Last week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN’s climate change advisory body, released its latest report into climate change, its impacts, and how to mitigate it. The report concludes that the world has not run out of options to tackle climate change, but it does paint a stark and, at times, scary picture of the consequences of leaving emissions unchecked.
The report was commissioned back in 2015 as part of the landmark Paris Agreement. It is the product of three years of research and brings together the findings of three working groups focusing:
The science of climate change
The impacts on the world
The policy options available to us
The report’s main headline is that the world is currently completely off track in our attempts to tackle climate change and keep warming within 1.5°C of pre-industrial levels. Indeed, we are heading towards 3°C of warming and could reach 1.5°C as soon as 2030.
However, perhaps the most interesting part of this report is how it compares 1.5°C of warming with 2°C. It finds that 1.5°C has “clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems” when compared with 2°C. For example, at 1.5°C global sea level rises would be 10cm lower by 2100 than at 2°C of warming. This could save the homes of millions of people who inhabit islands and coastal regions around the globe. Furthermore, heat related deaths, the loss of coral, food scarcity, water shortages, forest fires and ocean acidification would all be considerably less severe at 1.5°C.
So, what can you do to respond to the IPCC report? Well, insulating your home, walking or cycling instead of using your car, installing solar panels on your home, and consuming less meat and dairy are all examples of individual actions you can take that will have an impact. But the report says that we need “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” so we will need to see change at a larger scale as well. The world needs to almost half its carbon emissions by 2030 and have net emissions of zero by 2050. That will require drastic changes to our businesses, energy systems, transport, buildings and infrastructure.
Such changes can only be brought about through collective action led by governments which leaves us relying on our politicians to take action. There is too much at stake to sit back and blame politicians when things go wrong. We must take an active role in encouraging politicians to make the courageous decisions needed to tackle climate change.
This report shows that it is still possible to keep global warming within 1.5°C, but the window for action is closing fast. If we’re to tackle climate change, politicians and citizens need to act now. That is why it’s vital that you meet with your MP.
Hope for the Future, specialists in climate lobbying training, can support you to meet with your MP. You don’t need to have any previous campaigning experience, or a great knowledge of climate change. We can provide you with training, research and support with your MP meeting to discuss the concerns raised in this report, and we would be delighted to help.