What we know about climate change in 2018

Climate Change

If you’ve been reading the news at all over the past few months, you’d know that climate change has become a hot topic – literally – the world over. And for good reason, too.

In 2018, global greenhouse-gas emissions reached a record high, and the United Nations released a landmark report saying that nations around the world need to take unprecedented actions to cut their carbon emissions over the next decade.

The funny thing is that this record high was quite unanticipated. Emissions remained largely flat between 2014 and 2016, giving people hope that maybe – just maybe – climate change was no longer a threat. But global emissions grew 1.6 percent in 2017, and it’s an estimated 2.7 percent rise in 2018.

America’s own government report stated that climate change could cost the United States hundreds of billions of dollars annually, and have devastating effects on its citizens’ health.

The problem, however, is that the US, which is the world’s second-largest emitter of CO2, has given up on climate change measures as a nation. Or, rather, its President has given up on the idea that climate change is a real phenomenon. When asked about climate change and the effect it may have on the economy, Donald Trump said, “I don’t believe it.” The Trump administration is now following a pro-fossil fuels agenda. The President had announced earlier that the US would withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement. Under this agreement, the 187 member countries commit to keeping rising global temperatures under check.

This climate threat is so great that there is a very huge chance we may not be able to recover from it. According to a report released in October by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, fighting climate change is going to be very costly for the world. Global emissions of CO2 will have to be reduced by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030. Coal usage would have to be cut down to almost zero. Researchers have warned that if we fail to act, the Earth might not be a habitable place for very long. Rising sea levels, detrimental effects on ocean temperatures and acidity, and a risk in our ability to grow staple crops are some of the few results of not acting on climate change.

It makes so much sense for us, as the people of Earth, to take action now instead of waiting for the whole world to declare a state of emergency. We must combat climate change now before it’s too late.