This innovative new solar cycle track in Hyderabad City offers one way in which less polluting and healthier transport might contribute towards a rapid transition, despite the growing physical challenge of living with climate change-driven heat. Extreme heat is already a problem in India and deadly heatwaves are set to grow increasingly severe as global tempertures rise. According to Telegana state authorities, this is the first long-distance solar panel covered cycle track in India. Laid alongside a major highway in Hyderabad city, it has a solar roof with an installed capacity of 16 MW – enough to provide power to thousands of homes.
On Monday, March 20, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published the final part of its Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), called the Synthesis Report (SYR). The report is a compilation of the IPCC’s three previous assessment reports, which covered the science of climate change, its risks and impacts, and the means of adaptation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The text also covers the 2018 report on the impacts of global heating beyond 1.5°C and special reports on climate, oceans, and land. The IPCC notes that human activities have “unequivocally caused global warming, with global surface temperature reaching 1.1°C above 1850-1900 [pre-industrial levels] in 2011-2020.”
Decisions made this decade will largely determine whether world leaders can limit global warming to 1.5 or two degrees Celsius of warming below pre-industrial levels and avoid the increasingly more drastic impacts of the climate crisis. That’s one key takeaway from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Synthesis Report of the findings gathered in its Sixth Assessment Cycle. The Summary for Policymakers, released Monday, found that all economic sectors would need to launch “rapid and deep and, in most cases, immediate” cuts in greenhouse gas emissions before 2030 in order to have a more than 50 percent chance of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius or a more than 67 percent chance of limiting it to two degrees Celsius of warming.
In the various speeches on the climate, we find a large number of commonplaces, repeated a thousand times in all tones, which constitute wrong ideas, which lead, voluntarily or not, to ignoring the real issues, or to belief in pseudo-solutions. I am not referring here to negationist speeches, but to those that claim to be “green” or “sustainable”. These are assertions of a very diverse nature: some are real manipulations, fake news, lies, mystifications; others are half-truths, or a quarter of the truth. Many of them are full of good will and good intentions – the road to hell, as we know, is paved with them. This is the road we are on: if we continue with business as usual – even if painted green – in a few decades we will find ourselves in a situation much worse than most of the circles of hell described by Dante Alighieri in his Divine Comedy.
Making neighborhoods more “green” through environmental infrastructure and other green investments such as open space parks, rain gardens, permeable pavement and rainwater harvesting can result in an area being perceived as more desirable, which can lead to rents and property values going up. This, in turn, leads to lower-income residents being pushed out — a process called “green gentrification.” As wealthier residents move in, so do businesses that accommodate their tastes, while longer-term residents who don’t earn as much are faced with rising living costs, disappearing community institutions and, eventually, being displaced altogether. According to a report by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), rewilding could lead to those with lower incomes being pushed out of their local communities, The Guardian reported.
Public banks, in particular, are shown to have much greater financial capacity than commonly believed. Whereas the IATF 2019 Report claims there is only $5 trillion in combined public bank assets (so, hardly sufficient to tackle the $4 to $6 trillion in additional annual climate mitigation investments by 2030), the TNI contribution demonstrates that there are nearly 700 public banks around the world that have combined assets nearing $38 trillion (that’s about 48 percent of global GDP). Put otherwise, 20 percent of all bank assets are still publicly owned and controlled.