As the climate conference continues in Poland, some of the direct effects and facts on climate change need to be brought up. When the Paris Agreement was created in 2015, the goal of limiting global warming to below 2C by the end of the century was set, but at this point, it might already be too late for this to happen.
While 2C may not sound like a lot, it is a very ambitious goal, but the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated 1.5C should have been the goal. The big question is how much warmer has the Earth gotten and how do we stop it?
How Much Warmer Has the World Been Getting
Since the dawn of the industrial age (1850-1900), the world has gotten one degree warmer. While that may not sound like a lot, maybe the recent statement by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) will change your mind. It states that of the last 22 years, 20 of them have been the warmest in history.
The last 4 years have been particularly bad and have become the hottest on record. If the current trends continue, the world will increase by 3 to 5 degrees by the end of the century, which will be disastrous for humans and wildlife alike.
Why is the Earth Getting Warmer a Bad Thing
One of the big questions is always why is the earth getting warmer a bad thing? While many people may not like the cold weather, rapidly rising temperatures are bad for everyone. To begin, warmer temperatures will continue to melt the polar ice caps at an accelerated rate.
This will, in turn, raise the sea level around the world. The rise in sea level will threaten every human and animal that lives on a coastline in the world. Not only will the sea rise, but it will also get hotter. This endangers sea life that requires specific temperatures to live in.
This will also help strengthen natural disasters like hurricanes. Hurricanes only form over hot water, typically near the equator, but warmer waters will make them more common events and they will be much stronger. Typically as the hurricane travels over cold water, it weakens, but that will not be the case in the future.
Warmer weather will also impact crops like wheat and rice, which the world heavily relies upon. Record-setting summers also increase energy demand and there are plenty of other negatives directly related to global warming. There are no positive of global warming.
We Are Very Far From Meeting the Goal
The 1.5C goal is very far off and, in fact, we are more likely to increase by over 3C. The Emissions Gap Report in 2018 highlighted exactly how countries are not meeting their pledges. It also highlighted that carbon emissions have begun increasing again for the first time in four years.
Meeting the goal is simply impossible if the increases do not stop. Decreases from every country need to begin as quickly as possible or the world will eventually become uninhabitable.
Who is to Blame
Trying to pick out a single country or person is impossible, it is every country’s fault, but there are definitely some that are more at fault than others. China is by far the world’s biggest emitter. It was responsible for 26.83% of global emissions in 2017, which is more than the United States and the European Union combined.
This is very likely to change for multiple reasons. The EU is tightening its environmental policies and is trying to become net neutral by 2050, which is a great step in the right direction. However, the United States has shifted to a pro-fossil fuel status, which will increase their emissions greatly.
Hopefully, all countries will begin following the EU’s example and will aim for climate neutrality.
Businesses May Start Making Significant Changes
While most believe industries will only change when they are required to change, it doesn’t have to be that way. It is completely viable for all industries to start pursuing cleaner technologies to cut or eliminate the emissions they release into the air. You can help by supporting companies that make the world a greener place to live.
What Can We Do to Help
The first and most important thing is to remember is that every person can make a difference. There are 7.5 billion people in the world and if each one reduced their carbon footprint, drastic improvements would be made around the world.
Many of these are simple changes. Use less energy, use public transportation, carpool more often, plant more trees, and recycle everything. These are just a few of the simple things you can do to help the environment.
More advanced options would be installing solar panels on your houses and businesses, purchasing electric vehicles, but these options are very expensive. However, the cost of saving the planet is priceless because without the planet there is no human race. We only have one planet, so let’s make it count.