An Action Plan for Solving Our Climate Crisis Now

1.0
Electrify Transportation
Reduce 8 gigatons of transportation emissions to 2 gigatons by 2050.
1.1
Price

EVs achieve price and performance parity with new combustion-engine vehicles in the U.S. by 2024, and in India and China by 2030.

Updated June 2022
Off Course

$64,338 (average EV) vs. $44,801 (average full-size car)

Data: Kelley Blue Book

Date: June 2022

1.2
Cars

One of two new personal vehicles purchased worldwide are EVs by 2030, 95% by 2040.

Updated June 2022
Strong Momentum

EV share of global auto sales rose from 4% in 2020 to nearly 9% in 2021.

Data: BloombergNEF

Date: June 2022

1.3
Buses & Trucks

All new buses are electric by 2025; 30% of medium and heavy trucks purchased are zero-emissions vehicles by 2030; 95% of trucks by 2045.

Updated June 2022
Limited Progress

Over the past decade, e-bus share has grown from 1% to 44%. But the share of sustainable trucks is at just 1.2%—and since the truck market is 70X larger, the KR sits at “limited progress.”

Data: BloombergNEF

Date: 2021

1.4
Miles

50% of miles driven globally (two- and three-wheelers, cars, buses, and trucks) are electric by 2040, 95% by 2050.

Updated June 2022
Off Course

EV global share of miles driven: 7.2%

Data: BloombergNEF

Date: 2021

1.5
Planes

Low-carbon fuel powers 20% of miles flown by 2025; carbon-neutral fuel powers 40% of miles flown by 2040.

Updated June 2022
Off Course

<0.1% of flights use sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)

Data: IATA

Date: 2019

1.6
Maritime

Shift all new construction to “zero-ready” ships by 2030.

Updated June 2022
Off Course

Projected launch of first carbon-neutral ships: 2023.

Data: Maersk

Date: 2021

2.0
Decarbonize the Grid
Reduce 24 gigatons of global electricity and heating emissions to 3 gigatons by 2050.
2.1
Zero Emissions

50% of electricity worldwide comes from zero-emissions sources by 2025, 90% by 2035.

Updated June 2022
Strong Momentum

Global market share of zero-emissions electricity: 39%

Data: IEA

Date: 2020

2.2
Solar & Wind

Solar and wind are cheaper to build and operate than emitting sources in all countries by 2025

Updated June 2022
Strong Momentum

Two thirds of the world’s population lives in nations where renewable sources are cheaper than fossil fuels.

Data: BloombergNEF

Date: 2021

2.3
Storage

Electricity storage drops below $50 per kWh for short duration (4–24 hours) by 2025, $10 per kWh for long duration (14–30 days) by 2030.

Updated June 2022
Off Course

Short-term storage: $288/kWh

Long-term storage: $265/kWh

Data: BloombergNEF

Date: 2021

2.4
Coal & Gas

No new coal or gas plants from 2023 on; existing plants to retire or zero out emissions by 2025 for coal and by 2035 for gas.*

Updated June 2022
Code Red

345 coal-fired units and 438 gas-plant units are under construction globally.

Data: Global Energy Monitor

Date: Jan. 2022

2.5
Methane Emissions

Eliminate leaks, venting, and most flaring from coal, oil, and gas sites by 2025.

Updated June 2022
Code Red

While methane emissions from drill sites dropped 5% in 2020, due to decreased production of oil & gas during the pandemic, they likely rebounded in 2021.

Data: IEA

Date: 2020

2.6
Heating & Cooking

Cut gas and oil for heating and cooking in half by 2040.* 

Updated June 2022
Off Course

Fossil fuels power 35% of cooking stoves and heat 57% of U.S. homes

Data: U.S. Census Bureau

Date: 2019

2.7
Clean Economy

To more than triple the energy productivity rate by 2035, we must phase out fossil fuels while also boosting energy efficiency.

Updated June 2022
Limited Progress

World average: $224 in GDP per $1 of fuel consumption.

Data: BP Statistical Review and World Bank

Date: 2020

3.0
Fix Food
Reduce 9 gigatons of agricultural emissions to 2 gigatons by 2050.
3.1
Farm Soils

Improve soil health through practices that increase carbon content in topsoils to a minimum of 3%.

Updated June 2022
Off Course

1.4%: Average carbon content of farm soils in the U.S.

