Why should you care about climate change?
If you have children or grandchildren the answer is simple, the longer we wait, the more expensive it becomes for our future generations. They will be asking us “what were we thinking?”
The problem is that we already know that climate change is not a distant future threat. It is happening already - and accelerating. Yet our present efforts are far from acceptable.
Global temperatures over the last 25 years have been above the 20thcentury average. Formerly one-off extreme weather events seem to be becoming the new normal. This is in line with what scientists for the last 30 years have been projecting how a world undergoing global warming will be like.
The consequences of climate change are being felt across the world:
- Record droughts in Africa, the US and elsewhere over the past few years have helped push up global food prices;
- Summer Arctic ice has reached a record low and virtually all glaciers worldwide are retreating;
- Historic flooding in Asia has destroyed the homes and livelihoods of millions of people.
- Storms are becoming more frequent and intense as seen in Hurricane Sandy or the more recent Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
- Europe witnessed several record-breaking cold snaps and heat waves in recent years, which caused tens of thousands of premature deaths;
- River and coastal flooding affects millions of people in Europe every year; and will only get worse
International organisations like the World Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organisation or the United Nations Environment Programme have all warned of the destructive effects of global warming on people's livelihoods and the economy.
Tick Tock our time is running out
The science is clear the Climate Change Working Group I which belongs to the Intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) has just published the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) the video below gives you a scientific perpective on climate change and how it is occurring.
Scientists say that to prevent climate change from spiralling out of control, global warming must be kept below 2°C compared to the temperature in pre-industrial times. But if current trends continue, the world is set for a temperature increase of more than 3°C, with all the devastating effects that will go with it.
Climate change is caused by greenhouse gas emissions – mainly from human activity. Burning fossil fuels is responsible for three quarters of global emissions. Deforestation is also a large contributor.
Greenhouse gas emissions in Europe are currently almost 18% below 1990 levels. Global emissions, however, keep on rising, in particular due to rapid economic growth in countries like China, India and Brazil.
It is not too late to fix the climate. But this requires drastic and rapid cuts in greenhouse gas emissions of at least -50% globally and 80-95% for Europe by 2050.
Studies show this is feasible and affordable, but it requires us to make the transition to a low-carbon society sooner rather than later. The longer we wait, the more expensive it becomes.
At the end of the day the entire economy depends on a healthy environment. Our governments are failing us and we are failing ourselves by accepting business as usual, it will come out of own pockets, the time to act is now.
Now ask yourselves what kind of legacy do you want to leave your children?