Climate Change is taking place and time is running out, but it’s not too late to take action.
That’s the message which was purveyed by scientists this week, presented as part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The 33-page Summary for Policymakers warns that the world is heading for an unprecedented 3 degree rise in global temperatures. One which would have “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society“.
Extreme weather, such as hurricanes, typhoons and tsunamis, are becoming more widespread. Last month alone, Hurricane Florence (pictured above) wreaked havoc on the East coast of the USA, while Indonesia was hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami.
Flooding, unseasonable snowstorms and excessive heatwaves are also becoming global issues, with effects ranging from wildfires to agricultural disruption.
Prof Jim Skea, co-chair of the IPCC said that “The first is that limiting warming to 1.5C brings a lot of benefits compared with limiting it to two degrees. It really reduces the impacts of climate change in very important ways,” adding, “The second is the unprecedented nature of the changes that are required if we are to limit warming to 1.5C – changes to energy systems, changes to the way we manage land, changes to the way we move around with transportation.”
“They (Governments) really need to start work immediately. The report is clear that if governments just fulfil the pledges they made in the Paris agreement for 2030, it is not good enough. It will make it very difficult to consider global warming of 1.5C,” said Prof Jim Skea.
“If they read the report and decide to increase their ambitions and act more immediately, then 1.5C stays within reach – that’s the nature of the choice they face.”
So, what can be done? According to the report, there is no point in becoming despondent, but to begin taking action immediately, on a personal, local and national level. The manner in which we consume products, especially those which create a large global footprint, are under scrutiny, as is the effect of excessive international travel.
“That’s a very empowering message for the individual,” said the IPCC’s other co-chair Dr Debra Roberts, “This is not about remote science; it is about where we live and work, and it gives us a cue on how we might be able to contribute to that massive change, because everyone is going to have to be involved.”
The changes needed at a governmental level might be harder to attain, but at an individual level we can all make a difference. What’s being termed a ‘last call’ may also be the wake up call we all need to make essential alterations in our lives, to ensure a better future for all.