Rethinking Climate Change (2021)

How Humanity Can Choose to Reduce Emissions 90% by 2035 through the Disruption of Energy, Transportation, and Food with Existing Technologies
Hero BG - Cornflour Blue

Technology disruptions already underway in the energy, transportation, and food sectors have extraordinary implications for climate change.

About our Climate Report:

Rethinking Climate Change: How Humanity Can Choose to Reduce Emissions 90% by 2035 through the Disruption of Energy, Transportation, and Food with Existing Technologies

Three sector disruptions alone driven by just eight technologies can directly eliminate over 90% of net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide within 15 years.

Market forces can be leveraged to drive the bulk of global GHG emissions mitigation because the technologies required are either already commercially available and competitive today, or can be deployed to market before 2025 with the right societal choices. The same technologies will also make the cost of carbon withdrawal affordable, meaning that moonshot breakthrough technologies are not required to solve the ‘Last Carbon Problem’ and go beyond net zero from 2035 onwards.

James Arbib, Adam Dorr, Tony Seba (RethinkX), August 2021

RethinkX_Report Copy 2-min

Quote Lrg

Three disruptions alone driven by just eight technologies can directly eliminate over 90% of net greenhouse gas emissions worldwide within 15 years.

- Rethinking Climate Change (2021) Report

'Brighter' Youtube Series

Join RethinkX Director of Research Adam Dorr in our new video series ‘Brighter’ to learn more about the climate implications of the global technology disruptions….

Quote Lrg

“We are on the cusp of extraordinary global technology disruptions in four foundational sectors: energy, transportation, food and labour. The new technologies driving these disruptions will enable us to solve some of our most pressing environmental problems. The best news? The clean technologies we need to solve these problems already exist.”

- Adam Dorr, Director of Research, RethinkX
Climate Report References

1 Pacala, S., & Socolow, R. (2004). Stabilization Wedges: Solving the Climate Problem for the Next 50 Years with Current Technologies. Science, 305(5686), 968–972. Retrieved from

2 Tubb, C., & Seba, T. (2019). Rethinking Food and Agriculture. RethinkX. Retrieved from

3 Arbib, J., & Seba, T. (2017). Rethinking Transportation. RethinkX. Retrieved from

4 Dorr, A., & Seba, T. (2020). Rethinking Energy: Solar, Wind and Batteries is Just the Beginning. RethinkX. Retrieved from

5 Arbib, J., & Seba, T. (2020). Rethinking Humanity: Five Foundational Sector Disruptions, the Lifecycle of Civilizations, and the Coming Age of Freedom. RethinkX. Retrieved from

6 Seba, T. (2010). Solar Trillions: 7 Market and Investment Opportunities in the Emerging Clean-Energy Economy. Retrieved from

7 Statistical Review of World Energy 2020 (No. 69). (2020). BP. Retrieved from here.

8 Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifths Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2014). IPCC. Retrieved from

9 van Vuuren, D. P., Edmonds, J., Kainuma, M., Riahi, K., Thomson, A., Hibbard, K., Hurtt, G. C., Kram, T., Krey, V., Lamarque, J.-F., Masui, T., Meinshausen, M., Nakicenovic, N., Smith, S. J., & Rose, S. K. (2011a). The representative concentration pathways: An overview. Climatic Change, 109(1), 5. Retrieved from

10 van Vuuren, D. P., Stehfest, E., den Elzen, M. G. J., Kram, T., van Vliet, J., Deetman, S., Isaac, M., Klein Goldewijk, K., Hof, A., Mendoza Beltran, A., Oostenrijk, R., & van Ruijven, B. (2011b). RCP2.6: Exploring the possibility to keep global mean temperature increase below 2°C. Climatic Change, 109(1), 95. Retrieved from

11 Riahi, K., van Vuuren, D. P., Kriegler, E., Edmonds, J., O’Neill, B. C., Fujimori, S., Bauer, N., Calvin, K., Dellink, R., Fricko, O., Lutz, W., Popp, A., Cuaresma, J. C., Kc, S., Leimbach, M., Jiang, L., Kram, T., Rao, S., Emmerling, J., … Tavoni, M. (2017). The Shared Socioeconomic Pathways and their energy, land use, and greenhouse gas emissions implications: An overview. Global Environmental Change, 42, 153–168. Retrieved from

12 Global Warming of 1.5°C: An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty (IPCC SR15). (2019). Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Retrieved from

