The latest UN report states that even if all existing government carbon-cutting policies are implemented, the planet will still warm by 3.2C in this century. According to the lead study author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Heleen De Coninck, we have reached that now-or-never point of needing to limit global warming at 1.5C.
Otherwise, if the planet reaches the 3.2C rise in temperature, the planet will be hit with out-of-the-ordinary heatwaves, widespread water shortages and terrifying storms. This is why there must be immediate and deep cuts in CO2 emissions.
Ms. De Coninck, who is a Professor at Eindhoven University of Technology’s Socio-Technical Innovation and Climate Change told BBC News that what we need to do is to reach the highest point of our greenhouse gas emissions before year 2025, and reduce them quite rapidly from then on. She added that actions would include carbon dioxide removal to achieve negative emissions in the second half of the century, to limit the planet’s warming temperature to 1.5C.
However, to keep temperatures down and stay under 1.5C, there must be massive changes in energy production, in the transport industry, in consumption patterns and in the way humans treat nature.
Need for Infrastructure and Policies for Implementing Lifestyle Changes
The good news is that over the past decades, the cost of solar panel and wind turbines have dropped by as much as 85%. There is no reason why there should be new fossil fuel developments, as we need to close all coal and gas plants as early as possible.
Priyadarshi Shukla, the Co-chair.at IPCC said we also need to change diets and lifestyles as doing so will equate to huge major carbon savings. Putting in place the right infrastructures technologies and policies that will enable changes in behavior and lifestyle can yield greenhouse gas reductions of about 40 to 70% by year 2050.
Moreover, Mr. Shukla, who specializes in environment and energy modeling, said that this line of climate change actions offers significant potential, inasmuch as lifestyle changes will improve health and wellbeing. Governments can do more by encouraging people to eat healthy, put in place infrastructures that will encourage walking or use of electric vehicles.
Carbon dioxide removal on the other hand, can be achieved by planting more trees and improving farming ptactices that will absorb CO2 from the atmosphere.