The Climate Crisis. Six Months to Save the World.

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

support

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

planet-loving option

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

 

Resources

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/

 

 

References

Climate Lab Book, 2017, Defining Pre-Industrial https://www.climate-labbook.

ac.uk/2017/defining-pre-industrial/

Climate Reality Project, 2018, WHY IS 1.5 DEGREES THE DANGER LINE FOR GLOBAL

WARMING? https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/why-15-degrees-danger-lineglobal-

warming

The Guardian, 2019, World has six months to avert climate crisis, says energy expert,

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jun/18/world-has-six-months-to-avertclimate-

crisis-says-energy-expert

Nature, 2019, climate tipping points - too risky to bet against,

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03595-0


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