In a new report released on 9th August, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to close to 1.5°C or even 2°C will be beyond reach.
In the past, the world listened but did not seem to hear the message and acted hesitantly. The IPCC[mfn] established in 1988 by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments on climate change, its implications and potential future risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation options.
This report, labelled “Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis”, is a contribution to the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report and addresses the most updated physical understanding of the climate system and climate change, bringing together the latest advances in climate science. It was approved by the 195 member governments of the IPCC.
The report is the outcome of a collective and collaborative effort involving reviews of 14,000 scientific studies and the contributions of 234 authors from 65 countries, the majority of which participated for the first time in IPCC’s work. [/mfn] hopes that this time its report will make a difference, especially in view of the many extreme weather events that have occurred this year. The recent changes in the climate are widespread, rapid and unprecedented in history.
The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the highest in at least 2 million years. Sea levels have risen at a faster rate than ever in the last 3,000 years. Extreme heat, heavy rainfall and wildfires have become more frequent and intense. Droughts are increasing in some regions. Arctic ice has decreased by 40% since 1979. Today, about 56% of the CO2 emissions are stored in the oceans and on land (carbon sinks) but this percentage will decrease if more CO2 is emitted.
Some of these changes are irreversible but some can be slowed down or even stopped if greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are reduced. “We must treat climate change as an immediate threat. Our generation can make things right.” There is no doubt in the report that human influence is the main driver of climate change.
One third of the report focuses on the regional impact of climate change. It provides new estimates of the chances of crossing the global warming level of 1.5°C in the next decades. It shows that emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are responsible for approximately 1.1°C of warming since 1850-1900, and finds that averaged over the next 20 years, global temperature is expected to reach or exceed 1.5°C of warming.
In particular, the report argues against the continuing use of coal and fossil fuels, before it destroys the planet. “There must be no new coal plants built after 2021. OECD countries must phase out existing coal by 2030, with all others following suit by 2040. Countries should also end all new fossil fuel exploration and production, and shift fossil fuel subsidies into renewable energy.” Source: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/
In the past IPCC worked with two resulting scenarios: business as usual, which will lead to an increase in global warming by 5 – 6°C by 2100; or a more optimistic scenario that mankind realises by 2040 that the situation is really bad. In fact, climate change is accelerating more than IPCC first thought. One of the things that seems to cause most worry is the question of tipping points; the occurrence of extreme weather events, particularly in the last decade or two, seemingly points to an acceleration which would not have happened without human influence.
The action of the G20 economies, whose CO2equivalent emissions collectively account for some 80% of the global total, will be critical to determining humanity’s future. This is also what the UN Secretary-General underlined when he called on all nations, especially the G20, to join the net zero emissions coalition. How likely is that threshold to be crossed!? Considering the global divide among the big green-house gas emitters in the G20: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the EU, it won’t be easy… The still developing countries among the G20 think that the industrialised countries, which have been the biggest emitters in the past, are more responsible for climate change and therefore should compensate the other countries. The historical role of the US as the biggest emitter of accumulated carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has now been replaced by China, the current biggest producer of greenhouse gases.
Awareness of this info is important for well educated & affluent G20 citizens to consciously define their disposable income expenditure=CO2e choices… There’s no point expecting a “deus ex machina”/government/global agency to magically offer the solution. For God even can’t force Mankind to do good; you and I must activate our own dignity and self-respect in order to choose to do good — for others. PET is calling on all Findhorn Ecovillagers and Community Supporters to do your positive-climate-change-bit conscientiously from now on,
aligning with the Findhorn Common Ground to which you subscribe… Offsetting your completely (?) necessary carbon equivalent emissions is the LEAST you can do; the MOST is radically changing your lifestyle — especially your transport, heating/energy and consumer product choices.
The continuing Covid-19 pandemic is proving the value of the Common Ground’s 3Principles&7Essences, as well as proving that radical change hasn’t really hurt us materially as much as we feared[mfn]False Evidence Appearing Real[/mfn] — rather it has gotten our creative juices flowing AND, it has positively re-valued the concept of discerning about & investing our scarce resources in both our own and the neighbourhood/community’s quality of life!
Obvious reaction! Why not also protect yourself from your own CO2e output today?