The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) was meeting in Incheon, South Korea last week to discuss if the increase of global temperatures can be kept under 1,5°C and what happens if it cannot. They have been researching and debating about the possible outcomes since August 2016. The IPCC consists of leading scientists from 39 nations, who have been nominated by governments and international institutions (Die Zeit 1, 2018; BBC, 2018).
The planet is already 1°C too warm, which can be seen in the current meteorological phenomena, such as desertification and extreme heat but also ocean acidification, storms and flooding. Many low-lying countries are fearing for their existence, as the next big wave can destroy or even wipe out their living space forever. This also contributes to climate change which consequently contributes to global warming, which in fact would even amplify itself. Once the climate change is well underway, it cannot be reversed. Although it is well-known that greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced drastically globally, the emissions actually climbed to 41 billion tons in 2017. If we continue as before, we will reach a rise in the global temperature by 3°C to 4°C by the end of this century. The chance, that the climate goal won’t be reached are disillusioning 66%. And this is, what all scientists agree on (Die Zeit 1, 2018).
If we are successful and able to limit the rise of the global temperature 1,5°C, the climate change can still be controllable, the scientists agree. However, if we exceed the 2°C- line, irreversible climate change will happen, i.e. nature would release more greenhouse gas emissions than people do through the collapsing carbon storage – the primaeval forests such as the rainforest and the Taiga – and through the melting of the permafrost (Die Zeit 2, 2018)
What can be done about it?
The IPCC suggests that the economy and the society will clash sooner or later, as the majority of people will not tolerate the pure profit thinking of companies and consequently their questionable decisions regarding sustainability anymore (Die Zeit 2, 2018; BBC, 2018). A perfect example of this is (and this makes me incredibly proud) that 50.000 people from Germany, the Netherlands, France etc. came to the Hambach forest on Saturday to protest peacefully for the lignite phase-out and the preservation of the 12.000 years old forest.
Likewise, everyone needs the reconsider their own decisions. The report might be not complete and could cause heavy critiquing, as to which extent policymaker had a word in the report (and changed it to their better) but the world cannot be saved by changing politics – it never could. It needs us, the society to make the first step towards a more sustainable living so that our grandchildren will still have a pleasant time on planet earth.
McGrath, M. (2018) IPCC: Climate Scientists consider ‚life changing‘ report. 1st October. BBC News. [online] [accessed 07.10.2018] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-45653099
Reimer, N. (2018) Nach uns die Sintflut. (après moi, le déluge). 8th October. Die Zeit 2. [online] [accessed 08.10.2018] https://www.zeit.de/wissen/umwelt/2018-10/ipcc-bericht-weltklimarat-klimawandel
Reimer, N. and Lüdemann, D. (2018) Vergesst das Zwei-Grad-Ziel!. (Forget about the 2°C goal). 7th October. Die Zeit 1. [online] [accessed on 07.10.2018] https://www.zeit.de/wissen/umwelt/2018-10/ipcc-bericht-klima-weltklimarat-1-5-grad-erwaermung-suedkorea