For this week's blog content, I wanted to focus on a few brief points regarding climate change. “The world may already be nearing a temperature at which the loss of the vast ice sheet covering Greenland would become inevitable….The actual melting would then take centuries, but it would be unstoppable and could result in a sea level rise of 23 feet” (Gillis, 2014).
© Russell Huff and Konrad Steffen
According to a new U.N. draft report, drafted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reduction in snow and ice, and in global mean-sea-level rise; and it is extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century,” content stated by the drafted report. (Gillis, 2014).
Despite of all the social/political contradictions regarding this topic, fact of the matter is, our present world is in bad shape, and we must provide sustainable solutions to the man-made problems that we have created.
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“Using blunter, more forceful language than the reports that underpin it, the new draft highlights the urgency of the risks that are likely to be intensified by continued emissions of heat-trapping gases, primarily carbon dioxide released by the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas” (Gillis, 2014). Please note the following illustration of the carbon cycle, mainly responsible for the current rise in global temperatures.
Although companies and governments have recognized reserves of these fuels “least four times larger than could safely be burned if global warming is to be kept to a tolerable level. That means if society wants to limit the risks to future generations, it must find the discipline to leave a vast majority of these valuable fuels in the ground, the report said” (Gillis, 2014).
Despite of the consistent data findings, we are still witnessing increased global emissions. “From 1970 to 2000, global emissions of greenhouse gases grew at 1.3 percent a year. But from 2000 to 2010, that rate jumped to 2.2 percent a year, the report found, and the pace seems to be accelerating further in this decade” (Gillis, 2014). When will our political and social leaders notice the devastating data provided by the scientific community regarding our atmosphere, and the current reality caused by our ‘consumer’ world?
The report indicates that there is a significant decrease in emissions, as the western nations surge their focus on efficiency and the extent of lower-emitting sources of electricity. “But the declines are not yet sufficient to offset rising emissions in developing countries, many of whose governments are focused on pulling their people out of poverty “(Gillis, 2014). In other words, we must find methods to bring the developing nations to a basic standard of living, while globally mediating current carbon regulations and practices for the betterment of a healthy Earth.
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According to the drafted report, continued warming, “is likely to “slow down economic growth, make poverty reduction more difficult, further erode food security, and prolong existing poverty traps and create new ones, the latter particularly in urban areas and emerging hot spots of hunger" (Gillis, 2014).
I hope that you take a moment and reflect on the importance of this global issue, in hopes that you will take responsibility on the individual level and become a part of sustainable living.
Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Gillis, Justin. "U.N. Draft Report Lists Unchecked Emissions’ Risks." The New York Times. The New York Times, 26 Aug. 2014. Web. 02 Sept. 2014.