The latest report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was released on Monday. It is a nearly 4,000-page report which was approved by 195 governments, based on more than 14,000 studies, and written by almost 250 authors.
It is the first in a series leading up to the 2022 IPCC Sixth Assessment Report and “is the most comprehensive summary to date of the physical science of climate change,” says The New York Times.
Here are 3 takeaways from the report, including what you can do to help stop climate change.
Humans Are Responsible
The report states that “it is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean, and land.” This report is the sixth of its kind, and contrary to past reports, this one states without hesitancy that human activity is responsible for the changes we’re observing.
Humans have already heated the planet by approximately 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the 19th century, mostly by burning oil, coal, and gas for energy use.
Even if everyone began suddenly lowering carbon emissions with great intensity, the temperature will still rise about 1.5 degrees Celsius within two decades. With the right immediate actions, we could halt the warming to 1.5 degrees, but if not, it could continue to rise, even up to 4 or 6 degrees, which would be absolutely dire.
According to The New York Times, the 10 biggest emitters of greenhouse gases are currently China, the United States, the European Union, India, Russia, Japan, Brazil, Indonesia, Iran, and Canada.
We’re Breaking Records
“There’s no going back from some changes in the climate system,” says Ko Barrett, a vice-chair of the panel and a senior adviser for climate at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
We’re already experiencing increased heat waves in the U.S. and Canada, severe floods in China, and deadly wildfires in Greece, just to name a few of the many catastrophic consequences seen all over the world.
We’re breaking records and these are not the kind of records we want to be known for breaking.
- The last decade is likely the hottest the planet has been in 125,000 years
- The world’s glaciers are melting and receding at a rate unprecedented in at least the last 2,000 years
- Atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide have not been this high in at least 2 million years
- Ocean levels have risen 8 inches on average over the past century and the rate of increase has doubled since 2006
- Heat waves have become significantly hotter since 1950 and last longer
- Bursts of extreme heat in the ocean, killing fish and coral reefs, have doubled in frequency since the 1980s
We Have a Chance to Stop It
There are five climate futures spoken about in the report, depending on what actions are taken to reduce carbon emissions. The world will reach the 1.5 degree increase in all of them, but what happens beyond that is up to us.
According to The New York Times, “the report shows that aggressive, rapid, and widespread emissions cuts, beginning now, could limit the warming beyond 2050. In the most optimistic scenario, reaching ‘net zero’ emissions could even bring warming back slightly under 1.5 degrees Celsius in the second half of the century.”
While we can’t do it all by ourselves, we can all do our part and participate in the fight against climate change. According to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), here are 12 ways you can stop global warming:
- Speak up to your friends and your lawmakers about climate change
- Power your home with renewable energy like solar or wind
- Air seal and insulate your home with available incentives
- Invest in energy-efficient appliances with big rebates
- Reduce water waste
- Eat the food you buy and make less meat
- Use LED light bulbs in your home
- Unplug your devices or use an advanced power strip
- Drive a fuel-efficient vehicle
- Get a tune-up for your car
- Re-think your modes of transportation such as airplanes
- Shrink your carbon profile
At HomeWorks Energy, it’s our mission to help our Massachusetts neighbors reduce home energy use, save money on monthly energy costs, and lower their carbon footprints. We’re your one-stop-energy-efficiency-stop and we offer a Home Energy Assessment that can get you 100% off air sealing, 75% or more off approved insulation, big rebates on energy-efficient HVAC systems, and no-cost advanced power strips, LED light bulbs, and water saving devices.
If you need a place to start, call us at (781) 305-3319 to sign up for a Home Energy Assessment or click here to schedule online. It comes with amazing benefits and it’s at no cost to you!
Together we can take care of our planet and plan for a bright future.
The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/09/climate/climate-change-report-ipcc-un.html
The United Nations: https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/reports
The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/09/climate/un-climate-report-takeaways.html