Humanity has 2.5 years to bend the carbon curve

Monday, April 04, 2022

In the latest global climate report, scientists tell us to get our act together — now. 

That’s more or less the key message from the nearly 3,000 page document titled Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change. We know what the problem is. We know how to solve it. We know how much better off we’ll be if we do. Yet we’re still not doing enough to slow and halt global warming.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the closest thing we have to a planetary leader, had a message for all the Canadian politicians who want to continue to grow oil and gas production. That list includes BC Premier John Horgan as much as Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. 

"Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals, but the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels," Guterres said. "Investing in new fossil fuels infrastructure is moral and economic madness."

We have until 2025

One of the most glaring points in the report: the world has until 2025 to stop adding more carbon pollution to the atmosphere year after year. That’s if we want to avert the worst impacts of climate change. 

That will require a societal realignment on an unprecedented scale. However, there are at least 18 countries where emissions have fallen over the last decade so it can be done. Wealthy nations and people need to step up, though, with the richest tenth of households currently responsible for 36 to 45 per cent of global carbon pollution. 

Follow the money

Much of the report focused on financial flows. Both continued fossil fuel funding and insufficient money for climate solutions are holding the world back. Countries and international development banks are still investing in new coal power plants, oil pipelines and liquefied natural gas terminals. Ending fossil fuel subsidies would cut global emissions 10 per cent by 2030.

What can cities do?

Immediate action to reduce carbon pollution is necessary in cities, which contribute 62 to 72 per cent of total emissions. Compact land use and relying less on vehicles could eliminate a quarter of transportation fuel use. Cities can also prioritize electrification and spark demand for renewable energy.

Nature is key

Nature also features prominently in the report, highlighting the need to protect and restore forests and wetlands with the guidance and consent of Indigenous Peoples and local communities. Together with better agricultural practices, changes in land use can contribute 20 to 30 per cent of needed emissions reductions before 2030. 

We can do this

What people need to take away from today’s report, in my opinion, is that we can do this. It is absolutely possible and necessary to avert climate catastrophe. While we already face destructive, deadly climate disasters, if all nations make decisive, immediate efforts to slash carbon pollution, we can still limit global warming to “safe” levels. 

We’ve got everything we need to meet this challenge. It’s simply a matter of making the choice to give it all we’ve got

Fancy meeting you here at the end of this article! Care to hang out together for a few more sentences?

The campaign you just read about is one of about 20 we’re actively working on at any given time. And the person who wrote this article is the same campaigner who’s asking you to take action, who’s calling on our legislators to make changes and who’s in the field to bring you photos, videos and stories documenting this issue.

Did you notice how we’re a bit distinct, that we’re not afraid to call out the industries or governments that threaten what’s wild? Unlike other groups, we’re almost 100 per cent* “people powered.” Individuals like you who care give what they can, when they can. No corporate or government funding restricts our strategies, our actions or our voice. That’s how we stay a lean, nimble and unequivocally relentless voice for wilderness, wildlife and the climate. That’s why we’d love it if you’d consider joining us by making a monthly donation to the Wilderness Committee today.

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