The UN’s Climate Change Report Has a Huge Warning for Us

Recently the United Nations published their 2018 climate change report, which warned that we have about 12 years to do something to lessen our negative impact on the environment before we face world crisis. 

This report explained that leading climate scientists have researched and found that the world temperature needs to be kept to a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius, which is already a degree above the global temperature during pre-industrial times.

The Center for Climate change and Energy Solutions explains exactly how our carbon emissions lead to the heating up of our planet, “Light from the sun passes through the atmosphere and is absorbed by the Earth’s surface, warming it. Greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, act like a blanket, trapping that heat near the surface and raising the temperature. It is a natural process that warms the planet. But human activities are increasing the amount of greenhouse gases and trapping more heat than natural.”

If the temperature in the future rises above this, we will face detrimental impacts all around our planet. EDF.org has listed some of these effects to be rising seawater levels around the world that could lead to floods in coastal regions, an increase in hurricanes and other natural disasters that feed off of the conditions like evaporation from increasingly warm waters­– the perfect example being Hurricane Michael, which was able to become so powerful in such a small amount of time due to warm water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico. There could also be droughts in areas that normally wouldn’t experience them due to heatwaves becoming more frequent.

Courtesy: Kasey McCoy

 

The goal of both UN and The Paris Accord, an agreement many countries have signed in an effort to alleviate warming, is to keep the global temperature at about 2 degrees Celsius maximum.

The Guardian states that the key takeaway from the UN’s report is “we need to cut carbon pollution as much as possible, as fast as possible.” They continued to say that this, realistically, may not happen because of world leaders denying climate change, like Donald Trump and Brazil’s President, Michel Temer, and because of the track that the world is currently on. Atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide are higher than they have been for 800,000 years, and they only seem to be increasing.

The New Yorker reported that Trump’s reaction to this accord was, “I want to look at who drew it—you know, which group drew it,” suggesting he thinks this information may not be reliable. Trump has denied climate change before this and has also curbed multiple legislation that was created to limit carbon fuel emissions.

“I don’t understand how people aren't empathetic about the number of animals and biodiversity that we could lose because of climate change ... It’s happening right in front of us,” said Bella Jaramillo, an Environmental Policy major at FSU. “A few weeks ago, I visited St. George Island only an hour away from [Tallahassee]. The Red Tide, caused by algae that thrive in warmer surface water, was so bad that my friends and I couldn’t stop coughing. And we don’t even know the long-term effects of breathing that in yet! Plus, one of my favorite beaches, Cape San Blas, was decimated by hurricane Michael and only some tiny islands remain in what used to be a long coastline. This will affect the currents, which then affect the cargo ships, sea life and the residents who invest money into their beachfront homes.”

Courtesy: USA Today

 

CNN suggested that average citizens can do something to help our planet with simple lifestyle changes, such as “using smart air conditioners/thermostats, consuming 30% less meat and animal products, and choosing options like carpooling”. However, the most impactful thing anyone wanting to make a difference can do is do their research and use their votes to elect politicians who will treat climate change like the threat to the world that it really is.