It feels like the whole world is begging governments to take the threat presented by climate change seriously, and to get bold and innovative with some immediate solutions.
Now, a non-profit called Possible — which has rebranded and changed its name from 10:10 Climate Action — has put together a list of 10 bold ideas for change, to get everyone thinking about out-there proposals that could actually drive change.
Paid leave to work on environmental projects and "energy positive" homes are just a couple of the ideas put forward by the charity, to help encourage leaders to take real action on climate change.
The list includes the idea of a National Climate Service – which would mean giving everyone in the UK the opportunity to take paid climate leave to work on practical projects that improve the long-term environment. Those activities could include tree planting, training exercises in retrofitting, renewable energy or low carbon farming techniques, the charity suggests. Hard work – but with paid leave – it might be popular.
Other ideas include harnessing heat from magma under UK soil to use as energy; a "fixing factory" on every high street that could help people out with repairing household items; and “energy positive” homes that generate more renewable energy each year than they take out from the grid.
Electric motorways were also a suggestion to help reduce emissions – meaning turning the slow lane of existing motorways into electric ones, powered by community-owned electricity, for buses and coaches.
To reduce plastic packaging, Possible suggested a standardised reuse system across all takeaway containers, own brand supermarket products and coffee cups. Meanwhile tree-planting would be another initiative – a programme to plant millions of trees on top of disused open-cast coal mines, creating more forests, was another of the 10 ideas.
The charity published the ideas as part of a report looking at all the ways climate action could be accelerated in the 2020s.
“We all know how depressing the issue can be,” said Alice Bell, a co-director at Possible. “This report was an exercise in imagining better futures.”
She acknowledged that climate dread was increasing but said that people shouldn’t lose sight of what can be done to change things.
“If we’re going to move at the speed required – and if we’re going to ensure the new world we build is fair – everyone’s got to be involved," she added. "It’s vital we have ideas that don’t just cut carbon, but inspire people with positive climate action.”
Possible said it has developed the ideas with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recommendations in mind, namely that speedy action is needed to keep the earth’s temperature from rising ideally no more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
What would your top ten climate change actions be?
Here are Possible’s 10 ideas in full:
1. Community volcano power — Harness the heat from magma stored deep under UK soil using tech owned by, controlled by, and benefiting local communities.
2. A National Climate Helpline — A telephone and digital helpline offering information on climate change, support for anyone struggling with climate dread, and access to crisis support on the impacts of climate change.
3. A "fixing factory" on every high street — Free and accessible local community hubs offering services on everything from access to repair specialists, support on guarantee schemes, and training for those wanting to skill up on fixing household items.
4. Electric motorways — Turn the slow lane on motorways into a network of electric motorways for lorries and coaches, all powered by community-owned renewable energy.
5. Plant a climate forest — A programme to plant millions of trees on top of disused open-cast coal mines, creating a publicly-owned forest.
6. Heat pumps under public green spaces — Install heat pumps under as many public green spaces as possible, from parks to allotments, generating revenue for local authorities.
7. A war chest for local authorities declaring climate emergencies — A nationwide climate response programme which offers local authorities the tools they need to deliver on climate emergency declarations.
8. Energy positive homes — Every new home we build shouldn’t just be "zero carbon", but energy positive — producing more (clean) energy each year onsite than is imported from the grid.
9. Plastic packaging: reuse, reuse, and reuse — A standardised reuse system for all takeaway containers, own brand supermarket products, and coffee cups.
10. National Climate Service — A national programme enabling everyone in the UK to take paid climate leave to work on practical projects building ambitious climate action.