13 Ritchie, H., & Roser, M. (n.d.). Emissions by sector. Our World in Data. Retrieved from

14 Global Carbon Project. (2021). Global Carbon Project (GCP). Retrieved from

15 Le Quéré, C., Andrew, R. M., Friedlingstein, P., Sitch, S., Hauck, J., Pongratz, J., Pickers, P. A., Korsbakken, J. I., Peters, G. P., Canadell, J. G., Arneth, A., Arora, V. K., Barbero, L., Bastos, A., Bopp, L., Chevallier, F., Chini, L. P., Ciais, P., Doney, S. C., … Zheng, B. (2018). Global Carbon Budget 2018. Earth System Science Data, 10(4), 2141–2194. Retrieved from here.

16 Andrews, T., Gregory, J. M., Paynter, D., Silvers, L. G., Zhou, C., Mauritsen, T., Webb, M. J., Armour, K. C., Forster, P. M., & Titchner, H. (2018). Accounting for Changing Temperature Patterns Increases Historical Estimates of Climate Sensitivity. Geophysical Research Letters, 45(16), 8490–8499. Retrieved from

17 United Nations Environment Program. (2021). Becoming #GenerationRestoration: Ecosystem Restoration for People, Nature and Climate.United Nations Environment Program. Retrieved from

18 Fu, R., Feldman, D., & Margolis, R. (2019). U.S. Solar Photovoltaic System Cost Benchmark Q1 2018 [Data set]. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Retrieved from

19 Feldman, D., Ramasamy, V., Fu, R., Ramdas, A., Desai, J., & Margolis, R. (2021). U.S. Solar Photovoltaic System and Energy Storage Cost Benchmark: Q1 2020. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Retrieved from

20 2020 Battery Price Survey. (2020). BloombergNEF. Retrieved from

21 Wind Technologies Market Report. (2020). Berkeley Labs. Retrieved from

22 Graver, B., Zhang, K., & Rutherford, D. (2019, September 19). CO2 emissions from commercial aviation, 2018. International Council on Clean Transportation. Retrieved from

23 Hayek, M. N., Harwatt, H., Ripple, W. J., & Mueller, N. D. (2020). The carbon opportunity cost of animal-sourced food production on land. Nature Sustainability, 4, 21–24. Retrieved from

24 Sala, E., Mayorga, J., Bradley, D., Cabral, R. B., Atwood, T. B., Auber, A., Cheung, W., Costello, C., Ferretti, F., Friedlander, A. M., Gaines, S. D., Garilao, C., Goodell, W., Halpern, B. S., Hinson, A., Kaschner, K., Kesner-Reyes, K., Leprieur, F., McGowan, J., … Lubchenco, J. (2021). Protecting the global ocean for biodiversity, food and climate. Nature, 592(7854), 397–402. Retrieved from

25 Wheeler, E. (2020, October 7). Top oil and gas companies see market cap spiral lower in Q3. S&P Global. Retrieved from

26 McFarlane, S. (2021, June 9). Shell Vows to Speed Up Emissions Cuts in Wake of Court Ruling. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from

27 Chevron investors back proposal for more emissions cuts. (2021, May 26). Reuters. Retrieved from

28 Burch, I., & Gilchrist, J. (2020). Survey of Global Activity to Phase Out Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles. The Climate Center. Retrieved from

29 Lopez, J. (1989). The transition from natural madder to synthetic alizarine in the American textile industry 1870-1890. 9070. Retrieved from

30 IMS Health. (2010). IMS Health MIDAS.

31 The Digital Entertainment Group today released its Year-End 2018 Home Entertainment Report compiled by DEG members, tracking sources and retail input. (2019). Digital Entertainment Group. Retrieved from

32 Reber, G. (2010, January 7). DEG YEAR-END 2009 HOME ENTERTAINMENT REPORT. Widescreen Review. Retrieved from

33 Camera & Imaging Products Association. (2019). Total Shipments of Film Cameras. Camera & Imaging Products Association. Retrieved from

34 Camera & Imaging Products Association. (2019). Total Shipments of Digital Still Cameras. Camera & Imaging Products Association. Retrieved from

35 Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S. (2020). [Data File]. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved from

36 Adams, W. H. (2002). Machine Cut Nails and Wire Nails: American Production and Use for Dating 19th-Century and Early-20th-Century Sites. Historical Archaeology, 36(4), 66–88. Retrieved from

