The fight against climate change should focus on reaching positive climate tipping points
At some point, economic forces snowball so that coal becomes too expensive to burn, or electric cars become vastly cheaper than gas. These positive climate tipping points are what government policy should be trying to achieve.
Over the last few years, the planet has blown past or come dangerously near to climate tipping points—irreversible levels of damage that then also create even more warming. But just as there are moments of no return that tip us over into climate disaster, the inverse exists as well. On the path to climate recovery, there are benchmarks that could set off a cascading series of technological advancements that would rapidly cut our carbon emissions.
One tipping point will come if we reach a point where coal isn’t just less profitable, but actually losing profits, write the authors of a new paper on these positive tipping points in the journal Climate Policy. Then, a series of environmental benefits will follow. It would pave the way for more renewable energy use, decarbonizing power generation around the world. With cheaper, cleaner power, it becomes even easier to decarbonize transportation, heating, and cooling.
Another potential tipping point is electric vehicle development. When EVs cost the same to manufacture as conventional-fuel cars, then EV production will go up, and as production increases, costs will get even cheaper.
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