Can the Positive Power Plan Stop Lethal Humidity?

Racing to renewables: Can the Positive Power Plan promoted by mining giant Fortescue help reduce lethal heat and humitity?
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Racing to renewables: Can the Positive Power Plan promoted by mining giant Fortescue help reduce lethal heat and humitity? Image Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Racing to renewables: Can the Positive Power Plan promoted by mining giant Fortescue help reduce lethal heat and humitity?

Amid the glass high-rises of San Francisco, world leaders gathered last November for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. But rather than the usual chatter on trade and growth, talks kept circling back to an urgent yet under-discussed climate threat: lethal heat and humidity.

It was here that Australian mining giant Fortescue unveiled its Positive Power Plan, calling for an accelerated transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The hope is to power down the emissions driving forecasts of startlingly unlivable heat across wide swaths of the planet by century’s end.

Killer Humidity’s Stealth Advance

While melting ice caps and supercharged storms capture most climate headlines, Fortescue chief climate scientist Dr. Shanta Barley warns of a quieter yet far deadlier threat: rising humidity. During Fortescue’s global lecture tour alongside institutions like NASA, Oxford, and MIT, compiled figures tell an alarming story.

Every 1 degree Celsius of warming is thought to spike atmospheric moisture by around 7%. We’ve already warmed roughly 1 degree Celsius since the 19th century. In much of the subtropics and tropics, this added moisture can push wet-bulb temperatures (factoring humidity) above 35 degrees Celsius – the assumed survivability limit for mammals.

Just a few hours above wet-bulb readings of 35 degrees can overwhelm the human body’s ability to cool itself. Peer-reviewed studies suggest that at current emissions rates, lethal wet-bulb levels could impact regions home to 73% of the population by 2100. Over a third of the globe could see previously rare deadly heat events every single year, rendering areas where millions currently reside essentially uninhabitable.

“Make no mistake – this signals a catastrophe unfolding,” said Barley. “And we’re already seeing the first lives lost to humidity’s rise.”

The sweeping reforms floated in the Positive Power Plan aim to rein in emissions before humid heat’s spread turns far deadlier still.

See also: The Air-gen Device that Converts Humidity into Energy.

Ambitious Calls for Sweeping Global Reforms

At its core, the Positive Power Plan argues that policy must decisively expose and incorporate the damages from burning fossil fuels. It lays out seven key imperatives for governments and institutions with influence over fiscal tools, trade, and emissions:

  • End all direct fossil fuel subsidies by 2030.
  • Implement comprehensive carbon pricing reflecting climate damage costs.
  • Incentivize private renewable energy investment.
  • Slash tariffs on green technology and fuel trade.
  • Bolster enforcement capabilities around environmental laws.

The International Monetary Fund estimates global fossil fuel subsidies still total nearly $6 trillion annually even as risks mount. Meanwhile, carbon prices of about $75 per ton are seen as needed to meet the Paris Agreement’s 2-degree Celsius cap, yet few jurisdictions come close.

By exposing true costs, the Positive Power Plan’s backers contend renewables can rapidly gain ground. Australia, with its abundant solar, wind, and hydrogen resources is spotlighted as one future “renewable superpower” – if policy and incentives align with rhetoric.

Gaining Momentum – But Waiting for Action

Since first announced digitally in October, the Positive Power Plan’s social channels have accrued over 73 million impressions worldwide. Fortescue itself has put its money where its mouth is, targeting over 50% green hydrogen and ammonia revenue by 2030.

Yet advisors warn that the rise of lethal humidity has already begun claiming lives across subtropical regions, as heat indices continue rising. Time is running short to reverse course. All eyes now turn to whether concrete policy moves will follow finance and public engagement around the Positive Power Plan.

Either way, Positive Power Plan backers contend the proposal marks an all-hands-on-deck point of reference for the pursuit of swift, equitable energy sector transformation. But will it be enough to spur societies to cool the climate before humid heat ends civilization as we know it?

Leaders left APEC armed with a roadmap intended to ensure the answer is yes. But words must now rapidly give way to action.

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for exclusive content, original stories, activism awareness, events and more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Support Us.

Happy Eco News will always remain free for anyone who needs it. Help us spread the good news about the environment!