Data: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

Date: 2013; published 2017

3.2
Fertilizers

Stop the overuse of nitrogen-based fertilizers and develop greener alternatives to cut emissions in half by 2050.

Updated June 2022
Off Course

69.8 kilograms per hectare: global average for nitrogen-based fertilizers

Data: FAO

Date: 2019

3.3
Consumption

Promote lower-emissions proteins, cutting annual consumption of beef and dairy 25% by 2030, 50% by 2050.

Updated June 2022
Code Red

U.S. per capita weekly consumption: 1.1 lbs. of beef and 3.8 lbs. of dairy

Data: OECD

Date: 2020

3.4
Rice

Reduce methane and nitrous oxide from rice farming by 50% by 2050.

Updated June 2022
Off Course

~0.5 million of 150 million (less than 1%) of small rice farmers certified as sustainable

Data: WRI and the Sustainable Rice Platform

Date: 2014 and 2021

3.5
Food Waste

Lower the food waste ratio from 40% of all food produced to 10%.

Updated June 2022
Off Course

40%: estimated global portion of food that is wasted

Data: WWF and Tesco

Date: 2021

4.0
Protect Nature
Go from 6 gigatons of emissions to -1 gigatons by 2050.
4.1
Forests

Achieve net zero deforestation by 2030; end destructive practices and logging in primary forests.

Updated June 2022
Code Red

3.75 million hectares of primary forest lost annually

Data: Global Forest Watch

Date: 2021

4.2
Oceans

Eliminate deep-sea bottom trawling and protect at least 30% of oceans by 2030, 50% by 2050

Updated June 2022
Limited Progress

8% of coastal oceans are protected

Data: Protected Planet

Date: June 2022

4.3
Lands

Expand protected lands from 17% today to 30% by 2030, 50% by 2050.

Updated June 2022
Off Course

17% of global lands are protected

Data: Protected Planet

Date: June 2022

5.0
Clean Up Industry
Reduce 12 gigatons of industrial emissions to 4 gigatons by 2050.
5.1
Steel

Reduce total carbon intensity of steel production 50% by 2030, 90% by 2040.

Updated June 2022
Code Red

1.9 tons of CO2 emitted per 1 ton of steel produced

Data: WorldSteel.org

Date: 2020

5.2
Cement

Reduce total carbon intensity of cement production 25% by 2030, 90% by 2040.

Updated June 2022
Code Red

0.7 tons of CO2 emitted per 1 ton of cement produced

Data: IEA

Date: 2020

5.3
Other Industries

Reduce emissions from other industrial sources (primarily plastics, chemicals, paper, aluminum, glass, and apparel) 80% by 2050.

Updated June 2022
Code Red

5 gigatons emitted by other industries

Data: UNEP

Date: 2020

6.0
Remove Carbon
Remove 10 gigatons of carbon dioxide per year from the atmosphere.
6.1
Nature-Based Removal

Remove at least 1 gigaton per year by 2025, 3 gigatons by 2030, and 5 gigatons by 2040.

Updated June 2022
Off Course

1.3 metric tons of nature-based carbon removal being tracked

Data: Microsoft Carbon Removal

Date: 2021

6.2
Engineered Removal

Remove at least 1 gigaton per year by 2030, 3 gigatons by 2040, and 5 gigatons by 2050.

Updated June 2022
Off Course

Currently, 40 metric tons (a tiny fraction of 1% of a gigaton) is being removed annually.

Data: BloombergNEF

Date: 2020

7.1
Commitments

Each country enacts a national commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and gets at least halfway there by 2030.

Updated June 2022
Code Red

EU and UK: cut emissions in half by 2030; net zero by 2050

U.S.: President Biden pledged to a 50% cut by 2030; Congress has yet to act

China: net zero by 2060

India: net zero by 2070

Russia announced net zero 2060, though no formal adoption

7.2
Subsidies

End direct and indirect subsidies for fossil fuel companies and for harmful agricultural practices.

Updated June 2022
Code Red

The top five emitters still pay a total of nearly $4 trillion in fossil fuel subsidies. Globally, nations are paying $5.9 trillion, including healthcare spending due to air pollution and other indirect costs.

Source: IMF
Date: 2020

7.3
Price on Carbon

Set national prices on CO2 emissions at a minimum of $55 per ton, rising 5% annually.*

Updated June 2022
Off Course

EU: $100/ton; member states implement their own price schedules

UK: $20/ton

China: $10/ton

U.S.: No national price. 12 states set prices

India: No national price

Russia: No national price

7.4
Global Bans

Prohibit HFCs as refrigerants and ban single-use plastics for all non-medical purposes.

