The Climate Revolution

On the first day of this new decade, climate change almost killed my unborn daughter.

Right now, we have the technology we need to reset the world’s atmospheric carbon dioxide in less than 6 months. 

We need money for:
1) Trees
2) Carbon scrubbers

We need action on:
1) Leadership
2) Sharing this campaign 
3) Personal carbon footprint reduction
4) Education

My mission is to raise $100,000,000 in order to build carbon scrubbing machines to halt climate change.

I need your help. 

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My name is Dr Roland Stokes, 35.  I now have 2 beautiful daughters and an amazing partner Amber. We live in Wollongong, NSW, Australia and have only been choking in bushfire smoke for 3 months.


We are the lucky ones. 

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I work in Corrimal, NSW, Australia as a General Practitioner (GP)/Family Physician. I also have a mechanical engineering degree, and a degree in physics.  


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I have been spurred into action by the very scary near stillbirth of my second daughter.
 
I can no longer sit still waiting, hoping.


This action comes in follow up to introducing our beautiful new bundle Saga, for which we are so very thankful for an overwhelming response of love and support.


Saga was born, tiny but alive (1.8kg/4lbs), on the first day of this critical decade. Her very existence was directly threatened by the new-world climate induced bushfire smoke. Her placenta was afflicted and there was a very real and scary possibility that she would be stillborn if she wasn’t born in hours. 

Supporting my suspicion of this smoke impact, an excerpt from the position statement written by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists: 


“Exposure to air pollution in pregnancy has been linked to increased rates of preterm birth, decreased birth weight, hypertensive disorder of pregnancy and gestational diabetes.” https://ranzcog.edu.au/news/statement-on-prolonged-exposure-to-bushfire-smoke


A nebulous, slow-moving, unseen, human-caused global pathology has unfolded into a tangible, acute, visible, personal impact in the form of my very lucky daughter named Saga. 



Climate change almost killed my daughter.  It will kill other unborn children.



Nothing is more important, nor difficult, than getting a grasp on this global disease.



I have developed a plan of action, from my view of things. 

I am focussed on plausible action, with the highest impact, as soon as possible.


There are two things we need to do.

1) Put HEAPS less carbon dioxide and other key greenhouse gases into the air; and

2) Take HEAPS of carbon dioxide and other key greenhouse gases out of the air. 

Put HEAPS less carbon dioxide and other key greenhouse gases into the air.
Putting less emissions into the air is critical to returning to the correct balance gases of the greenhouse,  This is not new news, and hopefully you are already trying to do these things on a personal level, or encouraging it in your workplace/circles. 


The below resource is excellent for going over your own impact and have great practical strategies for change. I encourage you to put aside 15 minutes, go through each point carefully with your household and see where you can make changes that you can stick to. If you’re feeling it, comment below with your strategies and how you will change, as it can help solidify your commitment when your words are shared.


https://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2018/12/27/35-ways-reduce-carbon-footprint/ 


If you care, take it to your workplace to critically analyse its carbon footprint. The change required will become obvious after a quality audit, and you’ll probably get a promotion for showing such initiative. 


As self-empowering as this method is, personal level change will take years for enough people to change in a significant enough way. It is still critically important, however the atmosphere needs action sooner. 


Take HEAPS of carbon dioxide and other key greenhouse gases out of the air.
 

The refreshing news is that we actually do have the technology and capacity to reduce the world’s atmospheric carbon dioxide in less than 6 months - without dependance on habit-melting personal change. The limitation is political will, and money. 


Trees


The natural mechanism for pulling CO2 from the air is simple and brilliant. Green plants use sunlight, water and carbon dioxide to make oxygen and sugars - sugars which become the building blocks of virtually all life, including humans.  So let’s plant a shit-ton of trees. 


A trillion to be exact.: https://trilliontrees.org.au/donate/

($3.75 per tree in Western Australia)


Trees are relatively cheap ($5-$50/ton of CO2), trees are awesome, we need more trees.


Unfortunately, the number of trees we actually need is epic. It’s difficult to imagine, but basically we need a fertile area the size of greater Europe to plant them, and then we need more water than we have to keep them alive. There is also a problem with running out of space to grow both the trees as well as all of the space we need to feed the growing world. 


Trees in such volume also don’t necessarily help with the essential temperature problem because forests are not very reflective, and so forested earth may end up absorbing more heat than it currently reflects (google ‘Albedo’). 


Another feature of trees is that they take some time to really start sucking down that CO2, 10- 40 years depending on the species. We certainly need to future-proof by planting trees now, but we also need a more rapid solution. 


Carbon Scrubbing


Climeworks (a Swiss company - with whom I have absolutely no connection) build carbon dioxide scrubbing machines. They pull CO2 from the air, mix it with water, pump the CO2 heavy water into underground basaltic rock in Iceland, which then chemically absorbs the CO2 resulting in carbonite rock. The carbon, which originated in the ground as fossil fuels, is returned and stored as rock. The capacity to do this is large; it is sufficient for all of the world's current and ongoing CO2 output.


There are also many other exciting, productive uses for CO2, including potentially to make fuel for vehicles, but the technology or scale is not yet ready for the volume of CO2 that is needed to be scrubbed from the air. 


If we build 25 million of the Climeworks machines, we can remove the carbon dioxide emitted annually by the whole planet. 


