This week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report with one of the most extensive warnings we've yet seen on the effects of rising global temperatures. The report, which BBC news named "a final call to halt 'climate catastrophe,'" is a result of three years of research and a week of negotiations between scientists and government officials.
Here's What We Know
The temperatures are rising, and they're rising faster than we thought they would.
- Scientists once believed that limiting the global temperature rise in this century to under 2 degrees Celcius would keep the effects of climate change manageable. Not anymore.
- Now, we know that we need to aim to keep global temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees Celcius.
- The IPCC study reveals that exceeding 1.5 degrees Celcius could tamper with our planet's livability.
- At the rate temperatures are rising, we could rise above this safety rail in as few as 12 years. Currently, the planet is skyrocketing towards a rise as high as 3° C.
- Urgent, large-scale changes, including significant and consistent financial investment from global governments, are needed to prevent imminent disaster.
- Keep in touch with your law and policy-makers and let them know about the issues you care about.
You can read more about the report (and find the original report itself) at the following sources:
Nature International Journal of Science: IPCC Says Limiting Global Warming to 1.5 °C Will Require Drastic Action
IPCC: Global Warming of 1.5 °C
Here's Some Good News
"That's a very empowering message for the individual. This is not about remote science; it is about where we live and work, and it gives us a cue on how we might be able to contribute to that massive change, because everyone is going to have to be involved." Dr. Debra Roberts, IPCC Co-Chair
While calling the report's findings "overwhelming" would be the understatement of the century, there is some hope amid the sobering facts. Lifestyle changes from folks like you and me can help cool our feverish planet. The report urges people to take the following actions (among others):
- Limit the use of cars and use public transportation
- Take trains and buses instead of planes, when possible
- Use a washing line instead of using an electric dryer
- Purchase food that is locally sourced and seasonal (and waste less of it)
In addition to purchasing local food, producing food in a sustainable climate-smart agriculture is a key player in keeping the world temperatures lower. Here are a few examples of farmers fighting against climate change and working to keep the world healthy.
Thomas Reuters Foundation News:In Haiti, Deadly Hurricane Brings New Life to Drought-Hit Community
Heifer International: Tanzania's Eco-Village Demonstrates Climate-Smart Farming