Updated June 2022
Limited Progress

U.S. aims to reduce HFCs 85% by 2036.
The EU aims to reduce HFCs 67% from 2010 by 2030.
China aims to reduce HFCs 68% by 2025.

7.5
Government R&D

Double (at minimum) global public investment into research and development; quadruple it in the United States.

Updated June 2022
Off Course

China: $7.9 billion
U.S.: $9.4 billion
EU + UK: $8.7 billion
India: $110 million
Russia: little to no allocation

Data: IEA

Date: 2020

8.1
Voters

The climate crisis is a top-two voting issue in the twenty top-emitting countries by 2025.

Updated June 2022
Off Course

Climate’s rank as top issue: #9 in the U.S., #8 globally, #2 (tied) in Europe

Data: Gallup (May 2022), Ipsos (June 2022), and Eurobarometer (Jan. 2022)

*different surveys can only be roughly compared to each other

 

8.2
Government

A majority of government officials—elected or appointed—will support the drive to net zero.

Updated June 2022
Off Course

47% of heads of state (7 of 15 top-emitting nations)

27% of national legislatures (4 of 15 top-emitting nations)

Data: EDGAR

Date: 2021

8.3
Business

100% of Fortune Global 500 companies commit immediately to reach net zero by 2040.

Updated June 2022
Off Course

4.4% of Global 250 companies committed to net zero by 2040 across Scope 1-2-3 emissions

56% publicly report their Scope 1-2-3 emissions (KR 8.3.1)

6% of companies committed to net zero 2030 across Scope 1 and Scope 2 (KR 8.3.2)

Data: Fortune Global 500

Date: June 2022

8.4
Education Equity

The world achieves universal primary and secondary education by 2040.

Updated June 2022
Off Course

129 million girls out of school

Data: UNICEF

Date: 2021

8.5
Health Equity

Eliminate the gaps among racial and socioeconomic groups in mortality rates from air pollution by 2040.

Updated June 2022
Off Course

2.2 years (global average loss of life due to air pollution)

5 years (lost lifespan in S. Asia, Niger Delta, other low-income regions)

Data: Air Quality Life Index (AQLI)

Date: 2021

8.6
Economic Equity

The global clean energy transition creates 65 million new jobs, equitably distributed and outpacing the loss of fossil fuel jobs.

Updated June 2022
Limited Progress

12 million people employed directly and indirectly

Data: IRENA

Date: 2020

9.1
Batteries

Produce 10,000 GWh of batteries yearly at less than $80 per kWh by 2035.

Updated June 2022
Strong Momentum

Production: ~834GWh

Price: $132 per kWh 

Sources: BloombergNEF

Date: 2021

9.2
Electricity

Cost of zero-emission baseload power reaches $0.02 per kWh by 2030, with peak-demand power reaching $0.08 per kWh.

Updated June 2022
Strong Momentum

6 cents/kWh cost for utility-scale solar

Data: IRENA

Date: 2020

9.3
Green Hydrogen

Cost of producing hydrogen from zero-emissions sources drops to $2 per kg by 2030, $1 per kg by 2040.

Updated June 2022
Limited Progress

$2-$12 per kg, no production at scale

Source: BloombergNEF

Date: 2021

9.4
Carbon Removal

Cost of engineered carbon dioxide removal falls to $100 per ton by 2030, $50 per ton by 2040.

Updated June 2022
Code Red

$600 to $1,200 per ton of carbon removed, not at scale

Source: Bloomberg and Climeworks

Date: 2021

9.5
Carbon-Neutral Fuels

Cost of synthetic fuel drops to $2.50 per gallon for jet fuel and $3.50 for gasoline by 2035.

Updated June 2022
Off Course

Jet Fuel: $4.22 (Traditional) vs. $22.13 (Sustainable) ~ 5.3X

Vehicle Fuel: $5.72 (Diesel) vs. $6.26 (Biodiesel) ~ 1.1X

U.S. prices when available. No pricing or availability for carbon-neutral fuels. Limited availability and price transparency for sustainable aviation fuels.

Data: IATA, BloombergNEF, GlobalPetrolPrices.com, AFDC

Date: June 2022

 

10.1
Financial Incentives

Increase global government incentives and support for clean energy from $128 billion to $600 billion per year.

