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What is the climate crisis/Global warming/Effects/Steps to be taken/Global Achievements

The 2040 climate crisis is the latest and most alarming UN forecast for the planet, considering the effects of global warming .

A recent report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns of the likely risks of an unprecedented climate crisis.

According to scientists, if greenhouse gas emissions are maintained at current levels, the atmosphere will warm 1.5°C  above pre-industrial levels by 2040.

The consequences can be devastating for humanity, including rising sea levels and flooding coastal areas, intensifying droughts, loss of natural habitats and species.

This will impact health, food security and economic growth.

The unprecedented increase in the planet’s average temperature demands a gigantic joint effort so that its impacts are overcome through mitigation actions – reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

A recent report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the UN’s climate arm, highlights that the period between 2015 and 2019 corresponds to the five warmest years in history .

Although temperature records , and alarming predictions for the future, the matter is not new.

The seed of the crisis is related to the industrialization process, which scientists estimate had started around 1850, with the increase in anthropogenic (man-made) emissions of greenhouse gases, especially CO2.

Therefore, the situation today is one of the most worrying.

To get a better idea about it, even if environmental treaties began to be strictly enforced, the consequences of global warming would still be felt for years to come.

The IPCC estimates that 30% of the carbon emitted into the atmosphere takes millions of years to dissipate into the atmosphere, 40% hundreds of years, and 30% up to 30 years.

In other words, if humanity were to reduce its emissions to zero today, the average temperature of the planet would continue to rise.

Therefore, we invite you to better understand the context behind the climate crisis.

What Is The Climate Crisis?

It is conventional to call the climate crisis the signs of global climate change due to the accumulation of CO2 and other gases that lead to the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere.

It is important to say that the greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon and necessary to maintain the earth’s temperature at habitable levels. The problem lies in the concentration of gases, emitted through human intervention, which gives rise to what is conventionally called global warming.

As time passes, this accumulation tends to increase, forming a “blanket” that raises temperatures on a global scale.

From this, we have a whole series of developments and the most catastrophic effects for life on Earth, such as the acceleration of the melting of the polar ice caps and the rise in sea level.

As for the IPCC’s forecast of the announced climate crisis before 2040, rising sea levels in several locations will cause coastal regions to disappear , which will be irreparably flooded.

Global Warming

Certainly, there are several environmental problems to be addressed, such as the management of urban solid waste and the lack of basic sanitation that leads to the contamination of the waters of the seas, rivers and lagoons.

However, global warming is a priority topic that we want to address in this article.

It is not by chance that the problem demanded the creation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988 from the United Nations (UN) .

Yes, you did not read it wrong. It was in 1988, really.

The role of the IPCC is not to carry out new research, but to synthesize the results of the most relevant, peer-reviewed studies already published in international scientific journals.

IPCC scientists synthesize the information in reports aimed specifically at policymakers in the 192 signatory countries of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

In the IPCC there are three groups of action with different focus: climate, impacts of climate change and possible solutions and economic and social dimensions of the effects of climate change.

For over 30 years,  the issue of warming has been discussed by scientists, governments and societies, being the focus of scientific studies and research.

Climate Crisis 2040

In October 2018, the IPCC released a report in which 191 scientists from 40 countries dedicated themselves to consolidating the results of more than 6,000 peer -reviewed articles published in international scientific journals on the topic of global warming.

The conclusion was that the climate crisis will reach a point where food security and forest fires are expected to worsen as early as 2040.

In addition, there is likely to be a massive coral reef die-off across the planet.

Corals are a marine ecosystem with vital importance for the balance of life , as they are a kind of “tropical forest” of the oceans, providing shelter and food for many fish, functioning as a water filter, and protecting the coasts.

Risks and consequences of warming above 1.5 degrees Celsius according to the IPCC report:

  • The loss of territories will generate a wave of climate refugees
  • More frequent fires, droughts and floods will destroy regions of the planet and intensify poverty
  • With higher temperatures, vectors of tropical diseases will advance
  • Insects, essential for pollination , will be twice as likely to lose their habitats
  • Impact on agriculture, putting food security at risk
  • Profound consequences for the health and well-being of Humanity
  • Ecosystems and biodiversity at risk

Is The Climate Crisis Irreversible?

According to physicist Bill Hare , from Climate Analytics and author of several studies for the IPCC, the new report is a big shock .

According to the scientist, it brings data unknown to the scientific community for a few years.

That is, it is a study that took even researchers by surprise .

The most alarming conclusion reached is that, at the current rate of carbon emission, the temperature on Earth will increase by 1.5º by 2040.

The novelty is that, before, it was believed that the world catastrophe would only happen if the increase in temperature reached 2 degrees.

However, there is still time to avoid the worst .

For scientists, it is possible to promote the essential changes to reverse the escalation of warming, at least in the technical and practical part.

It is still possible to minimize climate catastrophe , but rapid and unprecedented changes are needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to the pre-industrial period.

To avoid this scenario, human emissions of carbon dioxide will have to fall by 45% by 2030, from 2010 levels, and to zero by 2050.

41 billion tons of CO2 are emitted in the world annually

The IPCC report estimates a cost of probable damage of US$54 trillion if the global average temperature rises above 1.5 by 2050

The big obstacle, however, is in politics.

As an example, it is worth remembering that the United States, the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has been rejecting several points of international climate agreement, which includes its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement .

What Needs To Be Done

According to the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C, the world urgently needs to implement:

  • Deep cuts in CO2 emissions
  • Radical change in energy sources and land use
  • Development of technologies capable of removing CO2 from the atmosphere
  • Transformations in cities and industries, as well as reviewing production systems with a focus on low carbon
  • Radical changes in the lifestyle of populations (food consumption and waste, clean transport)

Another scientist who participated in the IPCC special report , Jim Skea , says it is possible, under the laws of physics and chemistry, to limit warming to 1.5 degrees by 2040 .

