There has been a lot said about what the ‘tipping point’ is for climate change, with most scientists generally agreeing will need to stay under a 2℃ increase by 2030 to avoid basically triggering the apocalypse. So is humanity doomed? Are we going to drive ourselves into early extinction because we just can’t get it together to implement proper climate change policy?
Doomed is probably an overstatement. That’s not to say that global warming isn’t going to have a huge and devastating impact though – we can expect heat waves, droughts, storms, fires and mass extinction events to be on the rise even in the next decade but we shouldn’t give up just yet and accept our defeat at the hands of a quickly warming climate.
Right now the globe is around 1.2℃ warmer than it was during the industrial revolution and we’re already seeing the consequences, with increased extreme weather events around the world and the mass bleaching of coral such as we’re seeing take place on the Great Barrier Reef. Scientists have forecast the consequences of what will happen if we reach 1.5℃ but this requires a reduction of global emissions by 7.6% per year – it’s doable. The world is making moves in the right areas with investment into solar and wind technology and taking the right political steps to reduce emissions.
Ireland, which has similar emissions to New Zealand are aiming for a reduction of half of their emissions by 2030 but there’s a good chance we won’t stay below 1.5℃, so what will the world look like? A 2℃ increase would mean the loss of 90% of coral reefs, mass extinctions and hotter days, rising sea levels and mass migrations but in all likelihood it would not mean an apocalyptic scenario for humans, just a significantly worse off earth – a bad enough outcome and reason enough to prioritise climate change policies and measures.