Updated June 2022
Off Course

$128 billion in global government incentives for renewable power generation, which is 20% to 35% of total direct fossil fuel subsidies.

Source: IRENA

Date: 2020

10.2
Government R&D

Increase public-sector funding of energy R&D from $9.2 billion to $40 billion a year in the U.S.; other countries should aim to triple funding.

Updated June 2022
Limited Progress

U.S. energy R&D budget: $9.2 billion.

Source: IEA

Date: 2021

10.3
Venture Capital

Expand investment of capital into U.S. startup companies to $50 billion per year.

Updated June 2022
Achieved

$53.7 billion invested in U.S. climate tech startups, up from $17 billion in 2020.

Source: BloombergNEF

Date: 2021

10.4
Project Financing

More than double zero-emissions project financing by 2025, from $431 billion to $1 trillion per year.

Updated June 2022
Strong Momentum

Clean energy financing reached an all-time high last year, hitting $431 billion.

Source: BloombergNEF

Date: 2021

10.5
Philanthropic Investing

Increase philanthropic dollars from $10 billion to $30 billion per year.

Updated June 2022
Limited Progress

Less than 2% (between $6 billion and $10 billion) of philanthropic giving is dedicated to climate change mitigation.

Source: ClimateWorks Foundation

Date: 2020

FeaturedJune 1, 2022

2022 Action Guide

Speed & Scale urges you to act–to go for the gigatons and focus on where you can be most impactful in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and containing global warming.

Our aim is to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050—and get halfway there by 2030.

The Speed & Scale plan is a pathway toward achieving that ambitious goal. For example, we can cut six billion tons of greenhouse gasses—10 percent of the annual global total—by electrifying transportation. To reach this objective, we’ll need specific actions: replacing diesel buses with electric ones, installing hundreds of thousands of vehicle charging stations, and more.

In confronting this enormous challenge, we must be strategic. What should we do first? What will have the biggest difference? Here’s our shortlist of high-impact actions you can take in 2022.

What Can You Do?

As an individual you can:

Switch to an electric vehicle:

If you can’t afford one right now, commit to making the vehicle you drive today the last fossil fuel vehicle you will own or lease. (On average, gasoline accounts for 25 percent of a household’s carbon footprint.)

Power your home with clean energy:

Sign up for a clean(er) energy plan from your utility. Or add solar panels and a battery to reduce your reliance on the local grid (and, by extension, on fossil fuels). Replace your gas appliances with electric heat pumps and an electric or induction stove. Install a smart thermostat and insulate your home. (On average, electricity and heating account for 14 percent of a household’s carbon footprint.)

Eat less beef and waste less food:

Consume lower-emissions proteins such as pork, chicken, or fish, or one of the many new plant-based proteins. Throw out less food, and compost what you don’t eat. (On average, food accounts for 19 percent of a household’s carbon footprint, with nearly half of that from dairy and meat.)


On their own, there are limits to what any individual can accomplish in this arena. How can you increase your impact? To make your voice heard on the important climate policy decisions of the day, join a climate advocacy organization such as The Climate Reality Project, 350.org, or one of the many global Climate Action Network members.

What Can Your Company or Organization Do?

As an executive or manager, you can:

Procure clean energy:

Convert your office, factory, store, or restaurant to carbon-free electricity. Call your utility to identify your options. Deploy solar and batteries onsite. To reduce fossil fuel consumption, replace gas appliances with electric heat pumps, boilers, and stoves. If your company owns your building, you can take these initiatives yourself; if not, reach out to the owner. 

Decarbonize your transport of people and goods:

For companies with their own vehicle fleets, now is the time to plan to electrify them. Set a progressive, year-by-year procurement target to get you to 100 percent electricity-powered cars by 2030 and electricity-powered trucks by 2035. Regardless of where we stand with the pandemic, don’t rush back to sending people on business flights. Capitalize on the efficiencies and flexibility of virtual meetings. Set a higher bar for stepping on a plane.

Shrink the carbon footprint of the goods you manufacture:

You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Start by tracking and cutting emissions for anything you produce. A few practical options: Seek out new suppliers. Use cleaner heat sources in your production processes. Move to climate-friendly materials and packaging. Label your goods with clear recycling and composting instructions.

Purchase high-quality carbon removal:

As described in Speed & Scale, your first priority is to cut your emissions by finding cleaner alternatives. Your next challenge is to conserve energy with greater efficiency. Finally, you need to remove and sequester your remaining CO2 emissions from the atmosphere–either through nature-based options like reforestation or engineered removal options like Climeworks or Charm Industrial.

