Climate solutions (Part 2): for 2050 

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Jump to: Industrial Feedstocks and High Temperature Heating ~ Agriculture ~ the Fossil Fuel Treaty ~ Degrowth and the Circular Economy ~

In chapter 5, we examined the three (relatively) easiest ways to cut carbon emissions in the short term: electricity production, ground transportation, and heating.There are other transitions needed, but they are more difficult and will take more time to implement. Fossil-free aviation is rapidly advancing, but it’s still far from being a viable alternative. Fossil-free alternatives to industrial processes like steel and cement production already exist, but there is still a long way to go before these are commercially viable at the scale required. And ultimately, we must address the agricultural sector and make the transition to regenerative forms of agriculture that do not emit anywhere near as much methane, nitrous oxide or carbon dioxide as present methods of farming. Defining “net-zero”

The goal in the medium term is to reach “net-zero” emissions by 2050. Remember, net-zero by 2050 is only a target worth aiming for after making sure we drastically cut emissions down in the short term to no more than 30 GtCO2 by 2030.[1] Going for net-zero under any other scenario will not protect us from a 2.0 degree climate catastrophe or worse.

There will always be some residual level of carbon emissions resulting from human activity, even if it is only from our breathing.[2] There is probably no way to eliminate emissions entirely from industry, food production, or waste management. 

So to stop and ultimately reverse global warming to a level that is sustainable for humans and other life forms on this planet, we must find a way to balance emissions of greenhouse gases with the sinks that absorb, or sequester, an equivalent amount, leaving us with net emissions of zero. That’s the true meaning of “net-zero.”

The burning question: How much additional carbon could be sequestered by forests, soils, wetlands, and oceans? That number will basically determine the amount of carbon that can safely continue to be emitted and still achieve “net-zero” overall emissions.

We don’t yet know exactly how to calculate the ideal balance of emissions and sinks. Some would argue that net-zero itself is not sufficient until we remove the bulk of the carbon that has been accumulating in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution. That would mean going below net-zero to negative emissions for a certain period of time.[3]

The global carbon sink consists of forests, oceans, soil and wetlands. Some of this remains relatively untouched by humans and is therefore not counted as part of the anthropogenic carbon balance. The anthropogenic balance includes large areas of forest and wetlands that are managed by humans, including areas undergoing deforestation or development.

In the US, the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forests (LULUCF) category is calculated to represent a net sink of carbon, absorbing around 700 MMT of carbon out of the 6,000 MMT of carbon emitted from human activities, mostly from the burning of fossil fuels. Globally, however, as much as 10 million hectares of forest are being cut down every year,[4] resulting in the LULUCF category being a net emitter of up to 6.5 Gt CO2-eq of carbon.[5]

Currently, there are about four billion hectares of forest left on Earth. At the current rate of deforestation, around one-third of that will be gone within a century.[6] And of course, with former forest land now a net emitter of carbon, that rate of deforestation is not at all sustainable from a climate perspective, let alone from the perspective of biodiversity and the loss of habitat for millions of other life forms.

Stopping deforestation is therefore a high priority for climate, and would cut a further 6.5 Gt CO2-eq from global emissions. The IPCC estimates that with a major effort of global afforestation, forests and wetlands could become a net carbon sink and sequester as much as 7.3 Gt CO2-eq of carbon per year.[7] And depending on the scale of tree-planting achieved, that amount could vary considerably.

If the global carbon sink from forests, etc. were 7.3 Gt CO2-eq per year, then the world can emit an equivalent 7.3 Gt CO2-eq of carbon per year and be at net-zero. And if the carbon sink were as much as 15.6 Gt CO2-eq, that would mean more than double the amount of carbon could still be emitted and remain at net-zero.

To reach net zero by 2050, we need to start tree planting on a massive scale now, coupled with restoration of wetlands and other measures to protect and increase the natural carbon sinks of the planet.  Even with a highly successful CCS program (which as we saw above seems improbable), residual emissions of at least 7.3 GtCO2-eq per year will remain with us by 2050, so reaching net-zero will require at least 7.3 GtCO2-eq per year of sequestration.

