A Short Story About Climate Change

 

 

In previous sections of this website, we talked a lot about what we do and how we have decided to do it, but we still haven’t talked about why we are doing this and who/what we are fighting against. 

Now is the time to tell you more about climate change; it’s definition, it’s impact and our future if we don’t take drastic measures to fight against it right now. 

Climate change is a vast, complex, and sensitive subject. If you type these two words into your favourite search engine, the internet will bombard you with information. Then, you will be overwhelmed with anxiety because this topic is hard to understand, and you never know if you're reading fact or fiction.

When writing these words about climate change, our key resource was the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) website, and we intentionally simplified their concepts.  We wrote about this issue in simple terms and are aware that our definition is incomplete. 

What we hope to do here is inspire you to begin your own fight against climate change rather than being ultimately precise in our explanation.  If you're already actively fighting for the cause, we hope to show you that your efforts are appreciated.

 

 

What is the IPCC, and why is it a credible source?

In 1988, the United Nations endorsed the creation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC. They are responsible for assessing all scientific research related to climate change. Then, they report on the facts so businesses and governments can make informed decisions. 195 countries are part of the organization, and the IPCC is today the most comprehensive, objective, neutral, and trusted source of information in the world when it comes to climate change.

The IPCC released their latest report, Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis (give the link), on August 9th, 2021. The report was written by over 230 authors from over 60 countries and is based on more than 14,000 research papers. It represents a consensus within the global scientific community, and it is a masterpiece.

 

 

Okay, so what is climate change? 

Climate change means there is an out-of-the-ordinary shift in global weather patterns. Shifts in weather patterns are happening because the earth is warming up. And the earth is warming up because of human activity.

Over the last century, the earth has been warming up ten times faster than ever before. Today, the average temperature on earth is 15 degrees and 1.2 degrees higher than it was before 1850 – before the industrial revolution.

If there was any doubt about human activity causing global warming before, the last IPCC report has laid these thoughts to rest. The first few sentences in the report say the concentration of greenhouse gases generated by human activity have unequivocally warmed the atmosphere, the ocean, and the lands...

... to the point that UN Secretary, General Antonio Guterres, called the IPCC report “a code red for humanity.”

 

 

How could humans have such a huge impact on global warming? 

Take a guess! Yes, exactly, our constant desire for ‘new and improved.‘

Since 1850 and the start of the industrial revolution, we’ve been steadily increasing our reliance on fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, and coal) to power factories and transportation systems. We’ve been extracting, building, producing, and consuming, at an unrealistic pace.

Due to the speedy development of our modern world over the past 150 years, there is now an enormous quantity of greenhouse gases lingering in the atmosphere, +50% more since 1850.

These harmful gases in the atmosphere are causing air pollution. And they’re also contributing to the greenhouse effect, meaning sun rays cannot go back into space because they are stopped by the concentration of gases floating above us. The sun rays that don’t go back into space stay below the blanket of gas and heat up the land and sea below instead.

This blanket of gas has been growing quickly over the last 150 years, stopping more and more heat from escaping into space. If we don’t shrink this blanket of gas, the earth’s temperature will continue to rise.

 

 

What are the impacts of global warming?

According to the 2021 IPCC report, the temperature has been consistently rising over the last four decades and the consequences on our environment have been catastrophic. The consequences of climate change have been scary and, in some cases, irreversible.

Impacts of global warming include ocean salinity, extreme heat waves, retreating of glaciers, rising sea levels, heavy precipitation, cyclones, droughts, and many other destructive events. 

To sum up our situation; our whole ecosystem is in danger. 

 

 

What will happen if we continue like this? 

It’s impossible to predict the future, but one thing is for sure: the situation can’t be reversed, and the consequences will worsen if we don’t drastically cut out greenhouse gas emissions. That’s a no-brainer. 

Not convinced? Well, read a newspaper or look through your window if you live in a sensitive region, the problem will be right in front of you.

The IPCC report released in 2013 warned us to not let the average global temperature exceed 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Unfortunately, we didn’t listen. The 2021 IPCC report says we will reach a temperature increase of 1.5 degrees between now and 2040.

Not a single region in the world will be exempt from extreme changes in weather - heat waves, droughts, gigantic forest fires, melting of ice sheets and glaciers, changes in sea currents, mega-storms, cyclones, water shortage, flooding’s, bad air quality, massive loss of biodiversity... 

Sorry to be so dramatic, but this is the reality we’re living in... And I haven’t even mentioned the lasting effects of these extreme weather events; migration issues, health problems, geopolitical conflicts... 

Consequences will differ depending on where you live. The IPCC website has an excellent tool for you to find out precisely what will happen in your area if and when temperatures rise

 

 

Okay, so what should we do? Is it already too late?

NOPE! It’s not too late, and yes, there is still hope! Slowing down the problem is possible if we act now. We can limit global warming and the impacts of climate change. But to achieve this, we need immediate, massive, and durable action from governments and ourselves to stop greenhouse gas emissions.

Staying below the previous goal of 1,5 degrees may be beyond reach, but we can still reach carbon neutrality (which is the balance between emitting and absorbing carbon emissions). The zero-carbon emission plan led by the UN is here to guide us towards achieving this goal. We can also limit global warming to 1,51 degrees - because, yes, 2 degrees does not come right after 1,5 degrees.