25 January 20192 min reading

Global climate change has already had observable effects on the environment. We are facing the unprecedented floods, droughts, heat waves, wildfires and superstorms all over the world. These are the face of climate change. The IPCC Special Report on Global Warming highlights climate impacts at the current ~1°C global warming as well as the risks of reaching a 1.5°C and the irreversible losses that would take place at 2°C or more warming. We need political leadership to immediately cut emissions across all sectors of the economy, in order to limit warming to 1.5°C.

We’re facing the biggest environmental challenge our species has ever seen. The United Nations issued an alert in 2018 that the world has 12 years to prevent a climate catastrophe, in a report by the world’s leading climate scientists. The authors of the landmark report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that global warming should be kept to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels to decrease the risk of drought, floods and extreme heat.

The IPCC makes clear that climate change is already happening, upgraded its risk warning from previous reports, and warned that every fraction of additional warming would worsen the impact. Climate change increases the appearance of more violent weather phenomena, drought, fires, the death of animal and plant species, flooding from rivers and lakes, the creation of climate refugees and destruction of the food chain and economic resources, especially in developing countries.

The World Meteorological Organisation warns that “we are the last generation that can act against climate change”. And the scientists said the evidence suggests swifter action to reduce emissions is necessary to prevent even more dramatic economic and social damage in the years to come. The IPCC maps out four pathways to achieve 1.5°C, with different combinations of land use and technological change. Reforestation is essential to all of them as are shifts to electric transport systems and greater adoption of carbon capture technology.

Scientists have pointed out the enormous benefits of keeping to 1.5°C, and also the unprecedented shift in energy systems and transport that would be needed to achieve that. But the world need political will to act. Do we have a common political voice to counter the climate change? Unfortunately, the answer is not ‘yes’. But we still have time to change course.

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