It’s good news that so many people are proposing solutions for the crises in climate and nature. Bill Gates is one among many, and with so many contenders, what criteria will help us prioritise investment choices?

To this crucial question as we emerge from the pandemic let’s remind ourselves first of three incontrovertible facts that we must take into account, then derive some principles and criteria, before examining a few candidates.

Several conclusions:

  1. Action taken must be urgent and preferably have immediate effects.
  2. Action must not be at the expense of the poor majority.
  3. The average level of consumption must be reduced.
  4. The way we produce things must change to reduce the impacts.
  5. We must protect and enhance nature and natural ecosystems.
  6. Action must be holistic: it’s no good taking positive action in one sphere of life and continuing with counter-productive negative actions in another or we will just be standing still at the very best.

It follows that “business as usual” is untenable: that is, business models based on unlimited growth, pollution and destruction of nature without replenishing it must end.

These conclusions imply at least five general criteria for strategies that have a chance of addressing the triple emergency:

  1. Contraction and convergence
    One strategy which builds on these principles is contraction and convergence. In this process, long-term goals are set to reduce the ecological footprint, with milestones along the way.
  2. Finance must be targeted at proven solutions
    There is only so much investment possible in the world. We want to have the greatest effect in the shortest possible time. It follows that solutions which are proven should receive more investment.
  3. Take into account the whole picture
    We must account for the entire ecological footprint of proposed solutions in order to capture most benefits and avoid negativities.
  4. Change the economic system
    “Of all the things we have to do, we have to really rethink our economic and financial systems. Fundamentally, GDP doesn’t take nature into account.
  5. Social justice must be served
    Poor people suffer much more the consequences of climate adversity and loss of nature than the rich. Millions are already affected by extreme weather events in places like Indonesia and Bangladesh.

Read the full article about analyzing climate solutions from The Fifth Estate at Eco-Business.