37 U.S. Census Bureau. (1949, June). Historical Statistics of the United States, 1789—1945. The United States Census Bureau. Retrieved from

38 Rajan, R., Volpin, P., & Zingales, L. (2000). The Eclipse of the U.S. Tire Industry. In Mergers and Productivity (pp. 51–92). University of Chicago Press. Retrieved from

39 Vaughan, A. (2019, November 13). Steel and concrete are climate change’s hard problem. Can we solve it? New Scientist. Retrieved from

40 Esparza, R. (2020, July 10). Decarbonizing industry is difficult but possible. Environmental Defense Fund. Retrieved from

41 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. (2020). Review of Maritime Transport 2020. United Nations. Retrieved from

42 The State of the World Fisheries and Agriculture 2020 (Sustainability in Action). (2020). Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Retrieved from

43 U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. (n.d.). Commodity Flow Survey 2017. U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Retrieved from

44 Lenton, T. M., Held, H., Kriegler, E., Hall, J. W., Lucht, W., Rahmstorf, S., & Schellnhuber, H. J. (2008). Tipping elements in the Earth’s climate system. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(6), 1786–1793. Retrieved from

45 Franzke, C. L. E. (2014). Nonlinear climate change. Nature Climate Change, 4(6), 423–424. Retrieved from

46 Rial, J. A., Pielke, R. A., Beniston, M., Claussen, M., Canadell, J., Cox, P., Held, H., de NobletDucoudré, N., Prinn, R., Reynolds, J. F., & Salas, J. D. (2004). Nonlinearities, Feedbacks and Critical Thresholds within the Earth’s Climate System. Climatic Change, 65(1), 11–38. Retrieved from

47 Earth system model of intermediate complexity CLIMBER-2 (retired). (n.d.). Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Retrieved June 24, 2021, from Retrieved from

48 Jones, N. (n.d.). How the World Passed a Carbon Threshold and Why It Matters. Yale E360. Retrieved from

49 NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. (2021, June). Climate at a Glance: Global Time Series. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. Retrieved from

50 Rahmstorf, S. (2021, April 21). Two graphs show the path to 1.5 degrees. RealClimate. Retrieved from

51 Huang, J., Zhang, X., Zhang, Q., Lin, Y., Hao, M., Luo, Y., Zhao, Z., Yao, Y., Chen, X., Wang, L., Nie, S., Yin, Y., Xu, Y., & Zhang, J. (2017). Recently amplified arctic warming has contributed to a continual global warming trend. Nature Climate Change, 7(12), 875–879. Retrieved from

52 Torn, M. S., & Harte, J. (2006). Missing feedbacks, asymmetric uncertainties, and the underestimation of future warming. Geophysical Research Letters, 33(10). Retrieved from

53 Steffen, W., Rockström, J., Richardson, K., Lenton, T. M., Folke, C., Liverman, D., Summerhayes, C. P., Barnosky, A. D., Cornell, S. E., Crucifix, M., Donges, J. F., Fetzer, I., Lade, S. J., Scheffer, M., Winkelmann, R., & Schellnhuber, H. J. (2018). Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(33), 8252–8259. Retrieved from

54 Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. (n.d.). Tipping Elements—The Achilles Heels of the Earth System. Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Retrieved from

55 Sullivan, K., Tanger, K., Bachir, M., & Novak, D. R. (2021, January 6). Climate Change 101 for business leaders: Key questions and essential knowledge. Deloitte Insights. Retrieved from

56 Desing, H., & Widmer, R. (2021). Reducing climate risks with fast and complete energy transitions: Applying the precautionary principle to the Paris agreement. OSF Preprints. Retrieved from

57 Dorr, A., & Seba, T. (2021). The Great Stranding: How Inaccurate Mainstream LCOE Estimates are Creating a Trillion-Dollar Bubble in Conventional Energy Assets (p. 30). RethinkX. Retrieved from

58 IEA. (2021). Global EV Outlook 2021: Accelerating ambitions despite the pandemic. Retrieved from

59 FAO. (n.d.). FAOSTAT - Land Use [Data File]. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Retrieved from

60 IRENA. (2021). Renewable Capacity Statistics 2021. International Renewable Energy Agency. Retrieved from

Stay Connected

Join the community

Sign up with your email address to receive research, news and analyses from RethinkX.