Figure 6.1 Civilian Conservation Corps planted 3 billion trees[8]

Reforestation and land restoration

A major program of re-forestation and restoration of wetlands could increase the total capacity for GHG absorption by 1,000 MMT or more in the US, according to some studies.[9]This would involve planting as many as 32.5 million trees per year on existing federal lands. As noted in Chapter 4, three million people were employed in the 1930s to plant three billion trees during President Roosevelt’s New Deal. Those were previously unemployed people whom the government put back to work.[10] If we did it then, we can do it again. This time, our lives depend on it.

And because trees take so long to mature, this can’t wait! We need to be planting trees now in order to have trees sequestering enough carbon by 2050 and beyond.

Globally, a number of major tree-planting efforts have been launched, including a planting of 350 million saplings in Ethiopia, a “billion tree tsunami” in Pakistan, and a tree-planting project in China that aims to cover an area the size of Germany.[11] None of these come close to adding up to a trillion trees, but some billions of trees are enough to make a difference, so long as they are carefully chosen and handled to prevent further environmental degradation.

Air travel

As noted in chapter 3, air travel accounts for roughly 1 GtCO2-eq of carbon emissions globally per year (0.4 GtCO2-eq from domestic flights and 0.6 GtCO2-eq from international flights). Air travel was not included in the goals for 2030 because it accounts for only a few percent of total emissions and because it will take some time to eliminate this. Fossil-free air travel requires powerful and very lightweight batteries and/or hydrogen-powered engines, but these are coming.

Two-seater battery-powered electric airplanes have been flying the skies since 2010, and the first all-electric passenger airliner, named “Alice,” made its maiden voyage in October 2022. Alice will soon be transporting loads of 9 passengers at a time on journeys of up to 250 miles. [12]

In March 2023, a 40-passenger hydrogen electric plane, “Lightning McClean,” made its first flight.[13] Although hydrogen planes can still so far only make short to medium distance flights,[14] it is theoretically possible to retrofit existing jet fuel airplanes to run on hydrogen. The fuelling process is also compatible with pre-existing freight networks and airport equipment. The first major batch of converted hydrogen aircraft is due for delivery in 2025.[15]

Larger all-electric passenger planes are still in development, and the ratio of battery weight to distance travelled still represents a challenge.[16] However, in the US, United Airlines is already in the process of purchasing 30-seat electric planes for short regional routes that could enter service as soon as 2030.[17] And in the UK, EasyJet plans to have a 186-seat commercial passenger jet with an 800-mile range by then.[18]

Figure 6.2 Eviation “Alice” electric plane prototype[19]

Clearly much more research and development is needed before electric and hydrogen powered aircraft are in a position to replace the 100,000 flights that carry as many as 6 million passengers every single day to every corner of the globe. To cut emissions from air travel will require more than just a one-to-one replacement of existing jet fuelled planes with their electric equivalents. It will require more business trips and international meetings to be conducted online rather than in person. It will require slowing down from the fast pace of travel that people in wealthier countries have become used to. And it will almost certainly require a scaling down of air travel as other modes of public transportation, like high-speed rail, become more available. But, like cars, it is unrealistic to think that air travel will go away altogether, and it will remain an absolute lifeline for some.[20]


Ships, of course, have sailed the seven seas for centuries without the use of fossil fuels. However, rather than returning to the era of sailing ships, new developments in marine propulsion are already well underway, with battery-powered cruise ships and ferries.  The world’s first 2,000-ton electric cargo ship was launched in China in 2017.[21]

In 2022, the Norwegian chemical company Yara International put the fully electric 3200-ton cargo ship “Birkeland” into commercial operation.[22] Other shipping companies are gearing up for the transition away from fossil fuels. This transition will take time. But the 1 GtCO2-eq of carbon currently emitted from inland (0.2 GtCO2-eq) and international (0.8 GtCO2-eq) shipping can and must be eliminated by 2050.

Industrial feedstocks and high-temperature heating  

Industry altogether accounts for nearly a quarter of all carbon emissions. As we saw in chapter 5, about 35% of this comes from burning fossil fuels for low-level heating (up to 100°C) and running machinery, all of which should make the transition to clean electricity by 2030. That leaves approximately 65% of emissions (10 GtCO2-eq) which come from certain industrial processes that require very high temperatures and/or the use of fossil fuels themselves as “feedstocks” in the production of other materials, such as steel and cement.

