Rapid Changes Needed to Avoid Catastrophic Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released its latest report on the impacts of global warming: if we don't act now to substantially reduce carbon emissions within the next decade, the planet, and all of us along with it, will suffer severe consequences.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their latest report in early October 2018, presenting a dire warning concerning global temperature rise. Simply put, if emissions are not immediately and drastically reduced we can expect more frequent heatwaves, extreme drought, severe flooding, worsening wild fires, food shortages, and greater sea level rise.
The report sets a warming threshold of 1.5 C under which the impacts of climate change are still considered manageable. Exceeding this threshold by even half a degree however, will bring consequences not yet imaginable.
At 2 degrees, 10 million more people will be at risk of rising seas than at 1.5 degrees. That extra half a degree also means significantly larger populations will be exposed to water shortages. You’re looking at an ever greater loss of biodiversity, worsening storms, ever more people thrust into poverty, and relentlessly shrinking yields for essential crops like rice and maize and wheat. (Simon, Matt)
If we continue releasing emissions into the atmosphere at our current rate (a rate which is actually increasing year over year), this 1.5 C threshold will be met in just 12 short years. 12 years.
But the report also offers reasons to be optimistic. Reducing global emissions by 45% by 2030 to successfully limit global warming to 1.5 C is "possible within the laws of chemistry and physics." (Skea, Jim as cited in CNN 2018). One of the biggest changes required on a global level is to not just reduce, but eliminate our reliance on fossil fuels. This will require a deep focus on parts of businesses and governments to shift to renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, electric/ biofuel vehicles, and carbon offset projects. The places we live and work, our cities, industry, and our entire global economy must be drastically altered if we are to avoid this climate crisis.
Scientists have issued warnings of climate change for decades, warning us of the consequences we are to face if we continue to relentlessly spew emissions into our atmosphere. The IPCC has previously been conservative in its warnings, but advancements in climate modeling now allow us to visually depict the possible outcomes of reaching these warming thresholds. This latest report clearly states that climate change is already upon us: we are experiencing unprecedented global weather patterns causing more frequent extreme events such as wild fire, drought, ocean acidification, and hurricanes. We are caught in the grips of a drastically changing world and we must act to limit the scope of the damage. This next decade will be imperative for taking action to preserve the viability of future generations to thrive as we have.
What does this mean for business?
Industry and commercial sectors play a pivotal role in the transition to a low-carbon economy. At Synergy, we remain motivated an optimistic. We have witnessed first-hand how businesses can reduce emissions and invest in renewable energy and conservation. Investments in efficiency and waste reduction have resulted in stronger bottom-lines and market place relevance. Climate action is not only a global societal imperative, it is a mechanism for future-proofing your business.
Contact us to find our how your business can reduce emissions and join the movement.
You can view the full IPCC report here.
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Simon, Matt (8 Oct 18). Wired "We Need Massive Change to Avoid Climate Hell". https://www.wired.com/story/we-need-massive-change-to-avoid-climate-hell/
Miller, Brandon & Croft, Jay (8 Oct 18). CNN "Planet Has Only Until 2030 to Stem Catastrophic Climate Change, Experts Warn". https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/07/world/climate-change-new-ipcc-report-wxc/index.html
Eustachewich, Lia (8 Oct 18). New York Post "Terrifying Climate Change Warning: 12 Years Until We're Doomed". https://nypost.com/2018/10/08/terrifying-climate-change-warning-12-years-until-were-doomed/
McGrath, Matt (8 Oct 18). BBC News "Five Things We Have Learned From the IPPC Report". https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-45784892