Environment

“Our planet’s alarm is going off, and it is time to wake up and take action!” 

– Leonardo DiCaprio

The environment is the seventh area of Rotary’s Areas of Focus. Ever thought about the requirement of a new area in RFA? Rotary always focuses on the areas which will contribute to the world to make a better place. As the quote indicates, our planet is facing a hard time right now. Negligence of sustainable growth and dereliction of our fellow human beings made the situation even worse. Humankind and nature have to act as companions, but nowadays, we both become rivals. 

Humans cut down the forests and took the river sand, and beach sand; moreover, they spoiled the river. In return, nature took an act of revenge on humans all over the world. Save the environment is not just an article heading anymore. Environment safety is a severe issue.

What is the IPCC report 2021 trying to say?

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, also known as IPCC, has published its first update on the physical science of climate change after the IPCC Report in 2013, primarily focusing on climate change issues and predicting natural disasters which may happen in the future. Since it is a lengthy report, assessment reports come in groups of three. This first one outlines the projected impacts of five emissions scenarios, ranging from global net harmful and net-zero to emissions doubling by 2050 and 2100, compared to current levels.

Due to land in early 2022, the second and third reports will examine how to adapt to these impacts and prevent the worst-case scenarios. [Climate Home News]

In that case, we look at five major points from the report. 

1. Global warming is going to rise by 1.5C by 2040

We need to go back around 125,000 years to find evidence of warmer global surface temperatures spanning multiple centuries. That leaves an increasingly narrow pathway to stabilising temperatures at 1.5C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century, the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement. Under all emissions scenarios outlined in the IPCC report, the earth’s surface warming is projected to reach 1.5C or 1.6C in the next two decades.

The threshold has come closer partly because scientists have incorporated new datasets to estimate historic temperature rise, including the fast-warming Arctic.

2. Humans are responsible for the extreme weather conditions

While AR5 (previous report) concluded that human influence on the climate system is “clear”, AR6 said there is “high confidence” that human activities are the main drivers of more frequent or intense heat waves, glaciers melting, ocean warming, and acidification. 

“There has been a real push linking extreme events to societal impacts,” said Dann Mitchell, professor of climate change at Bristol University, citing a 2016 study that found that 506 of the 753 fatalities during the Paris heatwave in 2003 could be blamed on climate change.

3. We know more about regional climate impacts

Since the last IPCC report, climate models have improved, enabling scientists to analyse current and projected temperature and hydrological extremes at a regional level and understand what global climate impacts will look like in different parts of the world.

“The climate models have improved since the last report. They have a higher spatial resolution which allows you to see more regional impacts, and they are better at simulating what will happen in the future in specific regions”

Stephen Cornelius, the IPCC lead for WWF, told Climate Home News.
4. Possibility of irreversible tipping points 

As the report says, irreversible changes to the climate are possible, often called tipping points. 

“At a briefing last month, many temperature extremes are outside the bounds of natural variability and triggering extreme events, such as wildfires”

Corinne Le Quere, a climate scientist at the University of East Anglia.

The “substantial increase in risks” was highlighted in a recent analysis that showed that Amazon parts are now emitting more carbon than they absorb, Emily Shuckburgh, a University of Cambridge climate scientist, said at the briefing.

5. Methane emissions are an important lever

The IPCC has dedicated an entire chapter to “short-lived climate forcers” such as aerosols, particulate matter, and methane for the first time. The authors state that a rapid and robust reduction in methane emissions would curb global warming and improve air quality. Despite its global warming impact, methane has received far less attention than CO2 and is not included in most countries’ climate pledges.

“A sharp reduction in methane would give you a short-term win, but governments have largely ignored it to date. All the focus has been on CO2 net-zero targets”

Richard Black, senior associate at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU)

The Rotary Foundation will enable our members and their community allies to take action in these ways:

  • Protecting and restoring land, coastal, marine, and freshwater resources
  • Enhancing the capacity of communities to support natural resource management and conservation
  • Supporting sustainable agriculture, fishing, and aquaculture practices
  • Addressing the cause of climate change by reducing the emission of greenhouse gases
  • Strengthening ecosystems and communities affected by climate change
  • Supporting education initiatives that promote behaviour that protects the environment
  • Advocating for sustainable consumption to build an economy that uses resources more efficiently
  • Addressing environmental justice issues and public health concerns

With all these, we have to take care of E-waste as well. Finding an alternative for plastic and polythene will contribute in a big way to the environment. For example, using glass bottles instead of plastic water bottles will significantly impact reducing plastic wastage. All kinds of litter have to be cleared properly.  Create awareness to the public to keep a clean and healthy environment for themselves.  Protecting the environment will help us achieve a promising future where all human beings can live peacefully on earth. 

Our actions have to speak aloud. Most of the population is unaware of the changes that are happening around the world. Some people can not be able to get the information that we can get. We have to alert them. 

The world is not only for humans. So we humans are responsible for what is happening around the world right now. Taking small steps towards a green future will help us to live a prosperous life.  Do not hesitate to make sacrifices. Our keenness for a luxurious life has made some unknown impacts around the globe. 

According to the COP-26 (26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties) Glasgow summit, almost all of the world leaders are agreed to save the environment in various ways. 

Such as,

  • It was agreed countries will meet next year to pledge further cuts to emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) – a greenhouse gas that causes climate change.
  • For the first time at a COP conference, there was an explicit plan to reduce the use of coal – which is responsible for 40% of annual CO2 emissions.
  • However, countries only agreed on a weaker commitment to “phase down” rather than “phase out” coal after a late intervention by China and India.
  • The agreement pledged to significantly increase money to help poor countries cope with the effects of climate change and make the switch to clean energy.
  • World leaders agreed to phase-out subsidies that artificially lower the price of coal, oil, or natural gas.
  • The world’s biggest CO2 emitters, the US and China, pledged to cooperate more over the next decade in areas including methane emissions and the switch to clean energy.
  • Leaders from more than 100 countries – with about 85% of the world’s forests – promised to stop deforestation by 2030.
  • A scheme to cut 30% of methane emissions by 2030 was agreed upon by more than 100 countries.
  • Financial organisations controlling $130tn agreed to back “clean” technology, such as renewable energy, and direct finance away from fossil fuel-burning industries.
  • The goal is to keep cutting emissions until they reach net-zero by mid-century.

If all countries have to achieve this goal, all citizens have to be a part of it. Spread the word to save the world.

References:

  1. https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/
  2. https://www.rotary.org/en/our-causes/protecting-environment
  3. https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-56901261.amp

Penned by Rtr. Abilaash Vijeyakumaran in collaboration with the District Editorial Team

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