Comprehensive Plan of Action

This is a 2011 post, preserved here for archival purposes. For an update, see the Climate Plan.

Comprehensive Plan of Action

A plan calling upon all nations to commit to effective action to comprehensively deal with climate change.

Part 1. Reducing oceanic and atmospheric CO2
Intro. Much can be accomplished locally, by implementing two types of budget-neutral feebates:
fees on local sales of fuel, engines and ovens, each time funding the better local products; and           
fees on nitrogen fertilizers and livestock products, funding local application of biochar and olivine sand.   
Emissions cut 80% by 2020,
Sam Carana, March 18, 2008
1.1. Dramatic cuts in CO2 emissions
Most emissions are energy-related. In many cases, dramatic cuts in CO2 emissions can be achieved merely by electrifying transport and shifting to generation of energy by clean facilities such as solar panels and wind turbines. Each nation should aim to reduce their CO2 emissions by a minimum of 8% per year over the next ten years, based on their 2009 emissions, and by 80% by 2020.
1.2. Carbon must also be actively removed from the atmosphere and the oceans
study at the University of Calgary concludes that, even if we completely stopped using fossil fuels and put no more CO2 in the atmosphere, the West Antarctic ice sheet will still eventually collapse (by the year 3000), causing a global sea level rise of at least four meters. In other words, we should – apart from reducing emissions – take additional efforts to remove CO2 from the atmosphere and the oceans.
back to 280ppm
This makes geo-engineering methods an indispensable part of the plan. Carbon is naturally removed from the atmosphere and the oceans by vegetation, so it makes sense to protect forests and encourage their growth, but this alone will not be enough. There are ways to reduce ocean acidification, such as by adding lime to seawater, as discussed at this geoengineering blog and group. Carbon capture from ambient air and pyrolysis of surplus biomass with biochar burial are some of the most promising methods to further remove carbon from the atmosphere. Biochar and olivine sand can also help with afforestation and prevent deforestation and land degradation. Funding of carbon air capture could be raised through fees on jet fuel.

Part 2. Reducing other pollutants and geo-engineering aimed at the Arctic
Intro. Arctic sea ice loss threatens to be the catalyst for a number of feedback effects in the Arctic. Over the years, a number of open letters have called for a comprehensive approach that includes geo-engineering:
- Open letter to Dr. Pachauri, March 9, 2009;
- Open letter to Major Economies on Energy and Climate, April 20, 2009; and
- Open Letter on Arctic Sea Ice Loss, June 26, 2010.

The Arctic Methane Emergency Group (AMEG) was formed in 2011 - see AMEG's Declaration of Emergency. AMEG calls specifically for Solar Radiation Management, which includes methods such as cloud brightening and adding sulfur to the atmosphere. 
Albedo change is only one of a number of feedback processes of global warming. A rapid rise of Arctic temperatures could - among other things - lead to wildfires at high latitudes. There is a lot of carbon in the Arctic that could be released in the form of carbon dioxide and methane. Huge amounts of carbon are now stored in peat, permafrost and clathrates. Heat produced by decomposition of organic matter is yet another feedback that leads to even deeper melting. Such feedbacks could cause a runaway greenhouse effect. 
Again, what would help is the implementation of two types of budget-neutral local feebates:        
fees on local sales of fuel, engines and ovens, each time funding the better local products; and           
fees on nitrogen fertilizers and livestock products, funding local application of biochar and olivine sand.  
2.1. Phasing out chemical gases with high GWP
Some gases are best phased out through international agreements. This would include gases such as HFC, PTC, SF6, halon, CFC and HCFC. 
2.2. Reducing emissions of further pollutants
Special efforts should also be taken to reduce emissions of methane and nitrogen oxide (NOx and particularly N2O), given their potency as greenhouse gases. Such reductions can be achieved by a change in diet, improved waste handling and better land use. 
Effective policies such as feebates can impose fees on nitrogen fertilizers and livestock products, while using the revenues to fund pyrolysis of organic waste, as described in Towards a Sustainable Economy. 
As this NASA study points out, for more effective short-term impact, drastic cuts should also be made in other pollutants, such tropospheric ozone, soot and carbon monoxide. This is further illustrated by the image on the right that shows what causes most radiative forcing (W/m2) when taking into account all pollutants over a 20-year period, from a study published in Science. Reducing short-lived pollutants could significantly reduce warming above the Arctic Circle, finds a study published in Journal of Geophysical Research.
The above two types of feebates can also help reduce the impact of such short-lived climate forcers. Geo-engineering methods such as pyrolysis of organic waste can reduce soot. Further progress can be made by encouraging the use of solar cookers and rechargeable batteries to power LED lights. Many types of equipment and appliances can also be powered this way, even when batteries are recharged by hand cranking or pedaling. Electrification of road transport is a crucial part of action on short-lived climate forcers, while generation of energy from clean facilities such as solar panels and wind turbines will further contribute to reductions in short-lived pollutants.
Furthermore, reductions in short-lived pollutants can be achieved by preservation of forests, which justifies financial assistance by rich countries. Such assistance should not be used by rich nations as a substitute for domestic action — action is also required domestically by each nation, on all points.
2.3.  Geoengineering, specifically aimed at the Arctic
Discussions of geoengineering methods, such as ways to reflect solar radiation can be found at this geoengineering blog and group, and at the Arctic Methane Emergency Group. Possible methods are pictured below.