The production of iron and steel accounts for as much as 2.5 GtCO2-eq of direct emissions globally. A large part of that comes from making “pig iron” out of iron ore using a blast furnace. But steel is also already the most recycled material in the world. Recycling scrap steel bypasses the blast furnace and already cuts emissions by up to 50%.[23]

The second biggest source of emissions in the steel industry is the production of coke, which is made directly from coal, and is also used in other industries for smelting metals. Some steel plants bypass coke by using natural gas to produce “direct reduced iron” or DRI.[24] Electric arc furnaces (EAF) are also being used to replace the “basic oxygen furnace” that normally takes pig iron and/or scrap metal to the next stage of the steel-making process. Using DRI and EAF can reduce emissions by another 35%.

Finally, “green steel” can theoretically be made using green hydrogen. A company in Sweden called HYBRIT (Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology) is attempting to decarbonize every step of the steelmaking process.[25] 

To move every steel plant in the world onto DRI, EAF and green hydrogen processes will take time and money, but it is totally within our capability to be producing steel with zero carbon emissions and that must be the goal for 2050.

Cement production accounts for another 2.0 GtCO2-eq of carbon emissions. Cement is made from limestone and other materials that are heated in a kiln to form “clinker.” Some 60-70% of the carbon emissions from the production of cement come from the process of converting limestone into lime, which creates CO2 as one of the by-products.[26] The other 30-40% of emissions come from burning fossil fuels to heat the kiln. As with steel-making, the use of electric arc furnaces instead of burning coal can reduce emissions by 30-40%. That leaves the problem of converting the limestone to lime without producing CO2 as a by-product.

Scientists at George Washington University have devised a way to use electrolysis to get lime without the resultant CO2. They call it Solar Thermal Electrochemical Production of cement, and it is one of the promising new methods for producing emission-free cement.[27]

Other approaches to reducing carbon emissions from cement production involve finding a replacement for cement altogether. The Romans, for instance, used a mixture of volcanic ash and lime to make concrete, and many of their structures are still standing thousands of years later.[28] Other experimental materials include cement made from recycled plastic, hemp, steel dust and even mushrooms.[29]

There’s a long way to go to replace carbon-intensive cement production with carbon-free alternatives, but as with steel, that must be our goal for 2050.

Another large portion of carbon emissions comes from making all sorts of chemicals, metals and other industrial products. As with steel and cement, the electric arc furnace is a key component of any decarbonized industry, using electricity produced from renewable sources. This will eliminate the bulk of industrial emissions in these other industries. The emissions still remaining will require further research and development to get to zero by 2050.

Industrial waste accounts for a staggering 2.3 GtCO2-eq of carbon emissions per year. That includes methane and other gases leaking from slag heaps, decomposing plastic waste, ash, sludge, mining slurry, emissions from industrial wastewater, toxic waste dumps, incinerators and so on. Surprisingly little attention is being given to this source of carbon emissions, except to encourage more recycling and reusing of industrial waste products.[30]

Some see industrial waste as a potential source of carbon sequestration by mixing atmospheric CO2 with certain kinds of waste to create solids that would store carbon. This process of mineralization is being tested with the alkaline waste from diamond mines in northern Canada. After pumping carbon dioxide, methane and diesel fuel into waste slurry from the diamond mine, researchers were able to create a solid rock-like substance containing all the CO2 within it. [31]


It will be slow and difficult to reduce 6.4 GtCO2-eq of carbon emissions from the agricultural sector. Luckily, we are not aiming for 100% elimination of carbon emissions by 2050, but only for net-zero emissions. That means aiming to reduce emissions from agriculture by as much as 50% by 2050, leaving the remainder to be offset by the amount of carbon absorbed back out of the atmosphere, mainly from forests and wetlands.

Government support will be key to making the transition to more sustainable farming methods that reduce reliance on nitrogen fertilizers, revert to the ancient practice of crop rotation, and reduce methane emissions from cattle. It will require serious effort to heal our damaged earth from disruptive agricultural practices, and serious research to find better ways to reduce carbon emissions from the agricultural sector.

