It’s environmental: a focus on environment and climate change
Climate change is due to human activity and is happening. If greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at the same pace, the world will face a 3°C temperature rise this century (against 0.74°C for the past century). This is an exemplary case to demonstrate how environmental issues interact with every aspect of human life – and why action is needed.
Many natural systems are already impacted
- more and enlarged glacial lakes
- increasing ground instability in mountain and permafrost regions
- changes in flora and fauna
- earlier timing of spring events
- shifts in plant and animal species…
If we don’t act, human life will be severely affected
Here are a few examples of expected problems if greenhouse gas emissions are not mitigated:
- Water: increased floods in some regions; decreased fresh water in others.
- Food, fibre and forest products: crop yield decreases leading to more hunger.
- Ecosystems: 20-30% of plant and animal species risk extinction.
- Coastal areas and low-lying areas: severe flooding affecting millions of people each year by the 2080s.
- Health: health of millions affected.
- Industry, settlement and society: high economic and social costs.
Can we really do something?
Yes, climate change is global, yet each of us can make a difference:
- Actions need to be taken at all levels and by everyone
- Small changes in our behaviour matter
- 180 states have ratified the Kyoto Protocol; if fully implemented, this will reduce greenhouse gases by about 5%.
Some say the problem is exaggerated… Who should we believe?
Although a scientific minority, sceptics include some fairly influential stakeholders.
However, enough is known today about the Earth’s climate system to know that urgent action is needed.
The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is a cautious group of scientific and governmental consensus. This should be your starting point if in doubt.