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Existential Threat of Climate Change

Existential Threat of Climate Change

Addressing the existential threat of climate change necessitates global cooperation among nations. Since Climate change poses an existential threat with the potential to cause untold destruction. Global nations must work together to reduce rising temperatures.

Overview of the Climate Crisis:

Climate change stands as the defining crisis of our era, with its devastating consequences felt worldwide. Rising temperatures contribute to environmental degradation, natural calamities, extreme weather events, food and water insecurities, economic disruptions, conflicts, and even terrorism. The impact includes rising sea levels, Arctic melting, dying coral reefs, ocean acidification, and rampant forest fires.

Read Also: Key Biodiversity Areas

Escalating Global Temperatures:

The accelerated melting of glaciers and ice sheets in polar and mountainous regions is causing a rise in sea levels. Almost two-thirds of cities worldwide with populations over five million reside in areas vulnerable to sea-level rise, while nearly 40% of the global population lives within 100 km of a coastline.

Reports from the UNEP Emission Gap indicate that nations are veering toward a ‘business as usual’ trajectory, resulting in billions of tons of CO2 emissions annually due to coal, oil, and gas production. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) warns that global temperatures are at least 1°C above pre-industrial levels, posing ‘unacceptable risks.’ The Paris Agreement emphasizes the need to cap warming ‘well below’ 2°C and strive for a limit of 1.5°C. Failing to curb emissions could elevate temperatures beyond 3°C by 2100, causing irreversible ecological damage.

Food and Water Insecurity:

Climate change directly impacts global food and water security by contributing to soil degradation, limiting carbon containment in the earth. Around 500 million people live in erosion-affected areas, and up to 30% of food is lost or wasted due to climate-related factors. Moreover, climate change diminishes water availability and quality, impacting drinking water and agriculture.

Emergence of New Extremes:

Extreme weather-related disasters, such as heatwaves, droughts, typhoons, and hurricanes, are intensifying as the planet warms. These events, affecting all continents, cause massive destruction globally, costing around 520 billion USD annually and pushing 26 million people into poverty.

A Driver of Conflict:

Climate change heightens competition for resources like land, food, and water, leading to socio-economic tensions and mass displacement. The World Bank estimates that over 140 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and South Asia will face regional migration by 2050 due to climate impacts.

Present Scenario:

International conflicts like the Israel-Palestine conflict underscore the limitations of the UN in addressing such challenges. The geopolitical tensions between the West and East (US vs. China) could worsen the fight against climate change. China, now the largest annual emitter of greenhouse gases, is projected to match the US in per capita emissions and carbon budget share by 2030.

The Path Ahead:

While climate change is an undeniable reality, it’s not too late to reverse course. Transformations in society’s fabric—how we produce food, use land, transport goods, and power our economies—are crucial. Technology has played a role in contributing to climate change. However, innovative and efficient technologies present opportunities to decrease net emissions and promote a cleaner world. Meanwhile, nature-based solutions such as enhanced agricultural practices, land restoration, conservation efforts, and sustainable food supply chains offer immediate relief. These methods help reduce our carbon footprint. They also support essential ecosystem services, biodiversity, access to clean water, livelihoods, healthy diets, and food security.

Read Also: How do Extra Tropical Differs from Tropical Cyclones

Down to Earth Summary (15-30 November 2023)

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