Just a few weeks ago Faith Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, told The Guardian 'this year is the last time we have, if we are not to see a carbon rebound,' indicating that the 2nd half of 2020 will be a critical pivotal point if we wish to change the course of the climate crisis. So why is the globe warming?
The biggest contributors to global warming around the world are energy, transport, agriculture and manufacturing. These industries, along with many others, produce gases like carbon dioxide, methane and chlorofluorocarbons. Through various chemical reactions, these gases remain in our atmosphere for a very long time, creating a greenhouse effect and warming our planet. The rate of warming varies depending where you are, some areas are warming fast than others. Overall, the goal is to keep average global warming to less than 1.5°C above preindustrial temperatures ('pre-industrial' generally refers to the time before the year 1800)
Some of the consequences of a warming earth include but are absolutely not limited to: increased intensity and frequency of heatwaves (land and marine) and other natural disasters, loss of food and water security, sea levels rising, mass extinction of plant and animal species. Just to be clear - it's not that this all starts happening at 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures, a lot of it is already happening, but 1.5°C has been identified as a sort of 'point of no return'. A point where we will reach dangerous tipping points in our natural systems that we won't be able to come back from. So what needs to be done?
When we think of the industries with the biggest greenhouse gas emission rates -
energy, transport agriculture and manufacturing - its easy to wonder how an
individual can create change but there are quite a lot of things you can do..
Show up. Attend marches, attend conferences, events and
webinars, volunteer your time, be one in the crowd showing
Speak up. sign petitions, write to your local and state government,,
share information and resources with friends and family
Donate. This ones pretty simple. Your money can help fund
research, spread awareness and allow the experts to bring their
arguments to decision makers around the world
Shop responsibly. If you are not in a position to give your money
away, that's okay. Use your regular spending to support companies
doing it right. Take the time to do your research and find out if
there is a more sustainable option for what you need - most of the
time, there is. Alternatively, buying second hand is also a great
Use your vote. When election time comes along, take the time to
read through each parties climate change policies and use this
information to inform your vote. We sometimes underestimate the
power of an individual vote but a the end of the day - these are the
people who get to make the rules the companies have to follow
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change https://www.ipcc.ch/
Indigenous Climate Action website https://www.indigenousclimateaction.com
Outrage and Optimism (podcast - the first episode features David Attenborough!)
The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells
Climate Council website https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/
Climate Lab Book, 2017, Defining Pre-Industrial https://www.climate-labbook.
Climate Reality Project, 2018, WHY IS 1.5 DEGREES THE DANGER LINE FOR GLOBAL
The Guardian, 2019, World has six months to avert climate crisis, says energy expert,
Nature, 2019, climate tipping points - too risky to bet against,