Agriculture accounts for almost a quarter of global carbon emissions at present. Half of that (6.5 GtCO2-eq), however, is from LULUCF, which, as discussed in Chapter 3, needs to be turned into a net sink through regeneration of lost forest and wetlands. That leaves 6.4 GtCO2-eq of emissions coming from cows and other livestock (3 Gt), soil management practices (1.5 Gt), manure (0.4 Gt), rice cultivation (1 Gt), use of fertilizers (0.4 Gt), and crop burning (0.06 Gt).

Soil management practices are responsible for 1.5 GtCO2-eq of carbon emissions worldwide. Properly managed soils sequester carbon and provide an important sink for the global carbon cycle. But soil that suffers erosion, runoff, and routine tilling releases all that carbon and creates a net source of emissions. Proper crop rotation methods not only preserve the soil but also eliminate the need for excessive fertilizer use, another source of carbon emissions.

It’s even more important to preserve grasslands and pastures so that they become valuable carbon sinks, drawing in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it underground. When natural grassland is plowed up for cultivation rather than left for grazing, that carbon is released into the atmosphere.

The largest source of GHG emissions in the agriculture sector is not carbon at all. Cows and other ruminants digest their food by “enteric fermentation” and belch out methane (3 GtCO2-eq), which is 25 times more potent at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon. (Yes, belching, not farting, is the issue.)

Researchers from the University of California Davis claimed in 2021 that feeding cattle on seaweed can reduce their production of methane gas by as much as 82%.[32] More research is needed on this, and it would require a major retooling of the seaweed industry as well as the cattle industry. However, cows grazing on beaches around the world have apparently been eating seaweed for thousands of years.[33]

Meanwhile, methane from livestock manure accounts for 0.4 GtCO2-eq of GHG emissions. Modern large-scale manure handling methods go hand in hand with industrial scale feedlots. They rely largely on storage of manure as a liquid, which greatly increases methane emissions. It can be captured and burned in digesters to produce electricity, but that also emits carbon into the atmosphere and so is not a long-term solution. [34]

However, where cattle graze the old-fashioned way in open fields, depositing their manure wherever they go, the manure remains relatively dry. Spread out over a large area, it provides natural fertilizer for the pasture, eliminates the need for artificial fertilizers, and emits far less methane.

Grass-fed cattle produce more methane than grain-fed cattle, according to various studies.[35] But since they also fertilize the soil they graze on with their manure, they may actually be reducing total emissions.[36]

Should we stop breeding and eating methane-belching cattle? We should definitely not be cutting down forests for cattle grazing, for growing their feed corn, or for building cattle ranches. But it’s not so bad (at least from a climate perspective) to have cattle grazing on natural grasslands, where they keep the carbon-sequestering grass healthy and naturally fertilized in a symbiotic ecosystem.

Fertilizers account for another 0.4 GtCO2-eq of carbon emissions. Much of this comes from overuse or improper use of fertilizers causing run-off and release of nitrous oxide.[37] More precise measuring and timing of fertilizer application can cut emissions substantially. Organic farming methods obviate the need for artificial fertilizers altogether.

Regenerative farming methods exist, and if practiced on a global scale could cut emissions drastically. But once again, making these kinds of changes will take time. When we are talking about changing the way people have managed the land for hundreds or even thousands of years, it will also take money and other forms of support to enable these transitions to take place.

Globally, changing ancient traditional methods for billions of subsistence farmers will be even more difficult than removing carbon emissions completely from industrial processes. The bulk of remaining emissions will therefore be assumed to be in the agricultural sector, while every effort is made between 2030 and 2050 to decarbonize the remaining sources of emissions from industry, transportation, the energy sector, and buildings.

Non-combustion uses of petroleum  

Whatever is done to reduce and remove carbon emissions from industry, there will still be a global demand for plastics, paints, solvents and other products that are made directly from petroleum. As long as these store carbon, rather than releasing it into the atmosphere, these uses of fossil fuels may remain with us as long as fossil fuels remain in the ground. That’s a better way to use petroleum than burning it, but we have a long way to go to keep these petroleum products from turning into litter and toxic pollution.  

A Fossil Fuel Treaty 

If we want to save the planet from climate catastrophe, we have to stop burning fossil fuels. That is the simple, straightforward, unequivocal solution to the climate crisis. We can stop deforestation and begin to regenerate our forests and we can cut back on agricultural emissions.

