Climate Change and Global Warming are terms that any average third grader would be familiar with. And yet, in today’s political atmosphere, it seems like those topics seem to be more divisive than ever. Active Climate Change denial in the mainstream is threatening our scope of survival. Science has been re-framed as a part of a broader political agenda instead of a tool for tracking the truth. Facts that could prove as vital instruments for reshaping our path to the planet’s future have been disregarded.
What is Climate Change all about? What’s in store for us?
Let’s start with the basics. Climate Change, in this context, refers to the rising temperatures caused by the heat trapped in earth’s atmosphere, due to the Greenhouse Effect and increased production of polluting gases like carbon dioxide, methane etc. Thanks to the increased industrialisation. Scientists have spent a lot of time studying the consequences of different levels of the temperature rise.
A recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on the Climate Change (IPCC) talked about how if we, as humans, don’t take immediate, deliberate change to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees within the next forty years, we might reach a point of no return, in terms of the planet’s future. That 1.5 degrees is significant. It was the target that almost all the world governments agreed to at the 2015 Paris Agreement. Even a two degree rise in parts of Southwest Asia, including well-populated areas of the Persian Gulf and Yemen, might alter these places into literally uninhabitable zones, without air conditioning.
Even the stated 1.5 degree rise may prove troublesome. By some calculations, however, this limit could help prevent the predicted melting of the Siberian Tundra and from the land releasing the greenhouse gas methane from its depths. It could limit the sea level rising rate significantly. It is true that these calculations have been made by extrapolating certain factors, and maybe the 20 years or nothing claim might be a bit reductionist. However, it is undeniable that the track we are on is not a great one. The extreme weather and natural disasters we have seen recently seem to indicate the predicament. Earth has been through five mass extinctions and we may be inspiring a sixth. Deadline or not, it’s high-time we do something about the imminent fiasco. We simply cannot put this off any longer.
Today, the top 20 countries in the world are responsible for 80 per cent of the global emissions. Just seven countries emit more than a gigaton annually (vox.com). A good place to start with Climate Change policy would be these seven countries. If we get these countries to agree on sustainable energy and resource management, it would be a good step forward, and more importantly, it is much more attainable than getting 200 countries to agree upon a singular climate change policy.
We can’t achieve the results we expect with ordinary recycling projects and odd and even politics. The onus must be placed on the bigger corporations and companies that are capable of undoing all the good that citizens do. Usage of renewable energy must be encouraged and made the order of the day.
In times when we need to band up together, climate change denial becomes much more than some innocuous, uneducated conspiracy. Climate change denial becomes an active fear mongering that undercuts the hard work of scientists who have laboured on the issue. The cynicism of climate change denial is much more profound than its rejection of science. Climate change denial just shows how people would rather help corporations achieve profits than actively help the planet’s future and humanity’s future.
It’s not all bad news. The greatest thing about human kind is its ability to innovate and constantly keep moving. The most crucial turning points of our development as a species have come from our greatest inventions. My favourite example of this trait has to be Jonas Salk’s invention of the polio vaccine. Today, polio is almost entirely eradicated globally. Salk never patented his vaccine or made any money from his invention. It was a discovery directed towards the purpose of helping humanity. Mankind has always pulled through in the last minute in inspiring ways.
Today, we need an environment that fosters these innovations and changes. We need to bring the whole world together on this global issue. We need to put our efforts into protecting the future of our planet and humanity.
Picture Credits : guardian.ng