducing rising temperatures and there is no silver bullet to ending climate change. It’s going to take discussion, compromise, and a myriad of approaches to get the job done!
We cannot just look at reducing carbon emissions — while very important and a key component to reducing the effects of climate change.
We must look at sustainable communities. It’s not just cars with better gas mileage but how about fewer cars! Encouraging more bicycling through increased bike lanes. Making public transportation more accessible, reliable, and more affordable.
There is reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and increasing access to renewable energy. Looking at population and deforestation. Carbon pricing needs to play a role as well as building and industry energy efficiency.
How we look at these aspects to address the climate crisis and doing it while working together is what En-ROADS is all about.
This climate interactive tool should not be seen as something just for the classroom or government representatives. It can be a resource for citizens to use to learn more about how we can address the existential threat of our lifetime. Maybe they can take what they learned to their local representatives with ideas and proposals on how we solve this problem.
Get together with your friends, relatives, and neighbors. The challenge: See if you can achieve what world leaders are striving for, which is to bring down our planet’s temperature.
We would love to hear what you discovered and how you approached the goal of reducing climate change. Send your findings to susandavis.house.gov/contact.
We are literally all in this together. No one is immune. This tool shows it will take a team effort — people coming together to find common ground to solve this. Only together can we create a sustainable Earth for future generations.
— Congresswoman Davis represents central San Diego, including the communities of Grantville, Allied Gardens, San Carlos, Del Cerro, Old Town, Kensington, Mission Hills, University Heights, Hillcrest Bankers Hill, North Park, South Park, Talmadge, Normal Heights, as well as La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley and parts of El Cajon and Chula Vista.