(click on image to enlarge)

Part 3. Adaptation
Intro. Look at policies that can help people, flora and fauna adapt to climate change. Rich nations are urged to give financial assistance to poorer nations, as well as to facilitate technology transfer, including by preventing that intellectual property protection acts as a barrier to such transfer.
3.1. Prepare for extreme weather events
Look at safety issues from the perspective of a changed world. It makes sense to prepare for hailstorms, heavy flooding, severe droughts, wildfires, etc., and to grow food that fits such weather patterns best.
3.2. Preserve biodiversity 
Protection of rain forests is well covered in the media. Biodiversity can be further preserved by means of seed banks, parks and wildlife corridors.
3.3. Vegetate 
Fresh water supply and food security require extensive planning, such as selection of best crop. Build facilities for desalination both for fresh water in cities and to irrigate and vegetate deserts and other areas with little vegetation.


1. TacklCO2  (cut CO2 emissions and remove CO2 from atmosphere and oceans) (policies B,C,D) 
2.1. Reduce emissions of chemical gases such as HFC, PFC, SF6,, halon, CFC and HCFC (policy A)
2.2. Reduce emissions of pollutant such as CH4, N2O, BC, CO, NOx and VOC (policies B,C,E)
2.3. Geoengineering, (policy D) 
3. Adaptation (preparation, preservation, plantation, energy saving, etc)  

This can be best achieved through the following policies:
Protocols (KyotoMontreal, etc), standards, and regulations calling for deposits (refunded at collection) on products containing inorganic pollutants
Fees on nitrogen fertilizers and livestock products to fund local application of biochar and olivine sand
Fees on burning fuel (where burned) to fund clean local alternatives (incl. EVs, solar cookers, WWS energy)

Geoengineering (such as adding lime to seawater and aerosols to the atmosphere, carbon air capture, using UV light to stimulate methane oxidation, cloud brightening, etc; for more see the geoengineering group)
Organic waste handling standards (e.g. the UNEP-proposed ban of open field burning of agricultural waste)

Color Use:
Inorganic waste policies (cycle A)
Land use and organic waste policies (cycles B & E)
Geoengineering & energy-related policies (cycles C & D)
Feebate policies

Acronyms and Abbreviations
AMMArctic methane management
AWIMArctic water & ice management
BCblack carbon (or soot)
CDRcarbon dioxide removal
CH4methane (or natural gas)
COcarbon monoxide
CO2carbon dioxide
EVelectric vehicle
HFChydrofluorocarbon also known as freon, with the subclass HCFC
H2O2HOOH or hydrogen peroxide
MDRFMethane Decomposition by Radio Frequencies (Project Lucy)
MESHMethane Extraction and Sequestration in Hydrates
NOnitrogen monoxide (commonly known as nitric oxide)
NO2nitrogen dioxide
NOXnitrogen oxides (NO and NO2, which cause O3, smog and acid rain)
N2Onitrous oxide
SF6sulphur hexafluoride
SO2sulfur dioxide
SRMSolar Radiation Management
TiO2titanium dioxide
UNEPUnited Nations Environment Programme
VOCvolatile organic compound include CFCs, styrenelimonene and formaldehyde
WWSWWS energy or Wind, Water and Solar Energy (water includes hydro, wave, tidal and geothermal)

Related Posts

Ten Dangers of Global Warming
America can win the clean energy race
The way back to 280 ppm

A. Protocols, standards and deposit programs
A national bottle recycling bill
Green Refrigerators and Air Conditioners

B. Fees on nitrogen fertilizers and livestock products, funding biochar
Afforestation - bringing life into the deserts
Save the Rainforest
Fees on Livestock to fund Biochar

C. Fees on burning fuel, funding clean local energy programs
Electric Vehicles - Frequently Asked Questions
SuperB Grid

D. Geoengineering
The Threat of Methane Release from Permafrost and Clathrates
Funding of Carbon Air Capture
Open letter on Arctic sea ice loss
Methane capture
Decomposing Arctic Methane
Oxygenating the Arctic

E. Organic waste handling standards
Algae Bags

Feebate policies
Proposals to most effectively shift to a more sustainable economy


  1. Modification of contract law, existing law body bigger than that of nations will take tapping an agent of law precised to the situation of storm that has essentially come upon us.. It's known as Act of God writ specifically to allow modification of existing law both civil and also international and both of nations and of commerce.
    The situation of the perfect storm come upon us is grounds for adoption of said writ of law now.
    This is something no life would be capable to stand if something giving authority to break contract, contracts already enacted and in place is not given the green light and implemented in way that seems fair and keeps peace.. Otherwise Earth could in all likelihood perhaps reach or exceed 7C temp increase. By end of this century in 88yrs time.
    Even then there could still see no end to it..
    -therefore to avoid the full extent of the coming exquisite pain of the extinction event already in its beginning stages game is on 2C if mankind can muster a courage that would zoom.

