Climate Change Requires Action NOW!
We need to take immediate effective action to mitigate climate change. The window of opportunity is closing very fast.
Many projections showed that we needed to stabilize our emissions by 20151 and then reduce them to zero rapidly to reduce the level of CO2 in the atmosphere below 350 ppm as recommended by most established climate scientists. In December 2018 the level of CO2 in the atmosphere was around 410 ppm. In pre-industrial times the level was around 280 ppm. One of the most respected scientists who has been making this point is James Hansen, who heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Bill McKibben's organization 350.org has been promoting this target for several years.
Recent reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have included global carbon budgets. The October 2018 report recommended a global carbon budget of 420 GtCO2 if we wanted to have a likely probability of preventing global temperatures from increasing by more than 1.5 degrees C.
Cost of doing nothing
Immediate action on climate change is much less expensive than attempting to deal with it as crises emerge. Nicholas Stern, former Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President of the World Bank estimates delayed action could be as much as 20 times more costly than immediate action.
It is important to act once you are convinced that global warming is the defining crisis of our time.
What Should We Do?
Climate change has a lot of effects that will hurt you and your family and friends. It is not something that only affects people in developing countries such as Bangladesh although they will be seriously affected and many will have to leave their homes and even country. There will be many climate refugees.
We all need to take action to mitigate climate change - but what sort of action? Action needs to be on many different levels to be effective. Guru Kevin Anderson advises that individual and collective (formal and informal institutions) are not separate.
Reduce your personal emissions
In July 2017, Seth Wynes and Kimberly A Nicholas proposed the following most effective individual actions:
- having one fewer child (an average for developed countries of 58.6 tCO2e emission2 reductions per year)
- living car-free (2.4 tCO2e saved per year)
- avoiding airplane travel (1.6 tCO2e saved per round trip transatlantic flight)
- eating a plant-based diet (0.8 tCO2e saved per year)
Paul Hawken published Drawdown which lists many actions which can remove greenhouse gases.
The David Suzuki Foundation has listed the top 10 things you can do about climate change.
Climate change will seriously affect water resources. Lake levels will drop in Ontario’s four Great Lakes. Changing water levels and temperatures will in turn affect food supply. Food costs will rise and some products will not be available.
There is lots of material on the internet to provide additional education.
Climate Action Now has prepared a list of actions for different levels from individual to collective. They can be selected using the menu on the left.
1. Obviously 2015 is long past. That means that we need to reduce our emissions much faster.
2. The emissions for a child were calculated on the basis that each child might have several children and grandchildren