Window of opportunity to stop climate change closing rapidly
The latest UN update on weather extremes is dire, but there is still some hope says Midlands green expert Ron Fox.
“However, inaction is not an option because the window of opportunity is rapidly closing to minimise the catastrophic consequences of these changes,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd.
The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), based on 34,000 scientific papers and written by 270 scientists from 67 countries, says the problems are causing “cascading impacts that are increasingly difficult to manage.”
The IPCC document is the second of three reviews from the world’s foremost body of climate researchers. Last August the first instalment highlighted the scale of the effect that humans were having on the climate system, while this second one looks at the causes, impacts and solutions to climate change.
It gives the clearest indication yet how a warmer world is affecting all the living things on Earth.
It says that three billion people are highly vulnerable to extreme heatwaves, floods, droughts and wildfires.
This is causing mental health problems, heart and breathing problems, while cholera is becoming more common and spreading.
Also, the extreme heat and weather is driving plants and animals on land and in the sea towards the poles, to higher altitudes and into deeper ocean waters.
The scientists says the problem areas are west, central and east Africa, south Asia, and central and South America, plus many small island states. They added that 15 times more people died from floods, storms and droughts in these areas between 2010 and 2020 compared to other regions.
At the world climate conference in Scotland in November last year countries renewed their commitment to limiting global warming to 1.5C. But even with that temperature rise, between 70 and 90 per cent of reef-building corals will be lost and eight per cent of farmland will become climatically unsuitable by 2100.
But Ron said the reports offers some hope that the risks can be reduced substantially by taking urgent action on harmful CO2 emissions and helping communities become more resilient to extreme weather.
He also pointed out that the UK had an important role because it still holds the presidency of the UN climate talks and is trying to persuade large polluters, such as China, to increase their emissions targets this year.
“It was also encouraging to see the report praise the influences of young campaigners which has led to ‘a rising wave of public global awareness’, added Ron on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park in North Staffordshire.
“However, all these problems must be solved by governments of the main industrial nations,” said Ron.
“But there is one move that can and must be done by individuals, and that is improving the efficiency of their homes.
“That means switching to using green energy and ensuring they have better insulation, which has the added benefit of saving up to 45 per cent on energy bills as well as helping save the planet.”
For those wanting more advice on green energy call Ron on 0845 474 6641.
Caption: Climate change is leading to more floods as this pictures shows of the River Severn breaking its banks in Worcester.