Yesterday came out the new climate report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the UN.
It is described as “A code red for humanity”.
The report has warned that major changes due to global heating are inevitable and irreversible with devastating consequences for all life on Earth.
We are now at +1,2°C and these days in Greece we can see at first hand what this means. +1.5°C is considered the maximum we should go. But if we do nothing to change the way we are overusing resources on Earth and we keep on pouring tons and tons of CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, by the end of the century we will be at +3°C. Greece and so many other countries will be a desert by then. All Greeks will be climate refugees, seeking home in less devastated countries of the north. And the Germans will keep on saying “NEIN”!, of course…
The UN climate body’s stark appraisal has made the effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions all the more urgent. In its most optimistic scenario, the report predicts the world has a 50% chance of halting warming at 1.5°C the “safe” threshold in the Paris Agreement, providing it can reach net zero emissions by mid-century. That would entail emissions reaching a peak and then rapidly declining four years from now.This shouldn’t technically be too difficult. In energy, transport and housing, there are numerous alternatives to coal-fired power plants, petrol-fuelled cars and gas boilers that could be deployed at sufficient scale starting tomorrow.
WHAT’S PREVENTING THIS SHIFT IS NOT TECHNOLOGICAL, BUT POLITICAL.
I repeat it, POLITICAL.
From powerful fossil fuel and other kind of energy companies, the political entanglements of nation states and scarce public finance support, the obstacles are enormous. But we must overcome them, RIGHT NOW.
So, I say again, it’s time we start broadening up our horizons and start looking behind the usual. We must first get informed, and then start demanding from our leaders that they act, not talk only. We must choose different kind of leaders. Not from the left, not from the right, but from a central point that considers all directions that include also the FUTURE OF HUMANITY AND THE EARTH.
The feature image is titled Changing, by the artist Alisa Singer
“As we witness our planet transforming around us we watch, listen, measure … respond.”