Unless you’re a climate change sceptic or ignore any mention of the topic in the media, you will most likely be aware of its rising threat that has been continuously mentioned over the years. Most people know about, a lot of us talk about it and how to fix the situation at hand, and yet still some people reject its existence.
One of the organisations that is providing us with evidence of its reality and its dangers is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Since the 1990s, it has been publishing reports allowing us to understand the “risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation”. Its work has supported all United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) discussions, starting with the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, following with the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, and most recently during the Paris Agreement in 2015. The rising threat of climate change has been discussed and necessary actions have been deliberated at every single gathering over the past three decades, however why is it that we continuously keep hearing that the situation is getting worse?
Last week, on the 8thOctober 2018, the IPCC published yet another report putting the reality of climate change into perspective. One of the outcomes of the Paris Agreement was the decision to keep global temperatures below 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels and to aim efforts at keeping the limit at 1.5 degrees C. However, the IPCC’s special report suggests that in fact with current levels of damage that our actions are causing, we are most definitely going to go over these set limits, unless we take immediate and unprecedented action. For example, global emissions of CO2 need to decline by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, and we need to achieve global net zero emissions by 2050. However, the report claims that “lack of global cooperation, lack of governance of the energy and land transformation, and growing resource-intensive consumption” are key impediments to making change happen.
There has been little response so far from policy makers and global businesses, but I am hopeful that the report’s findings will be addressed at the upcoming WBCSD Council Meeting, and I look forward to hearing mentions of how businesses are planning on working with policy makers to address the lack of global cooperation in particular. Nonetheless, my main concern is whether we are doing enough to uphold the outcomes of these various IPCC reports and formal meetings. It seems that with each new publication or congregation of officials, all we hear is that our actions aren’t helping to stop the rising threat. Some suggest that at this point it’s not only about climate change, but it’s about its complete collapse, its breakdown – climate breakdown.
Image credits: Melissa Joskow / Media Matters