How do events, like these, that tell us what could happen in certain drastic situations with evidence be something positive? It may seem negative or daunting, discussing the impact of global warming and how it can change our world completely for future generations – but there is definitely a positive in this. Not only should this serve as motivation for us to make a change, but it also shows that there are SO MANY people out there who are working to raise awareness through science, research, negotiations, making small-scale changes and education.
I had the opportunity to participate in one event out of a series of events: Climate Future Series. The event I attended specifically discussed the impacts of limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees and what we can do to ourselves to help limit it to 1.5 degrees.
Impacts of limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees
The event was based on a special report that was specifically requested by the government – the IPCC Report. This report highlights various reasons why we, as an entire population, must aim to reduce the extent of global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius.
Positive: Never has there been a time when the government requested for a report as specific as this for an issue like Climate Change. It goes to show that the addressing climate change is becoming increasingly important in everyone’s eyes and the Paris Climate Agreement is working – slowly but surely
Just to give you all an idea of how we are doing today – if we maintain the current greenhouse emissions, our planet will warm above 1.5 degrees celsius between 2030 and 2050.
Positive: We are already seeing changes in the emergence of renewable energies, increased awareness of climate change and people are already making changes. We need to continue and even increase the momentum of these changes
It is our intuitions and we can logically deduce that impacts of our planet warming up 1.5 degrees celsius is definitely better than warming to 2 degrees celsius – but now it is scientifically proven with evidence
Positive: Evidence and research is helping raise awareness of climate change and actions that can be detrimental to the environment
As an example, the report states with medium confidence, that the probability of ice-free arctic ocean is substantially higher at 2 degrees warming compared to 1.5.
Positive: This evidence and report has created and generated a lot of buzz in governments worldwide!
Aiming to curb warming to 1.5 degrees saves lives, ecosystems and our environment – of course this is worth it!
Evidence also shows that exposure to multiple and compound climate-related risks are forecasted to increase if warming reaches between 1.5 and 2 degrees. We can help aim to limit the warming at 1.5 so it doesn’t affect various regions in Africa and Asia that unfortunately suffer from excess poverty
Positive: Governments, now, are really motivated to address all issues as one big global issue rather than separating them into categories. All the problems our world faces are interdependent and people are finally realizing and acting upon it!
Lower impact on Biodiversity and Species
Smaller reductions in yields (farming)
Global population exposed to increased water shortages
Looking at all of this as one issue shows urgency and portrays that certain solutions can help solve various problems!
The report also highlights that key economic sectors and services will also be negatively impacted if warming exceeds 1.5 degrees. These pose risks to global economic growth. Many large organizations around the world and even government institutions are reluctant to act on climate change because they deem it to be expensive, however, in the long-run, it will be more expensive to not address climate change
Global warming has already affected tourism – for example, we are seeing increased risks such as sun and heat intensity, beach erosion (see what Costas Verdes is doing to tackle beach erosion), and snow sports. This can be highlighted, through the report, with extremely high confidence.
Again, I look at this as a positive. Sports like snowboarding and surfing is something I’m extremely passionate about – and not being able to practice these sports in the future should bring communities together to tackle climate change
We must all come to the realization that none of us are isolated, we are all inter-connected – change in even one part of the world can positively impact us all. Take this as an example:Change somewhere else can affect your grocery shopping – because we buy foods from all around the world
The report highlights some RFC’s (Reasons for Concern) and I think this should be shared with everyone, not to terrify people, but to educate and raise awareness of what our generation and future generations face
- RFC 1 – Unique and Threatened systems encompass ecological and human systems (coral reefs, arctic, indigenous peoples, mountain glaciers)
- RFC2 – Extreme weather events
- RFC 3 – Distribution impacts (Impacts may not be widely distributed and can affect one region more than other)
- RFC 4 – Global aggregate impacts
- RFC 5 – Large scale singular events (losing Greenland is an example)
Positive: These RFCs are helping governmental bodies to set priorities and decide what initiatives to tackle first to curb warming and prioritize how we can adapt
The event then moved to solutions and what we must look for in larger organizational bodies:
These are typically things that we should look for when voting, or even when working at our current jobs, or exploring entrepreneurship opportunities.
- Green infrastructure
- Resilient water
- Urban Ecosystem services
- Urban and Peri-Urban agriculture
- Adapting building and land-use
- Disaster Risk Management
- Risk sharing and spreading (Insurance services for people)
- Education and learning (raising awareness)
- Using Indigenous knowledge more effectively
- Climate Research – more funding into climate research can help us unearth even more information and how climate change can affect us
Future risks at 1.5 degrees will depend on what we do and the choices we make as individuals and collectively. This can include investment in new technology and even going zero-waste!
IT IS COMPLETELY POSSIBLE FOR US TO LIMIT WARMING TO 1.5 DEGREES
Other solutions we can all relate to:
- Bring together knowledge and share! Otherwise, as an example, scientists will not know what economists are learning and vice versa
- Vote – becoming knowledgeable on politics and vote! We are lucky to have a say in who governs our countries, and we can definitely make a difference!
- Try to move to a zero-waste lifestyle – plastic pollution and food wastage are huge problems our world is facing. These are issues that we can act upon in our daily lives and make a change
- Change your consumer habits, whether that means driving your car less, shopping at package-free stores, making sustainable choices – this can help change the demand for various products and highlight to business organizations that our population demand is changing. The only way for these organizations to then be profitable is to meet our new demand!