Team Climate Urgency 


Team Urgency can also be characterized in ways similar to our earlier characterization of Team No-Urgency.

  • First, Team Urgency is much harder to describe and explore. Although smaller than Team No-Urgency, it encompasses many more players and motivations, and has many more Chess Pieces and Moves on the Chessboard.

  • Second, Team Urgency has a far greater challenge to overcome. It is much harder to generate systems change than it is to defend against such change.

  • Third, the literature surrounding Team Urgency is chaotic, a function of the many players, pieces, and moves involved. It is much harder to discern a Climate Chess frame in Team Urgency's efforts to date than it is for Team No-Urgency.

So who is part of Team Urgency? All sorts of players, albeit only players who are perceive climate change as an urgent problem, and calling for an urgent response. They include:

  • Activists
  • Scientists
  • A Subset of Consumers
  • A Subset of Companies
  • A Subset of Economists
  • A Subset of Investors
  • Military Planners
  • A Subset of Outdoors Enthusiasts
  • A Subset of Philanthropists
  • A Subset of Policy Makers
  • A Subset of Religious Leaders 
  • Sovereign Peoples

Motivations that these and other Team Urgency Chess Players bring to the game include:

  • Protecting Future Generations
  • Global Equity
  • Cultural Survival
  • Green Growth
  • Disrupting Capitalism via a Circular/Regenerative Economy 
  • Personal Values
  • National Security
  • Nature Conservation
  • Over-Population
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Risk Management
  • Social and Economic Justice/Reform
  • Spirituality
  • Sustainability

In fact, a big problem for Team Urgency players is that they are coming to the game for such different reasons. It’s easy to see why they commonly end up competing with each other to lead the Team.


What Chess Pieces and Moves does Team Urgency have available? Lots! Here are a couple of key sources. One is Project Drawdown which lists 80 current and 20 potential chess pieces (without calling them that of course). You can explore all of these pieces in the Climate Web.


Another very interesting list of chess pieces can be found in this report, which you can also access in the Climate Web. This report identifies more than 1,000 initiatives that would in effect advance the goals of Team Urgency, organizing them both topically (as in the slide below), and by who would be actually moving the piece on the board (the slide below this one).


This report represents a pretty remarkable collection of Team Urgency chess pieces and moves, and they are all organized in the Climate Web.


A few of the Team Urgency pieces and moves that you can further explore in the Climate Web are listed here.

  • Accelerate development and mandating of net zero buildings
  • Ban natural gas use in new buildings and homes
  • Begin engaging in "Blockadia" to disrupt the status quo
  • Challenge political gerrymandering as precursor to climate policy
  • Creatively incentivize electrification of the auto fleet
  • Deliver "actionable climate knowledge" to important constituencies
  • Demonstrate the feasibility of revenue neutral carbon taxation
  • Deploy Technology Prizes to cross key technology barriers
  • Develop a national database of "audience influencers"
  • Develop an effective climate narrative for mass communications
  • Develop business metrics that are meaningful in promoting a new business paradigm
  • Eliminate fossil fuel subsidies
  • Encourage climate story-telling
  • Encourage internal carbon pricing based on the Social Cost of Carbon
  • End coal leasing on federal lands
  • Engage in efforts to get business to advocate for climate policies
  • Engage iwith conservatives using shared values
  • Engage with outdoors enthusiasts to promote climate change mitigation
  • Explore and demonstrate next generation nuclear technologies
  • Explore ocean fertilization and biomass restoration potentials
  • Find ways to disrupt the typical technology deployment S curve
  • Find ways to harness climate despair for climate progress
  • Incorporate "Ecocide" into international environmental law
  • Incorporate the Social Cost of Carbon into technology purchasing decisions
  • Make a range of "future climate simulations" available on demand
  • Move away from an "expected" Social Cost of Carbon to a "risk-averse" Social Cost of Carbon
  • Organize artists and writers for climate communications and advocacy
  • Organize employees for corporate climate advocacy
  • Promote "Circular Economy" policies and initiatives
  • Promote campaign finance reform as precursor to climate policy
  • Promote institutional divestment as a challenge to companies' social license to operate
  • Promote risk literacy to advance climate change communications
  • Promote the health benefits of a plant-rich diet
  • Push for Adaptation Plans at every local level
  • Return land rights to Indigenous Peoples
  • Shift societal expectations when it comes to home sizes and other high-carbon decisions