The draft summary of IPCC report on climate change contains dire news about the warming of the planet. It suggests that our planet will warm beyond the key limit and is at very high risk of crossing the 1.5°C mark of temperature rise by the year 2040. According to the report, in some places, the temperature rise has already exceeded by 1.5°C. The warming has occurred more over land than over the oceans and is particularly intense in the Arctic. This effect is already showing as a serious threat to highly sensitive marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs.
The document also notes that the world has 12 to 16 years to even stand a chance of holding warming below 1.5°C. On a positive side, the temperature can be cooled down if carbon dioxide is somehow removed from the air later in the century. The report on the 1.5°Ctarget is expected to be finalized in October. Now the big question is: Who shall be held responsible for the climate change?
Everyone shares the blame – Here is Why
Climate change is no longer a topic strictly limited to the scientific community. Today, even the school-going kids understand how it is affecting our present world and near future. Many people are arguing for fossil fuel companies and governments to take more responsibility for the environment, but are they alone to be blamed?
Governments across the world are spending years passing the buck and avoiding blame and responsibility for extreme weather and rising sea levels. For example, The Obama administration took some steps to address climate change, by introducing measures, such as – Clean Power Plan, but the Trump administration has since reversed all of those efforts.
Governments need to understand that climate change is a global, multi-decade challenge that needs collective solutions and inputs from everyone. Since governments have a far-reaching influence on both their countries and the world as a whole, they need to share the responsibility for climate change and take solid actions, keeping the political differences aside. Ultimately, the governments have the power to stand up and lead the battles their people are fighting.
Human activities across the globe
Climate change is a global issue; the atmosphere does not differentiate between who’s polluting more and who’s polluting less. This means all the nations share the blame and responsibility towards global climate change.
In its Fifth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which included scientists from across the globe, concluded there is a more than 95% probability that it is human activities that have warmed our planet over the past 50 years.
The industrial activities that the modern world hugely depends on have raised carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere from 280 ppm to 400 ppm in the last 150 years. The panel also concluded that the human-produced greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane have caused the Earth to heat up over the past 50 years.
We – the Consumers
The consumers share the blame too for causing climate change. The public has been aware of the climate threat for years. Despite knowing the risks, we are still buying gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs, while hybrid and electric vehicles account for just 3% of new car sales.
Most of us are not doing our bit for the planet, which includes using reusable coffee cups, taking shorter showers, biking to work etc. We think these measures are trivial and won’t make any difference.
It is important for all of us to understand that addressing climate change is our collective responsibility. It would be hypercritical to demand change unless we are ready to change our own ways first.
Fossil fuel companies
The fossil fuel industry certainly bears some responsibility for the climate change. Major fossil fuel companies have known for years that their products — oil, coal and natural gas — cause climate change. But they knowingly decided to deceive the public for decades about the realities and risks of climate change.
While these companies certainly bear some responsibility, laying the entire responsibility for the climate change on them seems somewhat unfair. These companies have done their job to fulfill the demands of rapidly expanding, energy-hungry global population.
The demands of a growing population have driven energy companies to produce more fuels. So, as energy consumers, these firms’ emissions are as much our responsibility as they are of the producers.
Possible solutions to the problem
According to the USA’s climate science report, the best solution to the problem of global climate change is to monitor the amount of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide. There are many studies and researches that offer possible solutions to deal with the threat of global climate change. Some of those are discussed in detail in the second part of this article. You can also read our edition on Carbon Scrubbing Technology.
Pointing fingers at others might make us feel better and alleviate our own guilt in our contribution to the global climate change. But, in reality, all of us need to work together to make the transformation necessary for a sustainable energy future.