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Why is the Earth getting warmer? | 15Rock

An essay on why the Earth is getting warmer

What I'm going to discuss today is in broad strokes, what must be done to tackle the climate catastrophe. This is the aspect of the problem that if we solve it, we can take immediate actions to move toward a future without fossil fuels.

Carbon is transferred through the environment in several ways, entering the air and being absorbed by plants and animals before returning to the atmosphere. This carbon is merely circling on the surface; it has been for millions of years.

Something new has been added to the equation. Human activities have altered the carbon cycle in our environment. As a consequence of this, there is now more carbon in the system than previously. And as a result of that, the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere is growing over time, which exceeds the ecosystem's capacity to absorb it.

https://u4d2z7k9.rocketcdn.me/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Co2-levels-800k.jpg

It is not that hard to understand. As we release more carbon into the environment, we are increasing the carbon within our carbon cycle. We are exceeding the planet's ability to manage the carbon per our normal carbon cycles.

The result is that a steady increase in the carbon in the atmosphere which doesn't look like much when you look year over year, which is what anti-climate change people point to, but when looked at in the context of history, it's very large(see above chart from 1950 to today). The carbon on the planet has possibly really been bouncing around the 300 level for about 10 million years. And then the last few 100 years, went into a vertical climb. This is the essence of the problem this is very unusual, and a very, very extreme threat as you can see from this rate of growth.

This is accompanied by a temperature increase, as one would expect, about two degrees or three degrees. When the two or three degrees are discussed it's in absolute temperature to absolute zero.

So, small changes resulting in huge effects. For example, New York City is under ice would be minus five degrees and New York City being underwater would be plus five degrees., Look that as a percentage relative to absolute zero, is only a plus-minus 2% change that but the planet's sensitivity to climate is extremely, extremely high.

We've amplified the sensitivity by building our cities right on the coastline, and most, most people live very close to the ocean.  Countries, of course, that are very low lying, and would be completely underwater in the climate crisis. So we've essentially designed civilization to be super sensitive to climate change.

https://earthhabitat.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/worldslargestcities.gif
https://earthhabitat.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/temperaturenopopulationdensity2000.jpg

We will eventually run out of carbon to burn and will exit the fossil fuels era. The question is not if but when. If, there is an "if" question, then I would say it's "If we can exit it before doing major harm to humanity".

Previously in humanity's history, producing carbon led to the industrial revolution that helped advance the world and truly make the world a better place, but the times have changed. Like a child grows up and has to be an adult, humanity has to move away from a society that harms our planet and leverages our creativity to build better in a sustainable way.

Being sustainable does not mean we are moving back on innovation or progress, it means we are moving forward. We can rebuild all the legacy parts of our businesses in a better way.

There are two options we face:

  1. Change for the better and address climate change
  2. Do not change.

97% of scientists believe that climate change is an extinction-level threat to our species whereas 3% of scientists disagree. Like tobacco companies relying on the 3% of scientists who felt smoking didn't kill people, some people in our societies point to the 3%. If address the problem and the 97% of scientist are wrong, we still survive as a species. But if we do nothing and the 3% are wrong, then everything we know will be lost.  It seems like betting against climate change is a silly bet.

The idea that formed 15Rock was that there is a subsidy in our society to create emissions. If I run a business that creates $10 of wealth but also creates garbage that requires $4 to clean up, then my profits for my activities would be $6. Now, what if I didn't have to pay for the $4 clean-up? What If I just dumped it in a river and it was now everyone's problem. Everyone has to pay the $4 to clean up the garbage while I keep all the $10.

This is the analytics that 15Rock is solving for people, we are showing the value of the company that should really be valued at $6, not $10 but also highlighting the $10 dollar company that is cleaning up and truly worth $10.

https://climate.nasa.gov/system/internal_resources/details/original/1987_yearly_temperature_anomalies_from_1880_to_2019.jpeg

Using our models, I believe the 2-degree increase (the basis of the Paris agreement is to stay below 2-degrees) will occur given our current trajectory. The question will be how much will be over? and as time passes how desperate will our solution be.

We believe there is a major incentive for change not to occur and things to remain the same. We also believe that capital allocation can shift those incentives towards the direction the planet needs to go.

Gautam Bakshi

Head of Product & Engineering

Former: MD - Private Markets, Wealth & Asset Management, Manulife. Education: Ryerson University, Seneca College

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