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The countdown to climate catastrophe

Other | Thursday 11th October 2018 | Annalisa

You may have seen the front pages of national newspapers such as the Guardian and The Independent highlighting a new UN report that gave the world 12 years to stop global warming from reaching a maximum of 1.5C. The report stated that any rise in temperature beyond that, even by half a degree, will significantly increase the risks of drought, floods, extreme weather conditions and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. The report detailed that nothing less than keeping all fossil fuels in the ground is a necessity in avoiding future calamities.
 
Whilst that may already seem quite scary, there's a lot you're still not being told. The actual situation could be much worse. The IPCC report is based on the consensus view of the hundreds of top scientists who make up the IPCC. This means a 'middle ground' scenario is likely to be the one we've been fed. Jamie Henn, co-founder of the international climate group 350.org, stated in a tweet that the "scariest thing about the IPCC Report" is the fact that it is a "...watered down, consensus version. The latest science is much, much, much more terrifying."
 
A term you might hear when talking about climate change and global warming is the 'Tipping Point', which is the moment when climate change becomes irreversible. What Jamie Henn and others are concerned about is that, even as we reach global warming of 1C, the chain of events that this may set into motion could in all probability lead to a snowball effect which could dramatically change the world's climate before we can stop it. Essentially, the planet as we know it, with all its diverse forms of life and fragile ecosystems, will no longer exist. 
 
But, as Hoesung Lee, the Chair of the IPCC stated, keeping global warming below 1.5c will require "...unprecedented transitions in all aspects of society."
 
Although scare you it may, none of this is being said for this purpose, but just to prod you into making a start by eating less meat, buying fewer things and generally being a better, more considerate human.

 

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