Leading climate scientists have warned that we only have a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C. Even a minuscule half degree higher will significantly worsen the risk of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.
United Nation climate experts say urgent and unprecedented changes are needed to reach the target, which they say is affordable and feasible. Keeping at a maximum warming of 1.5C could prevent corals from being completely eradicated and ease pressure on the Arctic.
Increasing gap between science and politics
Since the Paris climate talks in 2016, the gap between science and politics has widened in some regions. President Donald Trump has promised to withdraw the US – the world’s largest source of historical emissions – from the accord. Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s presidential nominee, is a strong proponent of opening the Amazon rainforest to agribusiness.
The world is currently 1C warmer than preindustrial level. Following devastating hurricanes in the US, record droughts in Cape Town and forest fires in the Artic. The UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) makes clear that climate change is already happening, and has upgraded its risk warning from previous reports. Every fraction of warming could worsen the impact and bring us a step closer to environmental catastrophe.
There is still hope
At 1.5C, the proportion of the global population exposed to water stress could be 50% lower than at 2C. Food scarcity would be less of a problem and hundreds of millions fewer people, particularly in poor countries, would be at risk of climate-related poverty.
California state is picking up much slack from the weak environmental policies of Donald Trump his federal administration. Hopefully their leadership will inspire other states in the US to take larger actions to reduce the overall warming of the planet. Also, many corporations are taking steps in the right direction to become environmentally sustainable. All of these combined actions may just be enough to prevent a large scale environmental catastrophe.
[via the Guardian]