    1. Good point, Dale. Communities that implement such feebates will benefit from higher food and energy security and independence, better health, more job and investment opportunities, greater efficiencies, more reliable and robust infrastructure, better balance of payments and less need for policing of global transport of resources. Such feebates can shift power (both in terms of energy and in terms of political power) away from a centralized bureaucracy prone to be dictatorially controlled by a small number of global conglomerates, to a more a more decentralized and distributed economy with a greater say and more freedom for all of us. All this in addition to the climate benefits, which on their own necessitate implementation of such a plan.

      So, there are many reasons why governments around the world should express their commitment to such a plan, backed up where necessary by fast-tracking legislation and international agreements, and implemented as much as possible by local communities, who I urge to consider local feebates as depicted above.

      A declaration of emergency, as called for by the Arctic Methane Emergency Group (AMEG), could assist fast-track implementation of the necessary legislation, avoiding lengthy delays in case of litigation in areas such as patents, contracts, eminent domain, and procedural requirements.

      Another such initiative could be the declaration of "War on Global Warming" which could give a president or prime minister the power to over-rule legislation that stands in the way of such a plan's implementation.

    2. In the 70s I was interested in building passive solar homes that were affordable. Saw that as something I'd really like to do for a living but continued to work for others in construction. Thought that building passive would be a way in which to help the Earth and people too.. But now as time has gone by the world is in a dire predicament with greenhouse effect presently on track to go full blown runaway. Now it's going to take many elements of the complex and active system of the diagrams and descriptions you list above to stop a first order calamity. As in loss of primary ecosystem service on Earth of conversion of sunlight to sugar to be exact.
      It's like the properties of elements that make up the sky by default and due to concentrations of greenhouse gasses have gained the upper hand to change things passively. Passively blocking, by their nature heat from escaping so things can stay relatively cool and moderate enough for life.
      The open systems of Nature have been harmed to the point of fragmenting and not getting to keep the scale of biological interaction necessary to keep physical properties of the universe at bay..
      So Sam there are points in your description of plan where profit and industry can be created, uses for oil drilling technology and science.
      Places where the little guy all over the world can make improvement to land and Sea and in quest of better agricultural output that doesn't harm the environment too.. But the nature of people is to exploit the system and to profit at what is short sighted and which may harm his neighbor. Not all but some. So the complexity of what's needed to head off the world decent into runaway disaster needs element of surprise or assets will be shifted and the powerful profit.
      Somehow the open systems of Nature need to be restored and peace kept.
      Somehow Nature and the forests need to be tapped and used like you say. I don't know what else to say but that if I couldn't get it going to build a solar house it might be a bit harder to alter Earth..
      Still the power of the internet and the speed at which people can learn is something that combined with a will to live and especially to protect the children and all of the beauty of Nature and living creatures large and small, God's good Earth can have a big motivating factor.. It's universal I'd imagine.. So a system needs to be adopted to alter the course of history without tearing industry down or leaving people stranded and one that people agree to buy into and not cheat that has the staying power of an open system and is passively inclined to go in the right direction naturally to boot.. NO worries..

  2. I don't see any mention of ending animal agriculture as a climate plan. Putting aside the ethical reasons why we should cease our use of sentient beings as resources, there is a significant amount of methane produced by animal agriculture. There is extreme deforestation in the Amazon (1 acre a second is cleared) and the number 1 cause is "cattle" rearing and growing soy to export to animal feedlots. It takes 1000 gallons of H20 to make 1 gallon of milk. It takes 7lbs of plant protein to make 1 lb of "beef". Animal agriculture is an ecological disaster. 30% of arable land is used by animal agriculture. I do not have time to outlay all the problems caused but Worldwatch Institute states that 51% of GHG are from animal agriculture and coupled now with the melting Arctic releasing methane means we should at least do what we can and go vegan, If we cannot save ourselves, the very least we can do is cease using nonhumans at this stage. It is a nonviolent and just solution. The UN suggested a couple of months ago that the planet should go vegan. Sadly it seems people value their palate pleasure over their survival.

    1. The post does mention several times that the plan recommends fees to be imposed on sales of livestock products, with revenues used to fund rebates on soil supplements that incorporate biochar. This recommendation is similarly part of the Climate Plan.

  3. I hereby propose that such bacteria which convert acidity to alkalinity should be put in millions in the ocean to solve the problem of acidity existing there. And to reduce CO2 in atmosphere the micro biome of land should be changed by multiplying those micro organisms which convert CO2 to more acceptable form. The micro organisms selected for changing the micro biome of land should be from land and not ocean. Just like the micro organisms selected for changing the micro biome of ocean should be from ocean and not land. Research should be done to find out those microbes which absorb heat and have a cooling effect in the ocean and on the land. A layer of microbes on clathrates (or cathrates) might also help resolve the problem of methane.

  4. this plan needs an update! at least a revision # to show readers it is still considered by the author to be current best thinking! imo