We can build 25 million scrubbers in 4 months if we prioritize their construction. The precedent for such vigorous, productive action was the rate at which the US built aeroplane bombers after Pearl Harbour was attacked in 1941 - humongous planes were finished at the rate of 1 per hour. We currently build 80 million new cars a year; building 25 million car-sized scrubbing machines would take some doing, but we can do it.   (Thanks for this precedent Dr Karl: https://australiascience.tv/vod/dr-karl-do-you-believe-in-climate-change/ ). 


These machines do need a strong power supply, so each plant could be mated to solar, or even a coal-fired power plant. The CO2 emissions from the adjoining coal plant is able to be captured and similarly buried underground. This would allow an easier transition for those coal-blooded leaders. 

 

These machines and solar panels would take up 0.2% of the space required for the trillion trees and it does not matter where in the world the scrubbers are placed. A scrubber in Iceland will reduce the CO2 impact in Australia. 


Now, these gadgets aren’t cheap, but what is the point of money if we don’t have a planet, or our babies die in the womb?


I have done the maths; when we order a huge number of scrubbers, the increased scale with reduce carbon scrubbing costs to a level at which commercial investment will become tantalising. We need to set this trend.




Leadership

Our leaders need to lead, and the most impactful change they could do would be to introduce a reliable carbon price. 


If we were to legislate an obligation for carbon dioxide emitters to pay money to others who reduce carbon from the atmosphere “a carbon tax”, then suddenly, the investment proposition for carbon scrubbing changes significantly. The money needed to build millions of units will gush in to make the change our precious world needs. It would be the new .com boom. The world would begin to right itself. 


In addition, a carbon price would encourage emitters to take a good hard look at their emissions. To save on costs, they would reduce emissions where possible, as well as passing on cost increases to end users, who would also reassess their need for that flight, or coal-powered electricity (for example). 


As our members are flaccid in regards to this, and we need action yesterday, we need to change leadership when we can. Most importantly, we can't afford to wait; we need to take matters into our own hands right now. 


ACTION


In the absence of a carbon tax, we need to raise a very large amount of donated capital to buy millions of CO2 capture machines. Not only would this start to reduce CO2, this would vastly bring down the cost of manufacture. A reduced cost base would improve the investment proposition for other investors. 


Sweden, critically, has a carbon tax. In October 2019 the carbon price was USD$123/ton. If global, this would also renew the bedroom linen industry from the increase of investors’ wet-dreams. 


We could then go back to a world of making tree houses, billy-carts and relying on our unborn children making it into the world alive and screaming.



So; my proposal. 


I aim to raise $100 million to build CO2 scrubbers


This is solely and specifically to build CO2 scrubbers for the soonest possible reduction in CO2.


In the recent national survey, the average contribution that every adult Australian was prepared to make towards climate change was $200. Some significantly more; some less. If we do achieve this average the potential is about $4 billion from Australia alone. I hope the rest of the world has some space in their weekly family budget to contribute to helping our global atmosphere. Our capacity to make penetrating change will exponentially increase. 


$100 million equates to about $10.00 for every second adult in Australia (assuming not everyone has capacity to donate), or about 20c for every second adult in the developed world. 


Please, have a proper think about how much your family's future means to you, and how much you can arrange to contribute. Achieving this target is about everyone contributing; literally even $1 per person would make an epic impact. Don’t be on the wrong side of history. 


Think about making a contribution for someone who might be in the pre-contemplative phase of accepting climate change. Think about contributing for someone who might not have access to the internet. Think about contributing for each of your family members.  


There is no one perfect solution. There may be better solutions than this, but instead of splitting hairs, we must act. This will definitely help, and if a better, faster solution becomes available, we’ll do that too.


The Australian fires are a horrific example climate change. I love that money has flowed in to support the volunteers and those suffering loss from the fires. The thing is, if we don’t fix the root cause, this will happen again, and it will be worse. Prevention is our only hope.


As the power of the people is at the core of this strategy, please share this post. Add your own message, or not, but please, it is integral to share this post in order to generate the scale of capital we need to ensure this carbon revolution tipping point. Tag every real friend you have to share the message further. 


To be clear, this is not a financial investment. There will be no financial return. The only return for your gift will be clean air, koalas, live births and coral reefs for the generations to come.  


Donate. Right now. Here.



And then: 


Share this message - urgently.

Make it your New Year’s Resolution to instantly reduce your carbon footprint. 
Before you close your eyes on today: do a carbon audit of your life:

https://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2018/12/27/35-ways-reduce-carbon-footprint/


Lobby your local politician
Great resource; in brief, be a squeaky wheel so they know what their constituents actually think

https://www.climateforchange.org.au/mpegs_resources


If you prefer to scrub your own carbon: go to Climeworks directly
Starting from about $10/month: https://climeworks.shop/?utm_source=climeworks&utm_medium=CO2%20removal%20service&utm_campaign=1


If you prefer to donate direct to plant your own trees:
https://trilliontrees.org.au/donate/


50% of all capital raised over $100 million will go to new tree planting 


Further information 
https://www.climeworks.com 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoMdb9JYMRQ#action=share

www.nytimes.com/2019/02/12/magazine/climeworks-business-climate-change.html NY Times article about Clime Works Scrubbers


Challenge me 
Concrete thinking helps no-one. Let’s evolve positively. 

I have references, support or explanations for all the statements above, please don’t be shy to ask for more info. 



A journey of a billion tons starts with one idea. I hope this is it. 


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Roly Stoked 
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Wollongong, NSW
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