Change is Imminent

The damaging effects of climate change are now a stark reality in our near future.


Photo by Alison Mckeough

Hurricane Florence was the most recent example of the harmful effects of climate change. Some of the damage included deadly floods and destruction of homes and properties in the coastal NC area.

Making headline news in the New York Times this Monday, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released “Global Warming of 1.5℃,” a report of dire global conditions if warming continues.

In the document, the UN stated that in order to stave off disaster, the global community must get global warming levels below 1.5℃ pre-industrial levels. Back in 2015, a majority of countries had signed the Paris Agreement to get levels below 2 degrees Celsius. Nevertheless, the conclusions of this new report are truly alarming.

According to Mind Body Green, the paper was the work of 91 authors who compiled 6,000 studies on the potential impacts of climate change. The team concluded that if humans don’t reduce carbon emissions by 45%, decimated coral reefs, extreme weather events, and massive food shortages could be the norm in the next 12 years.

If greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, the atmosphere’s temperature will increase as much as 1.5℃ above pre-industrial levels by 2040, “inundating coastlines and intensifying droughts and poverty.”

Because of the dramatic new discoveries in temperature threshold, Bill Hare, a physicist with the Climate Analytics organization, called the report “quite a shock, and quite concerning…We were not aware of this just a few years ago.”

While circumstances may seem desolate, every single person can do something to prevent this crisis from happening all together. In response to the report, Vox posted an article on legislative recommendations to accelerate progress against climate change:

  1. Price Carbon Emissions
  2. Subsidize clean energy, and end subsidies for dirty energy
  3. Close coal plants, and cut off the fossil fuel supply
  4. Electrify everything and get more efficient
  5. Invest in innovation
  6. End production and sales of automobiles that run on fossil fuels
  7. Require “zero deforestation” supply chains
  8. Keep aging nuclear plants running
  9. Discourage meat and dairy consumption, encourage plant-based diets
  10. Remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere

Each and every one of us can change our lifestyles to reduce our individual carbon footprints. We can rally and petition for the government to enact stronger climate change policies. We can help raise awareness by spreading the statistics.

One can only imagine the possibilities of the next two decades. Knowing the facts scientists have continually proven to this day, it is vital that we act now.