Some February Motivation
Reflecting on a triumphant run of climate speeches and infectious energy for climate action
Thank you so much for such a wave of interest in the release of the problem pack working groups last week. The groups all filled up within a few days. As it turns out, a lot of people are looking to grapple with thorny CDR across the CDR space and are willing to commit some time to do so with a group. I’m super excited about the groups that got created to work on all four problems—people with diverse but relevant backgrounds coming together to really understand the challenge at hand and innovate on clever new solutions.
I can’t wait to see what results and deliverables come out of this process three weeks from now. These deliverables will be made public, and expect an event towards the end of February where all groups will present their findings and solutions.
Finally, if you are interested in joining a problem pack or didn’t make the deadline this go around, stay tuned! Plenty more problem packs will get started at the beginning of March with an even wider variety of topics to choose from. More info to come soon.
Showing Up to Fight
If you haven’t seen it already, I would highly recommend you take 26 minutes out of your day to watch Senator Sheldon Whitehouse deliver his final “Time to Wake Up” speech on climate change. It was the culmination of a series of 279 speeches on the Senate floor that he’s been giving every single week that Congress is in session for nine years now.
Over the course of this final speech, Senator Whitehouse tracks the politics of climate change through the Obama and Trump administrations, describing the influence of corporate interest groups, dark money, the Chamber of Commerce, and powerful covertly-operating fossil fuel interests.
Towards the beginning, however, he reflects on his massive run and articulates why he’s kept it up all these years:
I made a commitment to speak about climate change every single week we were in session, no matter what. The kitchen was dark, the oven was cold, but maybe somehow one little pilot light clicking on would help.
Nine years, clicking that light on every single week, through thick and thin, without fail, for a cause you care deeply about. That kind of persistence, especially because it’s so concrete here, is inspiring to me as someone just getting started thinking about and working on the climate crisis. Good week or bad, click on your light.
At the end of his speech, Senator Whitehouse mentions that he’s bringing his run to a close because the dawn is coming, and that “when it’s dawn, there’s no need for my little candle against the darkness”. But I think what looks like dawn is actually millions of individual candles clicking on every week. The energy to solve climate right now is infectious and uplifting.
It reminds me of the final stanza of the poem September 1, 1939 by W.H. Auden:
Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.
I’ll keep clicking on my light. You do the same.
CDR Links to Check Out This Week
The Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets published a report on core carbon principles and a roadmap to implementation. Also see Carbon Direct and Carbon Plan’s letter to the Taskforce asking them to slow down the scale up process until project quality is better.
From The Liquid Grid: Can Macroalgae Save the Planet?. Slightly sobering context for the massive ocean area and other challenges required for open ocean seaweed cultivation for negative emissions at scale.
Climate Tech VC published a post called The Dirt on Soil Carbon Sequestration outlining the stakeholders involved in soil carbon sequestration markets
Must read new paper for those interested in forests: Ten golden rules for reforestation to optimize carbon sequestration, biodiversity recovery and livelihood benefits. Check out the abstract.
Inspiring work being done by ClimateWorks on CDR: Five 2020 highlights from the ClimateWorks Carbon Dioxide Removal Program
Carbon Removal Meme of the Week
If you have any carbon removal memes (or are inspired and decide to make one!), please send them to me! I’ll highlight my favorite CDR meme each week here.
This week’s meme was sent in by Grant Faber - thanks Grant!