Net zero greenhouse gas emissions possible by 2050?

Table of Contents

Climate action is slow and staggered despite mounting scientific proof of climate change, expanding public consciousness, passionate activism and promises by governments being at an all-time high.

Our window to act is small. It is the need of the hour to think of ways to induce exponential climate action. 

On the request of Professor Shiv Someshwar (then European Chair for Sustainable Development and Climate Transition at Sciences Po, Paris), 12 of us came together in May 2021 as the Independent Task Force on Creative Climate Action. We came together, not as a specific social constituency, government or company, but as individuals who are convinced that participation in the idea of creative climate action is a positive public good.

We shared our report on time-bound measures and next steps with G20 Summit leaders, who met in Bali on 15-16 November 2022. The intention of the report is to prompt deeper dialogue on how the enlightened self-interest of individuals, countries and companies can be the lever for equitable and sustainable climate action. We paid special attention to figuring out its opportunities and challenges. 

Our hope is to inspire new ways of thinking and bring about effective climate action around the world wherein civil society, markets and governments come together to see, sense and solve challenges around climate change. 

Exponential change will happen when all countries and companies work concertedly to drive down GHG emissions and build climate resilience in societies. To do so, they will have to move from ‘narrowly framed’ self-interest (measured solely by economic indicators over short time horizons) to a state of enlightened self-interest. 

Enlightened self-interest is a philosophy in ethics which states that persons who act to further the interests of others ultimately serve their own self-interest. Click To Tweet

I believe that for things to work at scale, especially at societal scale, they need to be designed differently. This means moving from the mindset of many pilots and scaling “what works” to thinking about “what would work at scale”. 

For climate action that could mean a few shifts in the way we think, act and build:   

  • Radical inclusion: by reimagining how key actors of society (such as communities, markets, government, civil society organisations) interact with each other
  • Enhanced ability to solve: by creating assets and infrastructure that are open and accessible to all actors across society so that we solve problems by restoring collective agency rather than making choices that strip away individual agency.
  • Diverse solutions: by designing spaces that allow everyone to solve in the way that works best for them. Thus, by distributing the ability to solve rather than distributing solutions. 

I invite you to read the report on Creative Climate Action, share it in your networks and add to the dialogue on enlightened self-interest. Let’s drive significant and effective climate action around the world, together.

About the Author

Rohini Nilekani

Chairperson of Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies and Co-founder and Director of EkStep

Priya Ajmera

Chief Evangelist, Societal Platform