Climate Change 2018 Report

by Hannah Pasco 11/27/18

See Article Below for More Details

Take Away to Prevent Massive Population Annihilation by 2030

  • Global average temperature to be well below 2°C.
  • Earth would reach the 1.5°C threshold between 2030 and 2052.

Critical Alert: Lowering global temperature to 1.5°C will not fix all of our issues, but it will prevent us from creating larger ones in the future.

Effects Approaching 2030

  • Drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for all populations.
  • Sea levels expected to rise threatening coastal and islands inhabitants.
  • Destruction of coral reefs, losses of corn yields in the tropics, and an increase of ice-free summers in the Arctic Ocean.

Causes of Climate Change Leading Up to 2030

  • Oil companies increasing production instead of cutting back.
  • Rejecting the switch to renewable energy such as wind or solar power opposed to fossil fuels.
  • Countries, politicians, businesses, and individuals denying, and refusing to take part in prevention measures.

How You can Take Steps Today

  • Time your showers under 5-10 mins to conserve water.
  • Shut off water in between brushing teeth, washing face, ect.

Click Here to See Your Total Water Usage

  • Limit your meat intake to under 4 times a week.
  • Reduce driving speed by 5 mph (Ex. Instead of driving 70 mph try 65mph, not only helpful for environment but also you’ll save $291 per year).

Click Here to See Your Total Carbon Usage

Article

World leaders have asked the the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to release a special report on the effect of climate change. Recently on October 8, 2018, the IPCC released a special report titled The Paris Climate Change Agreement with the impacts of global warming. The report stated the impact of global warming, and called for the holding of the global average temperature to be well below 2°C (3.6°F) (above pre-industrial levels) and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C (2.7°F). According to the IPCC, human activities have already warmed the planet about 1°C (1.8°F), likely between .8 °C to 1.2 °C, since the pre-industrial era. The IPCC also states that at the current rate of warming, Earth would reach the 1.5°C threshold between 2030 and 2052. It is important to understand that even half a degree increase over the 1.5°C limit will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people, as we are currently seeing throughout the world. Therefore, 1.5°C should be the maximum amount that we limit the global climate change without seeing dramatic effects. This is said to be an ambitious goal but achievable.

As the climate increases closer to 2°C globally, there are dramatic and disastrous effects, leading scientists to predict many projected climate changes. Within the IPCC report, it is stated that there will be increases in mean temperature in most land and ocean regions, hot extremes in most inhabited regions, heavy precipitation in several regions, and the probability of drought and precipitation deficits in some regions. Sea levels are also expected to rise past the current level of 2100, but the rate of this rise is dependent on the amount of emissions released over the upcoming years. It is important to keep global temperature to 1.5°C instead of letting it increase to 2°C because within the areas that will be affected by the rise in sea level, a slower rate of the rise would enable greater opportunities for adaptation in the human and ecological systems of small islands, low-lying coastal areas, and deltas. The IPCC states that on land, “impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems, including species loss and extinction, are projected to be lower at 1.5°C of global warming compared to 2°C.” Limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C is projected to lower the impacts on terrestrial, freshwater, and coastal ecosystems and to retain more of their services to humans. Climate-related risks to health, water supply, food security, livelihoods, human security, and economic growth are expected to increase as global temperature increases 2°C. As stated before, it is crucial that we understand that lowering global temperature to 1.5°C will not fix all of our issues, but it will prevent us from creating larger ones in the future. In the report, it is stated that even limiting warming to 1.5°C comes with higher risks from extreme heat, drought, and heavy precipitation. Agricultural belts will shift, water supplies will be at additional risk, and disease-carrying insects (such as mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus) will move into new areas. Additionally, it is stated that at 2°C, the number of people affected by water scarcity will double. At that temperature, we would also see a doubling in the losses of corn yields in the tropics, an increase by 10 times the frequency of ice-free summers in the Arctic Ocean, loss of 30 percent more coral reefs (meaning a total of 99 percent of coral reefs will disappear), loss of an additional 50 percent of global fisheries, and an additional 10 million people affected by levels of sea rise. Oceans are already suffering from elevated acidity and lower levels of oxygen as a result of climate change. Keeping the climate change to 1.5°C could prevent corals from being completely eradicated and ease pressure on the Arctic. Altogether, these projected climate changes show the astronomical effects of human modifications to our Environment.

