Today’s Solutions: August 15, 2022

While the world has set big targets for tackling climate change, keeping track of progress is quite difficult — especially with so many factors involved. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a tool that could quantify the impact of various climate actions and clearly show how we’re doing on different fronts?

A comprehensive tracker for climate action

Luckily, just such a climate tracker is being developed. Called Speed and Scale, the tool comes in the form of a website that shows the contributions of different industries towards the global goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050 and cutting them in half by 2030.

“The tracker was born to help answer the question, ‘Where are we?’” said Ryan Panchadsaram, advisor to John Doerr, chair of the VC firm Kleiner Perkins. “Can we consolidate all the best data out there into a single place that shows us our progress toward net zero on a global scale?”

Showing the big picture

Doerr and Panchadsaram devised the tracker after publishing their book Speed and Scale, which puts forward a plan to reach net zero emissions, with 10 objectives and 55 key results. The tool updates itself regularly, showing the progress, or lack of progress, in different areas, from electric car sales to reforestation projects to flying emissions.

The tool is intended for business and political leaders said Panchadsaram, who served as deputy chief technology to the Obama administration. “The idea was to help people see where the biggest sources of emissions can come from, and the measures that they’re really tasked with to move,” he added. “The tracker is designed to encourage targeted actions. We like to say it’s about going for the gigaton. It’s about also leaning on collective might, not always just the individual piece.”

Looking at the tracker, one can see that a few of the key results are moving in the right direction. EV sales, for example, have been increasingly moving towards the target of 50 percent of all sales by 2030. “You can actually see this curve looking exponential,” Panchadsaram said. Still, there are many things that are significantly off track, including the beef and dairy industry, as well as the cost of carbon removal.

An action guide for meaningful impact

A cool thing about the website: it includes a guide with actions that cities, companies, and individuals can take to deliver a meaningful impact when tackling climate change. “I think when you look at it, you might think wow, this feels obvious,” said Panchadsaram. “This is about my energy usage, how I move, and what I eat. I think that’s part of what we hope comes from this—that the solutions to this climate crisis aren’t as opaque or far out, [and] are actually quite approachable. Rather than the fear of a climate disaster paralyzing us, it’s supposed to galvanize us. We actually can take action, and we can do it today. And let’s just get it done.”

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