Unless we enact drastic changes and fast, climate change will become unmanageable, the UN says.
Unless we enact drastic changes in all areas of our lives, and do so fast, climate change will become unmanageable, says the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its new report.
The UN’s experts warn that we have a decade or so to get global warming under control if we are to save the planet from extreme weather before it is too late. And to do so, we will need to enact “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.”
The goal is to keep global warming at 1.5 Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Yet that, say the experts, could well prove impossible unless we start taking comprehensive action as soon as possible.
Allowing the rise in global temperatures to exceed that limit would increase the risk of such climate impacts as prolonged droughts and fresh water scarcity, heatwaves and other weather events, massive loss of biodiversity worldwide, and a catastrophic rise in sea levels. “For some people this is a life-or-death situation, without a doubt,” stressed Natalie Mahowald, a climate scientist at Cornell University who was a lead author of the report.
“Every person has to do everything in their power to change course and follow the plan that is included in the IPCC report. Will we get there in time? Nobody knows,” Kaisa Kosonen, a senior policy advisor at Greenpeace Nordic, commented in a statement. “It’s uncharted territory we’re heading into. What matters now is that we decide to try and that we make it our absolute priority. Only then do we have a chance to protect ourselves from the devastating impacts that science says would start accelerating after 1.5C.”
We’ll have to stop burning fossil fuels as if there was no tomorrow because there indeed will be no tomorrow … or at least not one we’ll like. We’ll also have to restructure our economies along far more sustainable lines and adopt far more sustainable lifestyles. A Herculean task, that? Perhaps. But we have little choice.
“Those who say it’s unrealistic are actually telling us to give up on people, to give up on species, to give up on our amazing planet,” Kosonen said. “We will not accept this. We do not give up on human ingenuity, courage or hope against political apathy and corporate greed. We will never give up on us. We are determined to succeed ”