Systemic change is about marshalling and utilizing global resources to address global challenges beyond government mandate, taxation and regulation.
Systemic change acknowledges that there is no quick fix to the challenge of climate change.
It is not a matter of slapping on a tax, imposing a tariff or divesting from fossil fuels. Not only are these measure ineffective but they are also counterproductive to real solutions emerging to climate change.
Systemic change also acknowledges the vitally important role of fossil fuels in helping to lift people out of poverty and in underpinning the global economy in just about every area of activity including manufacturing and construction, agriculture, communication, heating and cooling and in general health and well-being.
Fossil fuels are not only relatively cheap, abundant and easily transportable, they are also power and energy dense to the point that renewables like wind and sun are not even in the same ball park. This means that, until we can develop alternative high-power-density sources, fossil fuels are here to stay.
The downside to the burning of fossil fuels is, of course, the adverse impact on the global climate through the emission of greenhouse gases.
Those promoting the idea that the solution to climate change is to stop using fossil fuels fail to understand that fossil fuels are integral to the health of the global economy. A healthy global economy provides the resources and the means to address climate change quickly and efficiently. Conversely, climate change cannot be solved by destroying the global economy. It is also unfair to those living in poverty, even morally repugnant now that we have a systemic approach to dealing with climate change.
Yet, according to author and UK parliamentarian Matt Ridley, this is exactly what the environmental movement is demanding.
The one thing that will not work is the one thing that the environmental movement insists upon: subsidizing wealthy crony capitalists to build low-density, low-output, capital-intensive, land-hungry renewable energy schemes, while telling the poor to give up the dream of getting richer through fossil fuels.
Systemic change enables us to marshal and utilize global resources to dramatically increase the level of funding to stimulate innovation, help with adaptation, while addressing the many the many other equally important global challenges, including alleviating global poverty.
In the 60's, the problem of smog caused by car exhaust fumes seemed insurmountable, but the solution was not to go back to riding horses, the solution was innovation, which produced the catalytic converter.
Today, we need a similar, laser-like focus on innovation to stem the damage of fossil fuels on the environment through carbon capture and other means, continue to reduce emissions through existing technology and explore alternative energy sources to eventually replace fossil fuels.
Systemic change opens this new pathway to addressing climate change that is beyond the short-sighted political quick-fixes and grandstanding, and beyond the well-meaning but ultimately naïve idea the global energy system can be changed easily and quickly, history proves otherwise.