Global efforts to combat climate change (Part II)

(Trump’s departure) doesn’t change the bigger picture: the moral, political, and economic incentives all seem to be aligning in favor of staying with the Paris agreement… It would be a morally criminal act for the world not to do its part.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi

 

By the end of the century, the global temperature is likely to rise by more than two degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. This prediction is based on two different studies published last Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change. If this mark is surpassed, the likely consequences are: a further rise in sea levels thereby threatening coastal cities such as Miami and New York; mass extinctions of plant and animal species; super droughts; increased wildfires; intense hurricanes; decreased crops and fresh water; and further melting of the ice in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Rising temperatures and shifts in weather patterns would lead to reduced air quality, food and water contamination, more infections carried by mosquitoes and ticks, and stress on mental health, according to a recent report from the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health.

The World Health Organization estimates that: 12.6 million people die globally due to pollution, extreme weather and climate-related disease; and climate change between 2030 and 2050 will cause 250,000 additional global deaths. Another recent study indicated that by the end of the century, it would be fatal to go outside in some parts of the world because of soaring temperatures and high levels of humidity. The study identified northern India, Bangladesh and southern Pakistan, the home of 1.5 billion people, as the most vulnerable to these extreme weather conditions.

Scientists and climate change experts have advocated a significant shift away from the use of dirty fossil fuels from crude oil and coal production to clean renewable energy; increased financial incentives to avoid greenhouse gas emissions; and increased funding for research in new technologies to mitigate the impact of climate change. According to Al Gore, the good news is the cost of generating energy from solar, wind and other sources as well as the cost of storing the energy overnight in batteries have decreased dramatically, resulting in lower energy costs compared with those relating to the use of fossil fuels. The United Nations Environment Programme has stated that world greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, are now about 54 billion tons a year and should be cut to 42 billion by 2030 to get on track and stay below 2 degrees Celsius…..