United Nations climate report details environmental disasters by 2040

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The world is now 1°C above pre-industrial levels, and the IPCC stresses the significance of the increase in extreme weather events experienced across the world. The prognosis is dire.

"The longer it takes, the more critical it is to move it forward as much as we can", John Andrews, co-group leader of the Long Island East chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby, said of the urgency to bend the Carbon dioxide emissions curve sharply downward.

U.S President, Donald Trump, does not believe global warming is a big problem, or even a problem at all. Is man-made climate change for real?

The report noted that the temperature change is expected to have widespread and significant negative consequences for human health, disproportionately affecting the poor and disadvantaged.

The US president remains unconvinced that human activity is the cause of climate change.

Sasha Jattansingh is a climate and environment consultant and lecturer at the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business with over ten years' of experience in TT and the Caribbean. It was perhaps fitting, if a little ironic, that on the day the IPCC released its alarming report, William Nordhaus - the first economist to develop a model linking global economy with the climate - was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics along with Paul Romer, an innovation theorist. Indeed, the "Final Government Draft" of the underlying science report, which appears on the IPCC Web site, even cautions the reader, "Do Not Cite, Quote or Distribute". Consider air conditioners. The world now has 1.6 billion airconditioning units, reports the International Energy Agency.

The supposed threat is a 1.5 to 2C increase, but global temperatures were higher than today by at least that much for most of the last 10,000 years. Already, the Arctic rate of warming is higher than normal, that will increase further. By 2040, more species will face extinction, and both flooding and drought will increase varying on geographic location.

The bottom line is that a 2°C rise over pre-industrial levels, as stipulated in the Paris Accord, no longer provides a liveable option for future generations.

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For SIDS, the difference between warming at 1.5 and 2 degrees C is critical, resulting in increased water stress, more intense rainfall during tropical cyclones, and increased exposure to irreversible sea-level rise.

According to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we have about 12 years to fix the damage we've made before it's too late.

In 2014, the town board set a goal of meeting 100 percent of communitywide electricity consumption with renewable sources by 2020 and the equivalent of 100 percent of economywide energy consumption with renewables by 2030.

Government promised to add 10percent of renewable energy in our energy mix by end of 2030, an effort which the ruling NPP government, then in opposition promised in their 2016 Manifesto to review the Renewable Energy Act, 2011 (Act 832) to attract private sector participation in the production and utilization of renewable energy in Ghana.

While it is tackling the energy mix, the Government also needs to put in place policy for a more energy efficient future, in terms of consumption.

There is a window of opportunity of about a decade for India, and the rest of the world, to take some drastic action. In India, highly-populated cities would become uninhabitably hot, and there would be 32 times as many extreme heat waves, each lasting five times as long and exposing, in total, 93 times more people. Reasons were numerous, starting with the traditional reluctance of the US to have things imposed from the outside, the fact that the Clinton administration could not secure a two-thirds majority in the Senate, and because the American main negotiator, Vice-President Al Gore, had pushed for an even greater reduction effort than the one initially envisioned - going from -5% to -7%. The officials he has appointed to the Environmental Protection Agency and other relevant parts of government are industry cronies and lobbyists far more interested in self-enrichment, padding their accounts, and helping their once-and-future employers than in doing their current jobs.

Harini Calamur writes on politics, gender and her areas of interest are the intersection of technology, media, and audiences.

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