The Heat is On
Taking Stock of Global Climate Ambition
Responding to the defining issue of our time
Climate change is here. It’s causing heatwaves, floods, wildfires and droughts, and contributing to the extinction of animals and plants. It’s melting glaciers and raising sea levels. Costs from extreme weather are surging—the global reinsurer Munich Re says 2017 was the most expensive ever; hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria helped push losses to a staggering US$330 billion. The cascading effects of climate change are disrupting national economies and affecting lives of millions of people.
Worse still, those whom are the least responsible and the least able to cope with the effects of climate change are the ones suffering the most; often being forced to leave their homes and even their countries. Poor women and children are especially vulnerable.
A major concern is that the greenhouse gases responsible for climate change, which are already at record highs, are set to keep rising. If the world doesn’t act decisively and quickly to reverse this trend, we run the risk of dangerously high temperatures and escalating costs. In an important scientific report released last year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, it became clear that we should do everything possible to try to limit global warming to 1.5℃, or below. The only way to do that is to stop the rise in greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, and then make deep cuts to become carbon-neutral by 2050. It won’t be easy, but scientists say that it is possible--and that each degree matters, each year matters, and each decision matters. Millions of lives are in the balance.