But unless we stop burning fossil fuels completely by 2050, we are not being serious about addressing this crisis. And to stop the entire world from burning fossil fuels means agreeing to a treaty that commits all countries to doing that in a fair, equitable, just manner.

Such a treaty would not end all traditional burning of biomass. It would not end the use of petroleum for making medicines and other useful products. But it would set a date for the elimination of all burning of fossil fuels, and that date should be no later than 2050.

Beginning in earnest in 2016, fourteen Pacific Island nations discussed the beginning of what would become the movement for a Fossil Fuel Treaty.[38] Their primary goal is for countries to commit to collaboration in accelerating the move toward clean energy, stopping development of coal, oil and gas infrastructure, and ensuring that the transition is done equitably with regard to workers worldwide and in countries of the Global South.[39] 

Meanwhile, a group of governments led by Denmark and Costa Rica have created the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) to facilitate the managed phase-out of oil and gas production within those countries and beyond. As of 2023, this alliance includes 12 other countries, three sub-national territories and two US states (Washington and California).[40]

Tuvalu, an island nation at great risk of being drowned by rising seas, was the first country to demand a fossil fuel treaty at the COP27 United Nations climate talks in 2022.[41] Although none of the largest emitters have called for or supported such a treaty, a number of Pacific Island nations, the WHO, and the European Parliament have encouraged development of a Fossil Fuel Treaty.[42]

“De-Growth” and the “circular economy”

There are those who argue that moving to renewable energy sources and off fossil fuels is a pipe dream. It can never happen, they say. Solar and wind will never take the place of oil and gas in an industrialized world.

There are others who argue that moving to renewable energy and away from fossil fuels will not solve the problem. They argue that for every problem we solve, we just create more, potentially worse problems. In the case of solar and wind, we just create new dependencies on rare earth metals and other scarce resources whose mining and processing will destroy the earth just as fast as global warming will.

Neither of those arguments stands up to the reality presented in this book. We strongly suggest that we can make the transition to renewables and we can also do it without destroying the earth in the process.

However, there is another argument which must be taken more seriously, and that is the argument that we cannot simply go on digging up more and more materials out of the earth, making them into things that only last a few decades at most, and then dumping them into landfills.

We live on a finite piece of real estate that has finite resources. We can neither grow our population indefinitely nor mine the earth’s minerals indefinitely. Sooner or later we will run out of food, land to grow food on, and/or the other materials needed to sustain the global human civilization we have built (basically life as we know it).

The only sustainable future for humanity in the long run is one that is based on the principles of a so-called “circular economy.”[43] That is an economy which models the cycles of nature, where one being’s waste product is another being’s next meal, and nothing goes to waste.

In the long run, if we are going to have wind turbines and solar panels, batteries and EVs, we have to be able to build them from recycled parts, because we cannot keep digging indefinitely for resources out of the ground. We are going to have to build everything we need out of recycled parts, and that means everything that is produced will need to be recycled.

Recycling is a enormously important pillar of the circular economy, as is re-purposing, re-using, repairing, refurbishing, recovering, and lots of other words beginning with R.[44] One of the circular economy “R”s is reducing, and that is the most contentious one.

For many who are looking at long-term sustainability, there can be no more profligate consumerism or models of endless growth in which everyone is constantly making more money and having a higher standard of living. Economic growth itself is unsustainable.

Proponents of “de-growth” argue that our current levels of consumption are unsustainable, and that down-sizing is going to be an essential component of any transition to a sustainable economy.[45] This could appear to run counter to the concept of “sustainable development,” which is about bringing the rest of the world up to the living standards enjoyed by the middle classes in wealthier nations – but in a “sustainable” way.

Sustainable development does not necessarily imply a world of 8 or 10 billion profligate consumers, constantly being encouraged to buy more and more “things.”  The bottom line of the UN’s sustainable development goals is that every human being on the planet should have some basic rights, and these include the right to food, to shelter, to education, to healthcare, to basic necessities. Nowhere do the sustainable development goals talk about the right to a second home, a yacht or a private jet.