Considering there is an understanding to what will happen if global temperatures increase to 2°C, it is important to understand why there is not much attention surrounding the rise in global climate. After reading what the issue is and the projected outcomes, you may wonder why there has been little initiative in saving our planet. If we want to understand why this issue isn’t being presented as a number one priority, it is important to remember the bias from where our sources are coming from. Since we live in an oil rich country based off of big business, the idea is pushed to citizens that climate change is not the main focus. In the run-up to the final week of negotiations within the IPCC, there were fears the text of the report would be watered down by the US, Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich countries that are reluctant to consider more ambitious cuts. Jim Skea concluded that some countries don’t want to make the change to renewable energy because there would be a huge shift in energy and transport systems. He further states that we can achieve a 1.5°C temperature through 3 avenues: the laws of physics, chemistry, and politics. Scientists have already resolved issues with the law of physics and chemistry, and are now waiting on the help of politics, to make a political change in climate laws and regulations. However, this is difficult when politicians and big business do not want to cooperate. Analysts of the report say there is much work to be done, with even pro-Paris deal nations involved in fossil fuel extraction that goes against their commitments. According to the Guardian news article titled “We Have 12 Years to Limit Climate Change Catastrophe,” Britain is pushing ahead with gas fracking, Norway with oil exploration in the Arctic, and the German government wants to tear down Hambach forest to dig for coal. Bob Ward, of the Grantham Research Institute on climate change, said the final document of the Paris Agreement was “incredibly conservative” because it did not mention the likely rise in climate-driven refugees or the danger of tipping points that could push the world on to an irreversible path of extreme warming. Since the Paris climate talks in 2016, the gap between science and politics has widened. Donald Trump has promised to withdraw the US – the world’s biggest source of historical emissions – from the accord. The first round of Brazil’s presidential election on Sunday put Jair Bolsonaro into a strong position to carry out his threat to do the same and also open the Amazon rainforest to agribusiness. Now knowing this, it is clear that the biggest reason why countries are still making large dents in fossil fuel productions, even ones who were pro-paris agreement, is because fossil fuels are more economically efficient for businesses, meaning it is cheaper to produce fossil fuels than renewable energy.

Now that there is a grasp behind not only what the issues are surrounding the rise in global temperature but also why there have not been enough measures to help, we must now construct ways in which we as individuals can reduce our impact on the environment. Collective action is necessary and experts say people need to unite if the scale of this challenge is to be met, making the political space for politicians and big businesses to make the necessary changes. Both big businesses and politicians need to work together if we want to see significant change by 2030. Limiting warming to 1.5°C is not easy and requires drastic changes to our energy, transportation, food, and building systems. This requires some removal of CO2 from the atmosphere if we want to meet the 1.5°C goal (either via reforestation, soil carbon sequestration, or technological advancements enabling direct capture of carbon from the atmosphere.) Net CO2 emissions need to drop 45 percent from their 2010 levels by 2030, and reach net-zero by 2050. Meeting this goal involves a large jump in renewables for the global energy supply, providing 70-85 percent of electricity use by 2050. Another extremely important way to help with the environment is a slogan that most have been taught their entire lives: reduce, reuse, recycle, buy fewer things and consume less. Studies show that eating less meat, especially beef, is the single best way to reduce your personal environmental impact. Also, having well insulated homes prevents excess energy from being used throughout winter. However, the UK government substantially cut the amount that energy companies are forced to spend on helping households with energy efficiency measures. All that money is now focused on helping fuel-poor households, with no incentive for better-off households to improve their energy efficiency. So, it is important that we as individuals take the steps to switching to renewable energy whenever possible, such as using solar panels and energy saving appliances within your home. Finally, perhaps the most influential way as a citizen to help reduce your footprint on the environment is to vote to create change. Bill McKibben, a leading climate campaigner states that the most important thing people can do is come together to form movements – or join existing groups – that can “push for changes big enough to matter”, from city-wide renewable energy programs to large-scale divestment from fossil fuels. Furthermore, international cooperation is a critical enabler for developing countries, and can provide an enabling environment for all people, in the context of sustainable development. Individuals can hold politicians to account by supporting political parties that put the environment at the heart of their economic and industrial policies. With this, there will be people in positions of authority that have the ability to create laws and regulations that will assure that our global temperature stays at a consistent 1.5°C, and assure that globally we are doing everything we can to minimize the destruction of our planet. The increase in global temperature is a concerning issue for me, and after analyzing these articles and doing more research, it is clear to me why there has been this facade that climate change is not real. I’ve always known that we as humans create negative impacts on our environment, but I was always confused as to why there was no significant change to fix the problems we have created. It wasn’t until I became older, and a business major, that I realized the reason our planet is being destroyed is because big businesses and politicians consciously make decisions in favor of economic growth rather than environmental protection. It was really angering reading article after article of how we are harming the planet, and how measures are not being taken seriously enough to fix it. Throughout this entire assignment I have wondered: are people really that greedy that they will allow their profit to remain first compared to the state of the environment we live in? Do people just not understand how detrimental these effects are? Either way, this inspires my to be more active in my community, and to spread the word about what we are doing to our environment, and what we are allowing to be done.

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