CLIMATE CHANGE FACTS
Climate Change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns.
It is known as the greatest threat of the 21st century.
Temperature rise is accelerated or tempered by climate feedbacks, such as loss of sunlight-reflecting snow and ice cover, increased water vapours and changes in land and ocean carbon sinks.
Temperature rise leads to desert expansion, more common heat waves and wildfires, more intense storms and weather extremes. It also amplifies the melting of permafrost, glacial retreats and sea ice loss in the Artic.
LOSS OF BIODIVERSITY
Some scientists call our current level of biodiversity loss the ‘6th mass extinction”.
Between 1970 and 2016, the populations of mammals, birds, Amphibians, reptiles and fishes decreased by 60% worldwide.
Extinction rates are 100 to 1000 higher than baseline rates and many ecosystems have degraded beyond repair.
Biodiversity is so crucial for the survival and well-being of all living creatures because of the ecosystem services it provides: pollination and provision of food // assimilation of natural waste and Greenhouse Gases // provision of rain // ground water and oxygen.
With the growing upgrades in standards of living, materials from non-renewable sources are continuously removed from the Earth. Humankind consumes what nature has to offer and in return creates waste and depletes the Earth’s natural reserves.
We now consume more of the Earth’s resources than the planet can regenerate.
The planet is in a state of a ‘ecological overshoot’. In 2021, the Earth Overshoot Day was on July 29th; on that day, humanity has exhausted nature’s budget for the entire year and operated beyond the natural carrying capacity of the Earth.
LIMITING WARMING TO 1.5C
The world must limit global warming to 1.5C by 2030.
This requires far-reaching, systemic changes on an unprecedented scale in energy, land, cities, transport, buildings and industries.
To reach the goal in limiting warming to 1.5C, the United Nations estimate that, within the next decade, nations need to triple the amount of reduction they have committed to in their Paris Agreement.
Limiting global warming involves increasing the use of renewable energy and increasing energy efficiency measures to generate the needed greenhouse gas reduction.
CARBON NEUTRALITY BY 2050
To achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, renewable energy would become the dominant form of electricity generation, rising 85% or more by 2050. Investment in coal would be eliminated and coal use nearly phased out by 2050.
In agriculture, we would need to reduce the growth in demand for food and other agricultural products, to increase land productivity, protecting and restoring forests.
In transport, an increase of electric vehicles and low carbon fuel substitution for other transportation modes like shipping would be required.
Fossil fuel would phase-out with alternatives such as electrification, green hydrogen and aviation biofuel.
Natural carbon sinks need to be enhanced to sequester significantly large amounts of CO2 beyond naturally occurring levels. To do that, changes are necessary in agriculture and forestry, such as restoring natural ecosystem with the process of reforestation.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, significant attention has been given to reforestation as a one of the best methods for mitigating climate change.
Reforestation would significantly improve the quality of life as it would absorb pollution, rebuild natural habitats and ecosystems, mitigate global warming by sequestrating greenhouse gases.