As an employee, you can advocate for any or all of these actions. In concert with like-minded co-workers, make the case that these planet-friendly changes will strengthen the company’s brand, boost employee morale, and build a climate-conscious customer base.

What Can Your City Do?

As an elected or government official, you can:

Work with your electric utility to cut emissions by 90 percent by 2035:

Since cities are often their local utilities’ partners and largest customers, see to it that new investments in the power grid are channeled toward carbon-free energy sources. Create a plan that cuts greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2025 and by 90 percent by 2035.

Update building codes to end the use of natural gas and consume less energy:

Following the lead of New York City and Denver, tighten rules to prohibit natural gas in new construction. Alternatives: for heating and cooling, energy-saving electric heat pumps; for water heaters, electric boilers. For climate-friendly cooking, look to induction stoves. When gas-powered appliances break, codes should mandate their replacement with electric equivalents.

Build out a citywide network of protected bike lanes:

This offers the highest return on investment of infrastructure dollars for easing and speeding commutes, reducing congestion, and cutting a city’s emissions. By making cycling safer, protected lanes will broaden its adoption. 

The emissions profile for each city will vary based on its geography and urban layout. By checking your city’s greenhouse gas inventory, you’ll see the potential local impact of these three actions for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. For example, according to New York City’s published annual inventory, 36 percent of emissions come from natural gas, 29 percent from electricity generation, and 24 percent from transportation. By comparison, Denver generates 35 percent of its emissions from electricity generation, 20 percent from transportation, and 14 percent from natural gas. Los Angeles has a very different emissions profile, with transportation accounting for 62 percent of its emissions.

Your State or Provincial Government

As an elected or government official, you can:

Finance large energy projects:

To stay on pace to cut emissions in half by 2025 and by 90 percent by 2035, pass legislation and finance grid improvements, electricity storage, and new solar, wind, and geothermal energy projects. Since demand for electricity will keep rising as we’re cleaning our grids, utilities cannot do this alone.

Unblock and then accelerate electrification:

Red tape is slowing the deployment of solar, battery, and charging projects that need to be built today. Pass statewide policy to address permitting issues. Incentivize consumer purchases of EVs and adoption of solar, and electrified mass transit and school buses. Deploy charging infrastructure.

Require private planes to use sustainable jet fuel:

There is no existing market for sustainably produced jet fuel, which would cut aviation emissions up to 80 percent. At present, the technology is new and the volume of production is low, making the fuel too expensive for commercial air travel without regulation. But action on the state level can begin to shift that equation. To lower the price and increase availability, states can require private planes to use a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) blend for trips to and from its airports.

What Can Your Federal Government Do?

As an elected or government official, you can:

Pay for innovation:

Governments are in a unique position to catalyze research, development, and deployment of clean energy. The U.S. needs to increase its grants and loans for energy R&D by 5x; other countries should aim to triple their R&D funding. Even more directly, governments are significant purchasers of energy, heating and cooling, and vehicles. It can use its procurement power to purchase the cleaner, greener alternative.

End deforestation and accelerate reforestation:

Pass laws to end human-caused deforestation by 2025, which is five years ahead of the target set at COP26.

Tax methane and other carbon pollution:

Charge oil and gas companies for flaring, venting, and leaks. (Or simply prohibit it using regulations.) Signal to the market that a carbon tax on industry is coming, in part to keep the U.S. competitive with the European Union.

Use market and efficiency standards to accelerate the phaseout of fossil fuels

Set standards that phase out fossil fuels for motor vehicles, appliances, and other energy-intensive products. Example: a program that sets efficiency targets based on the best-performing available product.

As a voter, you can contact your elected representative and share how important these actions are to you. Attend public meetings where these topics are discussed and make your voice heard. If your officials fail to take action, mobilize and register people to vote for new officials who will. Organize or support ballot propositions. Join an organization working to enact climate solutions.

Companies can also be powerful advocates for a net zero future. The clean energy transition is a tremendous economic opportunity. To create jobs and lead in the new clean energy economy, companies can demand action from city, state, and federal governments.

Additional Resources
Primers Speed & Scale

What Is Our Carbon Budget?

The total amount of greenhouse gases we can safely emit is known as our carbon budget. For humanity to avoid a runaway climate catastrophe, it is vital that we stick to this budget.

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