The question is this: can everyone on the planet have the basic necessities of life without a lot of other people having to give up some of what they already have? If not, then we are talking about “de-growth” for the wealthier populations of the world, even if we are simultaneously talking about “sustainable development” for the poorer populations.[46]

Let’s look at cars, for example. We have argued in Chapter 5 that an essential component of the transition to a green economy is replacing gasoline cars with EVs. If we are going to reduce carbon emissions to the levels needed, we absolutely have to put an end to the internal combustion engine.

There are almost twice as many cars as households in the United States right now. And the majority of car journeys in the US are made with only a single occupant.

We also focused on the importance of public transportation. Getting people onto (electric) buses and trains is already a huge step toward reducing carbon emissions. But it is also a huge step toward actually reducing the number of cars on the road. This is not just good for reducing carbon emissions but for reducing all the metals and other materials that have to be dug out of the ground, processed, manufactured, and shipped to make each car.

There is no long-term sustainable economy for the United States that does not involve a drastic reduction in the number of cars on the road in that country. We already have special lanes in many urban areas that are exclusively for “high occupancy vehicles.” Even when HOV=2, that’s half the number of cars that would be on the road if every car had only one person in it.

HOV lanes need to be extended to many more lanes of highway across the United States, discouraging the use of cars with fewer than two or three or four people in them…

But it’s unrealistic to do away with cars altogether. People who live in more out-of-reach areas also need better public transportation, but buses and trains will never meet everyone’s needs in every situation. Cars are very convenient and useful and, in parts of the world, people who have never had access to cars (and ambulances, and fire trucks) will not suddenly accept a world in which there are none.

In a crowded country like India, only a tiny proportion of the population owns cars, and cars are just one relatively small component of the menagerie of vehicles that one finds on any given road. Yet even there, fewer cars would benefit all other users of the Indian road system, cut pollution, save lives, and cut the need for yet more steel, iron, rare metals, and raw ingredients for plastic to be dug out of the ground.

The goal, by 2050, is to find the right balance between what George Monbiot refers to as “private sufficiency and public luxury.”[47]

[1] See Chapter 5.

[2] We each breathe out approximately 2.3 pounds of carbon dioxide every single day. That adds up to as much as 3 Gt-CO2e per year for the whole human population. See Palmer, B. (2015, May 19). Do We Exhale Carbon? NRDC.

[3] See Fiekowsky, P., & Douglis, C. (2022). Climate Restoration: The Only Future That Will Sustain the Human Race. Rivertowns Books.

[4] FAO. (2020). Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020 – Key findings (p. 4).

[5] This is the net carbon emissions from LULUCF, mainly the result of deforestation and spread of urban areas.

[6] Ritchie, H. (2021, February 9). The world has lost one-third of its forest, but an end of deforestation is possible. Our World in Data.

[7] Not to be confused with the unrealistic goal of planting 1 trillion trees (see chapter 4). Slade, R., et al. (2022). Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change. In P. R. Shukla & J. Skea (Eds.), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (p. 750). Working Group III.

[8] Photo: Public Domain

[9] See, for instance, Daley, J. (2019, February 27). Let’s Reforest America to Act on Climate. American Forests; Medium. and also United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. (2016). United States Mid-Century Strategy for Deep Decarbonization (p. 68). UNFCCC.

[10] See n.a. (2018), “85 Years Ago: FDR’s forest army planted 3 billion trees” Treesource.

[11] See Welz, Adam (2021), “Are Huge Tree Planting Projects More Hype Than Solution?” in Yale Environment 360:

[12] Delbert, C. (2022, October 3). Alice, the World’s First All-Electric Passenger Jet, Just Aced Her Maiden Flight. Popular Mechanics; Hearst Digital Media.

[13] Gundry, K. (2023, March 2). Universal Hydrogen Successfully Completes First Flight of Hydrogen Regional Airliner. Business Wire; Berkshire Hathaway.

[14] Gallucci, M. (2023, August 2). The first hydrogen-powered planes are taking flight. Canary Media.

18 Gallucci, M. (2023, August 2). The first hydrogen-powered planes are taking flight. Canary Media.

[16] Niquette, P. (2019). Flying Off the Grid — Puzzle.

[17] Thomas, I. (2022, October 10). United Airlines is aiming to have electric planes flying by 2030. CNBC; NBCUniversal.

[18] Garay, E. (2022, March 3). Electric Planes Are Coming Sooner Than You Think. AFAR.

