Twelve years to make a difference

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reveals potential for climate change catastrophe

By on October 23, 2018

Climate scientists from all over the world have gathered information and data, discovering that pollution, CO2 emissions and global warming are occurring at unprecedented rates. Using this information, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report on Oct. 8. The report revealed that climate change catastrophe may occur in as soon as 12 years from now if there isn’t a change.

In previous reports, the goal of these climate scientists was to keep warming under 2 degrees Celsius. This is because warming at this level creates water deficits, rising sea levels and inhabitable conditions in regions such as the Middle East and Western U.S.

Yet, the report expressed the urgent need to limit warming further, keeping the numbers below 1.5 Celsius. This is because the rate of climate change is faster than previously predicted.

Graphic by Janna Marnell
“Over the last 8,000 years, we haven’t seen a temperature extreme this rapid and this fast and large,” according to Laura Geggel of LiveScience.

Human-induced warming reached approximately .9 degree Celsius in 2017, according to data conducted by NASA. “We are already seeing the consequences of 1 degree C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels, and diminishing arctic sea ice, among other changes,” the IPCC report reads.

The effects of climate change are being felt now more than ever. In the U.S., there has been a notable rise in spontaneous weather patterns. Connecticut typically experiences an annual average of 1.5 tornados, according to NBC Connecticut. There have been seven tornados just this year. This has led to heavy flooding, as well as damage to many forests and state parks including one of Hamden’s very own landmarks, Sleeping Giant State Park.

Sleeping Giant State Park is still suffering from the effects of the EF1 tornado that hit on May 15. Winds reached 110 mph and 32 miles of park and trail have been closed since the storm.

The May 15 tornado is a prime example of how climate change impacts weather patterns, as there was no major prediction of the storm.

Throughout the country, regions have been battling everything from wildfires to heat waves to hurricanes.

The IPCC report is a wake up call for the United States and for the world. The “rapid and far-reaching transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities” are necessary to prevent going over the maximum warming threshold, according to the report.

On Oct. 14 , 60 Minutes’ Lesley Stahl sat down with President Trump and began by asking whether he considers climate change “a hoax.” This is a term he has used in the past when addressing the subject.

Trump said he believes climate science has changed, but he still questions whether humans are responsible. “I don’t think it’s a hoax… But I don’t know that it’s manmade,” Trump told Stahl.

Under Trump’s leadership, the United States is the only country in the world to publicly oppose the Paris Agreement, an accord that aims to combat climate change and lower carbon-emissions.

However, the IPCC report highlights why the U.S. and other countries need to be taking action to reduce their ecological footprint and impact on the environment. Urgent changes need to be made in order to avoid going over that 1.5 degree threshold.

For university students, small alterations can make a big impact. Reducing meat consumption, carpooling and investing in reusable water bottles and utensils are easy ways to lower the individual impact one has.

Both the Student Programming Board (SPB) and Students for Environmental Action (SEA) are distributing reusable straws for no charge.

Erin LeDrew, senior sociology major and event coordinator for SEA suggests eating one more meatless meal than you already do a week because so much water and energy and land goes into raising cattle and producing meat not to mention methane emissions especially from raising cattle.

For the world however, there is so much more to change in a small window of time. The IPCC report can be used as a guide for companies, businesses and institutions alike to combat climate change.

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