Previously, I complained about how setting climate targets can actually impede action, by drawing attention towards numbers rather than action, and by giving people the false sense that we can delay change. The 10:10 campaign, which is being advanced by The Guardian, seems like a good idea. It aims to have individuals, companies and institutions reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 10% by the end of 2010. I like the near-term focus. While we ultimately need to begin a deep and long process of transition to carbon neutrality, the cuts we can make today will be the most valuable. That’s because anything we emit now will still be in the atmosphere by the time humanity is (hopefully) reaching carbon neutrality. We need to change the direction of emission change – from rising to falling – all around the world, as well as begin the institutional transformations that will be needed to sustain the fall all the way to the bottom.
Individual actions are not going to save us. That said, we desperately need to move from a mindset where we expect emissions reductions in 2025 from unknown technologies to one where we are constantly striving to drive our emissions to zero.