UN releases climate change reports, and what WE can do to help

A few weeks ago, the UN released an updated report on climate change that provides shocking evidence about the effects that the increasing climate will have on Earth’s future. Data suggests that if immediate action is not taken, there will most likely be many more devastating losses and natural disasters in the decades to come. 

Since the 1800’s, the Earth’s climate has been getting hotter and hotter, and research shows that humans are responsible. The Earth is hotter than it has been in more than 1,000 years, and according to the latest UN report, is already on a trajectory to get roughly 1.5 degrees Celsius hotter in the next couple of decades. Even if changes are made immediately, this rising climate is inevitable, but could allow for the climate to rise and then plateau after 1.5 degrees Celsius. However, if no action is taken, temperatures will continue rising, possibly 3 or more degrees Celsius. This will cause more heat waves, flooding, and rising ocean levels that will become dangerous to certain areas that are near the equator or along the coast. 

But fear not. Even with the escalating temperatures, there are possible futures that could keep the Earth and its inhabitants safe. Along with the updated climate data, the UN released five climate futures, detailing what the next few decades need to look like in order to save the planet. While all of these plans won’t stop temperatures from rising up through the year 2040, most of them have the potential to eliminate this continuous rise after 2050. Fortunately, countries have already started making plans to stop global warming. President Biden’s plans to eliminate net carbon emissions by 2050, and China’s goal is to become carbon neutral by 2060. 

Aside from these steps towards ending global warming, there are still many steps left to be taken. Some lawmakers still deny the truth about climate change, even though numerous scientific advancements have been made in the past century, allowing for more accurate data and research. Temperature measurements and other technology measuring sea levels have proven without a doubt that global warming and climate change are and have been occurring, and that humans are responsible. In order for these climate futures to exist, governments have to be not only able, but willing, to undertake this expensive but necessary endeavor. 

While reducing our individual greenhouse gas emissions through actions such as decreasing our driving and flying, turning off lights, and using less plastic waste are important, we are past the point where relying solely on these actions will stop global warming. Taking actions to stop climate change now rests in the hands of lawmakers who can make global policies that target large corporations and countries as a whole. This is where you CAN help. Putting pressure on companies and your representatives through emails and/or letters will reinforce the issue, and donating to climate-driven organizations will help leaders take initiative and hold the fossil fuel industries accountable. Climate activists and scientists are saying that we need to take the pressure off of ourselves, and put it onto the industries that are causing the harm.

The bottom line is that this crisis has moved far beyond our individual carbon footprints, and needs to be addressed at a global level. While global warming will continue to drastically rise in the next 30 years, immediate action by governments and companies will determine the future of our Earth in the years to come.