However, this would require, according to Skea, unprecedented changes, that is, possible in theory, but extremely difficult in practice.

Among these measures, renewable sources , such as wind power, would have to produce, by 2035, 85% of the electricity consumed on the planet.

Such a measure would generate a cost of about 2.4 trillion dollars .

In addition to the UN, other bodies are involved in monitoring and controlling climate change, such as the North American Space Agency, NASA.

According to her, since 1880, the sea level has risen by 20 centimeters .

Also according to NASA, the acidity of sea water has risen by 30% since the second half of the 19th century.

This means that if nothing is done, by 2100 the sea level will rise another 10 centimeters.

The Special Report on Climate Change, Oceans and the Cryosphere, released in September 2019, is more alarming.

Considering that carbon emissions will not decrease but continue to increase, the level could rise by more than one meter .

Paris Agreement

At the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) of the UNFCCC, in Paris, held in 2015, a very significant agreement was adopted to try to deal with the consequences of climate change.

The so-called Paris Agreement was approved by the 195 countries that are part of the UNFCCC to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the context of sustainable development.

In this agreement, each country committed itself to voluntary targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, among other adaptation and mitigation measures.

In 2016, these targets were approved by the signatory countries and became official commitments, thus ratifying the Paris Agreement.

 Commitment to the following goals in the Paris Agreement:

  • Reduce emissions by 37% below 2005 levels by 2025 and 43% below 2005 levels by 2030
  • Increase the share of sustainable bioenergy in its energy mix to approximately 18% by 2030
  • Zero illegal deforestation in the Amazon by 2030
  • Restore and reforest 12 million hectares of forests by 2030
  • Recover 15 million hectares of degraded pastures
  • Achieve a 45% share of renewable energies in the composition of the energy matrix in 2030
  • Expand the use of renewable sources, in addition to hydropower, in the total energy mix to a share of 28% to 33% by 2030

Effects Of The Climate Crisis

The ongoing climate crisis, as we have seen, has a high potential to impact humanity as we know it in the short term.

What is at stake at the extreme level is humanity’s permanence on Earth. The planet will adapt to any crisis.

Therefore, we highlight those that demand more urgency and attention to be minimized.

Sea ​​Level Rise

The most immediate side effect of rising temperatures is rising sea levels.

Higher than normal tides pose a serious threat to the lives of people living in coastal regions .

On this issue, studies point to an increase of almost one meter by 2100, if measures to reduce the greenhouse effect are not effective enough.

This increase, in turn, is caused by the melting of the polar ice caps and also of the ice in Greenland .

Arctic Ice

In 2018, a photo published by Danish researcher Steffen Olsen further alarmed the scientific community and people concerned about global warming.

It looks like a trick of illusion, but in fact it is more proof that the melting of ice in the Arctic and in Greenland continues at a fast pace.

In the image, the sled pulled by dogs “walks” on the water surface formed by the surface of the rapidly melting ice.

The ice liquefaction process has been monitored by NASA since 1979, which has been recording increasingly worrying rates in this indicator.

After all, the more ice that melts, the faster the sea level rises .

What Do We Need To Do To Fight The Climate Crisis?

Although the 1.5º rise poses a threat, at the current juncture, it is already a huge challenge to stop warming at this temperature by 2040.

The IPCC special report presented a summary for policy makers with measures that could be adopted now to contain the rise in temperatures .

See below some of these measures, according to the impacts generated by key segments in the context of global warming.

Energy

The energy sector, with its coal-fired power plants , is a major emitter of carbon dioxide.

In addition to power plants, the burning of fossil fuels obtained from oil refining is also a source of emissions.

In that sense, the number one containment measure is to abolish coal burning . In recent years, a large drop in this energy source has been observed in several countries.

Today, coalitions form such as the Powering Past Coal Alliance , which brings together national and subnational governments, companies and organizations working to advance the transition from coal power generation to clean energy.

Germany, for example, has set a goal that by 2038 it will stop producing energy from coal.

Industry

In this segment, the negative highlight goes to the steel industry , which, in turn, can significantly reduce its CO2 emissions by replacing blast furnaces.

Thus, the common blast furnaces would leave the scene to give way to electric arc furnaces.

In the United States, for example, between 1991 and 2010, the use of this type of equipment increased by 23 percentage points.

As for fuels , the industry can replace coal with materials whose burning generates less carbon dioxide such as biomass or hydrogen.

Transport

Land, sea and air vehicles are responsible for 14% of greenhouse gas emissions , according to a report presented at the 24th United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP 24).

In this way, containment measures in this sector begin with the construction of lighter vehicles , made of materials that reduce energy demand.

Some of these improvements are already in use, such as electronic fuel injection and the use of carbon fiber in body construction .

However, nothing would be more effective than changing the fuel source , moving from fossils to electricity.

The IPCC special report brought several figures that would help achieve the desired targets and limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

For example, if 70% of vehicles were powered by electricity by 2050 , 8% of current emissions would be eliminated.

Buildings

The civil construction sector and the use of buildings itself is a major emitter of carbon dioxide today.

In buildings, these emissions are largely generated by their heating and cooling systems .

To improve in this regard, buildings would have to invest in retrofit processes , which basically consist of changing their energy-consuming systems.

An example of this is the houses and buildings that invest in LED lighting, solar heaters and thermally insulated ceilings.

An advantage of this model is that, in addition to reducing emissions, they provide cheaper water and electricity bills.

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