Putting on the Emergency Brake: Climate Solutions for Urgent Action

Climate experts agree that to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, we must cut emissions in half by the year 2030.
By scaling up climate solutions like Tradewater’s that have an immediate impact, emissions can be lowered to reach 2030 goals, buying more time to build green infrastructure and support long-term climate solutions to help reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
Climate change is the biggest crisis mankind has ever known, and to solve it, climate solutions are being developed and implemented across the globe, resulting in impacts that will be felt in both the near-term and long-term. For instance, there have been investments in climate solutions like direct air capture and nuclear energy, which have great climate benefits, but can be expensive to scale and won’t be able to achieve real gains in emissions reduction by 2030.
While these long-term solutions are critical to our net-zero future, the situation we are in is urgent. We need to prioritize near-term impact solutions that reduce our emissions today.
We can address the climate crisis more impactfully by implementing these fast-acting, effective climate solutions, also called emergency brake climate solutions. In this article, we’ll explain why emergency brake climate solutions are important and illustrate how Tradewater’s work plays an important role as an emergency brake climate solution.
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Why are Emergency Brake Climate Solutions Important?

To make an immediate impact on climate change today, it’s critical that we scale emergency brake climate solutions. Dr. Jonathan Foley, Executive Director of Project Drawdown, explains the importance of this category of solutions, saying, “These are climate solutions that help us bend the curve on emissions, immediately. They’re solutions that we can adopt now but also have a fast response in the atmosphere.”
Emergency brake climate solutions target the “worst of the worst” problems in the climate crisis. But the key difference between emergency brake climate solutions and typical climate solutions is the timing of the impact. Like how pulling an emergency brake in a vehicle creates an instantaneous stop, emergency brake climate solutions work similarly by having an immediate effect on emission reductions once enacted. Additionally, emergency brake climate solutions are meant to be complementary since their immediate impact on emissions now can support other climate solutions that are still taking hold.

Tradewater Focuses on Emergency Brake Climate Solutions

To see how we play a role in the broader emergency brake climate solution ecosystem, you should learn about the havoc that methane and other harmful non-CO2 gases like halons and refrigerants are wreaking on our environment.

Image of an oil well from Tradewater's work in the field
Image of an oil well from Tradewater's work in the field

  • The problem with methane: Methane is the second leading cause of climate change after CO2. In the United States, there are over 3 million abandoned and orphaned oil and gas wells, and many of these wells are leaking methane gas into the atmosphere. Methane has a 84 times greater global warming potential than CO2 in the short term, and it’s responsible for at least 25% of today’s global warming.
  • The problem with halons: Halons are potent greenhouse gases that are depleting the ozone layer and are worsening the climate crisis. Halons are up to 6,290 times more potent than CO2. Although the production of new halons is illegal, existing halon gases can be used under current EPA regulations. Even so, the equipment that uses halons to put out a fire is at least 30 years old, and halons released into the atmosphere cannot be recovered.
  • The problem with refrigerant gases: While the Montreal Protocol finalized the phase out of production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances, such as CFCs and HCFCs, there was never a mandate created to destroy these substances. These refrigerants cause irreparable damage to the atmosphere and they are up to 10,200 times more powerful than CO2. Without an end-of-life mandate for these refrigerants, they’re poised to eventually leak out from the aging containers they’re in right now.
The climate solutions we offer are considered emergency brake climate solutions, since our climate action addresses these harmful gases today. Our work prevents these non-CO2 gases from being released into the atmosphere, thus creating immediate climate benefits and emissions reduction. Project Drawdown, which is one of the world’s leading resources for climate solutions, has indicated that work to destroy and minimize the impact of refrigerants over 30 years to 2050 would save up to 571.15 gigatons of carbon dioxide emission equivalents.
Our work finding, collecting, and destroying refrigerant gases and controlling methane releases is ongoing. It's a race against the clock since we have to reach them before these gases release into our atmosphere. You can help us with our work by purchasing Tradewater carbon credits, which are among the highest quality credits out there. Each carbon credit that is purchased pays for our work to seek out, collect, and destroy these refrigerant gases and helps us to plug more leaking methane from orphaned oil and gas wells.

Interested in learning more about our work? Check out our website.
  • Ana Simeon

    41 w

    I wish there was somebody like Tradewater in Canada

  • Harrison wambui

    41 w

    Action should be taken

    • Kevin

      43 w

      Urgent action indeed

      • mercy nduta

        43 w

        We should take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

        • Jengaj John

          43 w

          @mercy_nduta_984 Sure,Concerted action is urgently needed to cease climate change.

        • Adam Wallin

          43 w

          Thank you for explaining the urgency so thoughtfully, we are really in a position where we need to take immediate action at the same time as we plan for long term solutions to the climate crisis!

          Welcome, let's solve the climate crisis together
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