[19] Artist depiction, Wikimedia Commons.

[20] For example, traveling to and from islands and remote areas as well as across frozen seas.

[21] Huang, E. (2017, November 23). China’s first all-electric cargo ship is going to be used to transport coal. Quartz; G/O Media.

[22] Yara. (2021, November 12). Yara Birkeland | Yara International.

[23] According to one source, the blast furnace produces 1.219 tons of CO2 for every ton of steel. The other four steps in the process produce a total of 1.232 tons of CO2, for a total of 2.45 tons of CO2 for every ton of steel produced, on average. See Steelmaking CO2 carbon dioxide emissions by process step. (n.d.).

[24] See Peplow, M. (2021). Can Industry Decarbonize Steelmaking? Chemical & Engineering News; ACS.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Zyga, L. (2012, April 10). Solar thermal process produces cement with no carbon dioxide emissions.

[27] ibid.

[28] Patel, P. (2018, June 26). Engineers have created a cement alternative to reduce concrete’s carbon footprint. Quartz; G/O Media.

[29] Desai, A. (2020, October 6). 5 Green substitutes for concrete. Rethinking the Future.

[30] Slade, R., et al. (2022). Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change. (pp. 1220-1221). In P. R. Shukla & J. Skea (Eds.), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Working Group III.

[31] Service, R. F. (2020, September 3). Industrial waste can turn planet-warming carbon dioxide into stone. Science; AAAS.

[32] Nelson, D. (2021, March 17). Feeding Cattle Seaweed Reduces Their Greenhouse Gas Emissions 82 Percent. College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

[33] Vijn, S., et al. (2020). Key Considerations for the Use of Seaweed to Reduce Enteric Methane Emissions From Cattle. Frontiers in Veterinary Science7.

[34] See Kanter, D. R. (2018). Nitrogen pollution: a key building block for addressing climate change. Climatic Change147(1-2), 11. and

Ma, Y., et al. (2018). Modeling the impact of crop rotation with legume on nitrous oxide emissions from rain-fed agricultural systems in Australia under alternative future climate scenarios. Science of the Total Environment630, 1544–1552.

[35] Garnett, T. (2017, October 3). Why eating grass-fed beef isn’t going to help fight climate change. The Conversation.

[36]  See, for example, Brown, V. (2018, April 10). Can Responsible Grazing Make Beef Climate-Neutral? Civil Eats.

[37] Campbell, L. (2023, February 22). It’s Possible to Reduce Fertilizer Emissions by 80 Percent Before 2050. Modern Farmer.

[38] The Fossil Fuel Non-proliferation Treaty Initiative. (n.d.). Our History. Earth Island.

[39] The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative. (n.d.). The Global Just Transition Pillar of The Fossil Fuel Non- proliferation Treaty Briefing Note. Earth Island.


[41] Jordans, F., & Kabukuru, W. (2022, November 8). Call for treaty against fossil fuels discussed at UN climate summit. PBS NewsHour; Newshour Productions.

[42] The Fossil Fuel Non-FIX proliferation Treaty Initiative. (n.d.). Who Has Joined the Call for a Fossil Fuel Non-FIX proliferation Treaty?. Earth Island.

[43] See Environmental Protection Agency, “What is a Circular Economy?”

[44] Cramer, J. (2017). The Raw Materials Transition in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area: Added Value for the Economy, Well-Being, and the Environment. Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development59(3), 14–21.

[45] See Hickel, Jason (2020), “What Does De-Growth Mean? A Few Points of Clarification” in Globalizations, Vol 18, no. 7:

[46] See Robra, B., Heikkurinen, P. (2021). Degrowth and the Sustainable Development Goals. In: Leal Filho, W., Azul, A.M., Brandli, L., Lange Salvia, A., Wall, T. (eds) Decent Work and Economic Growth. Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Springer, Cham.

[47] The idea being that we need to elevate the concept of “the commons” so that all the public amenities, essential services, and public spaces can be top-notch and accessible to all, while individuals are guaranteed a reasonable and sufficient “floor” below which we guarantee that no one will fall—as

everyone deserves to live in basic dignity. See Monbiot, G. (2020), “Private Sufficiency, Public Luxury,” Fortieth Annual E.F. Schumacher Lectures, Schumacher Centre.