Why immediate action is necessary in regards to climate change

Image Source - Environmental Defense Fund

Image Source – Environmental Defense Fund

Julia Noak, Opinions Writer

The state of disarray our planet’s climate is in is worse than many believe is even imaginable. The speed at which our ozone layer deteriorates and the arctic glaciers dethaw is not strictly a matter of rises in sea levels and coastlines, given that a majority of people live in unknowingness and hide behind the reliable shield called wealth against the urgency of the situation at hand, perhaps in hopes of the situation meddling itself out, or rather in hopes that someone else will do something about it for them.

   The situation ravages and gnaws at our planet while top corporations and governments sit on their hands whilst letting the burning of their fossil fuel subsidies and environmentally damaging plastics worsen the situation that they have all of the possibilities to help save.

   Even with the recent release of a 40-page document organized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) deliberately labeling the climate crisis a code red, leaders with the power to uphold their promises still fail to do so.

   The special report collectively made by the IPCC is divided into two major sections, the first being based upon what we as a whole already know: the effects of greenhouse gases, damages of fossil fuels, etc. The second half is slightly different in which numerous possible outcomes for our planet are given if we as a society truly start doubling down upon this predicament. Now understand that a 2℃ increase in climate eradicates 25% biodiversity globally.

   Moving back to the matter of scenarios, our best possible outcome is placed at a 1.5℃ raise in temperature, still leaving us with a whopping 15% eradication of biodiversity and our worst possible outcome leaving us with a brutal 4.4℃ increase in temperature, demolishing our ecosystems and over 60% of biodiversity. For a reference of the

Image Source – Environmental Defense Fund

effects verified through scientific research, as a result of hitting the mark of 3.2℃ of warming would, with time, flood hundreds of major and minor cities. At approximately 2℃, the collapse of the ice sheets would bring about a much more rapid cessation of carbon emissions, the heat waves growing in temperature and running the risk of being lethal, and worse. The escalation in global damages simultaneously grows with the slow and pernicious rise in heat. At 4℃, damages worldwide could pass $600 trillion, with elongated and even permanent droughts, destruction from wildfires growing twofold, and a displacement of thousands.

   The list of the possible devastations as a result of mankind’s foolish behavior goes further than what has been stated and looms and lurks closer and closer, posing almost as a barometer, with destruction growing in equivalence with the ignorant actions of big corporations and broken promises of government officials. Even hitting our Paris emission goal, set a few years back, still leaves our society running the risk of lush and tropical environments turning into deserts ravaged with fire.

   Despite these possibilities being as terrifying as they are, there is no reason to dismiss the worst or best case scenario, given that such dismissal distorts our senses of likelier outcomes which leads to the labeling of extreme scenarios as outlandish and that we should not plan conscientiously for.

   However, as the growing support for action on climate change occurs, top corporations need to either get on board, take accountability, and truly change for the better or they can get out of the way. This crisis is not something that can be viewed as a quick fix, everyone needs to take part.

   Get familiar with your local representatives and write them letters, research and boycott companies that actively harm the environment, and research some more on how you can help. This is not a one-person job, so do your part.