However, in all that time little meaningful action has been taken to address it, with the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report concluding that we now need rapid, unprecedented action to prevent the looming crisis.
How did this happen? If we were aware of the problem, why was so little done to prevent it?
The answer, sadly, is politics.
When it comes to climate change governments have historically failed to meet the challenge, with discussions on the subject instead typically dissolving into polarised debates in which the participants are more focused on personal political gain than what would be in the best interest of their country. Lobbying and special interest groups have then further derailed the process, rendering it utterly ineffective.
We’ve seen this scenario play out again and again, at a global level, to the point where we cannot now afford to indulge it any longer.
Thankfully, we have tools at our disposal which will allow us to bypass the political machine entirely and take direct action ourselves. Utilising the blockchain, as emmi proposes, will enable us to establish a decentralised carbon trading platform, free of the inefficiencies and cost burdens often implicit with governmental schemes. Where centralised government systems are subject to enormous political bias of the powerful few, decentralised non political systems can be enforced by all of society, ensuring no one person or group holds the power to influence the system, and creating a much more robust and stable system.
As human induced carbon emissions are widely agreed to be the direct cause of climate change, by introducing decentralised carbon pricing we can encourage and actively incentivise emission reductions to help us address the problem. With the blockchain, the carbon pricing registry is guaranteed to be transparent, unbiased, and readily accountable.
The decentralised framework can exist for carbon pricing, we just need to forget the games being played by politicians and work to a society enforced carbon price.
With a decentralised solution in place, where does that leave governments?
By depoliticising the debate, we can finally take meaningful action toward tackling climate change. However, that does not mean that governments need necessarily be completely excluded.
For example, the Australian government established the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting scheme in 2007. Under this scheme all companies generating more than 50,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per annum are publicly tracked and listed. With this resource, supported and enforced by the Australian government, a decentralised carbon platform will be able to track the emissions of large companies, even if these companies have not yet actively engaged with the platform. This supportive relationship can be replicated anywhere in which governments have implemented carbon emissions tracking, and either have or are willing to make the resource available.
In the event that governments have established a carbon price themselves, this too can be linked to a global decentralised platform. By overlaying any decentralised solution across a government established carbon price it would be readily possible to accurately monitor and ensure correct levels are being reached. The platform’s framework can recognise the existing carbon price, avoid a double count of carbon permits, and if incremental action is required in order to meet scientifically evidenced targets also subsequently enforce this.
Even from the governmental perspective a global decentralised solution has significant benefits. By working with a decentralised platform they can strengthen their own policy agenda, leverage the use of a ready-made and established system, and also save a large amount of their own time, effort, and tax-payer money; with a decentralised platform already available (one that is trusted, transparent, and secure), they can avoid the costly exercise of implementing their own and creating an agency to oversee it. Furthermore, with a decentralised platform it’s possible to significantly reduce the cost burden of the carbon price whilst helping to drive further carbon emission reduction projects.
We may have reached a critical point with climate change due to the inefficiencies of the political system, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still rectify the problem and implement a solution that advantages all parties.
With a global decentralised carbon pricing platform, we can take some of the burden away from governments while still allowing them to contribute and reap the benefits of a better, brighter future.