Climate change––your typical run of the mill news that everyone is slightly concerned about. Yes, most people know it exists, but the majority of people choose to do nothing about it. I mean, how much damage can a 1˚C increase in temperature do? Quite frankly, a lot.
The 2018 UN Climate Change report emphasized how we only have 12 years to change our habits, or by 2040 the world will go into a state of disaster. This may sound shocking, but our world is already showing some of the side effects of global warming: melting of ice caps, dying coral reefs, rise in sea temperatures and sea levels, rising wildfires, the list goes on an on, and this news is nothing truly new to anyone. We have all known that global warming is a thing and that climate change is happening, but we have chosen to do nothing about it. However, we can change both our habits and our attitudes toward global warming, and here’s how:
On a Large Scale:
In order to prevent this 1˚C rise in temperature, our large-scale greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced drastically––45% lower than the emissions from 2010 by the year 2030 and completely reduced (100%) by 2050. This may sound impossible, but it is doable with the reduction of coal as our energy source. We would need to reduce our coal usage to 1-7% compared to the 40% we rely on it today. Also, our renewable energy sources would have to increase to 67% compared to the 20% they are currently used today. Essentially, we need to eliminate coal from our energy diets.
Granted, there isn’t much we can do at home, but every little bit helps. It is important to focus on your carbon footprint (how much carbon you emit into the air on a day-to-day basis). To reduce this, you can start by traveling less. Traveling is a big contributor to carbon emissions since the majority of vehicles, planes, cars, trains, etc., run off of oil. Granted, sometimes you have to travel far for work and thus need to travel, but using a different mode of traveling, such as a bus or train, can help reduce your carbon footprint.
Inside your home itself, or any building you may be in, try to use less electricity in general. Turn of the lights when you don’t need them, use energy efficient appliances, and avoid using the thermostat as much as possible.
Even your diet can help reduce global warming. Consuming less meat, specifically 30% less meat, can help reduce carbon emissions since the livehouse sector of greenhouse gasses emits 14.5% of greenhouse gasses globally which is more than that of the transport sector.
So why should you care about climate change? Well if it isn’t to preserve the world you live in, do it for your bank account. The damage done by a 1˚C increase in temperature amounts to approximately 54 trillion dollars in damages and only increases from there. As a nation, we do not have the time to squander on this issue; we must act now and make the necessary changes before it is too late and the damages are irreversible.
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