The definitive outcome of global warming is not cut and dried as is evident in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report released earlier this month but it is increasingly clear that temperature increases of 2C will have potentially catastrophic effects on the human condition. This slippery slope, which is dismissed by US President Donald Trump, who continuously rejects the undeniable consensus amongst mainstream scientists regarding climate change, clearly adversely impacts the quality of life of people and things are only poised to get worse. In order to stop the inevitable disastrous outcomes of global warming beyond 1.5 C, the IPCC substantiates the contentions through qualitative and quantitative research which painfully establishes the potential high cost on the overall human condition.
The IPCC report focuses on the impact global warming will have on humans if climate change is kept in check at 1.5C or is allowed to climb to 2C. The impact on virtually every component of the human condition if left unchecked and rises to 2C is staggering. As a whole, global warming will diminish food supplies, increase morbidity and mortality, harm biodiversity and the environment, and arguably lay the foundation for quelling current global efforts towards democratization around the world (2 STEHR). If not mitigated in the near term, the long and far reaching implications of global warming will be difficult, at best, to rectify as its deadly consequences, take for example the recent devastation caused by Hurricane Michael, one of the most ferocious in US history. (1 FREEDMAN)
The irony is that by exceeding a temperature increase of 1.5C the most pronounced victims will be the people who are the least offenders, having a small footprint in terms of anthropogenic emissions. It will be disenfranchised people, the poor who are reliant on farming and aquaculture. Not only will their food and water supplies diminish, vector-borne diseases, such as malaria will flourish and biodiversity, which is core to all human’s healthy existence will be grossly impacted. According to the report, in the next 32 years alone, the number of people exposed to climate-related risks and susceptible to poverty could be limited by up to several hundred million if global warming was limited to 1.5°C (B5.1. pg. 12) Scientists at the Massachusetts institute of Technology also found that if not stopped, conditions by the end of the century could lead to extreme heat in certain regions (e.g. the Persian Gulf to South Asia to China) that would be capable of killing a healthy person within six hours.
In conclusion, the time is now to act to contain global warming. According to the report and other sources, though contested by some, it is advantageous for industrialized nations to act. It would not be altruistic but rather economically strategic acting as a catalyst for continued technological advancements regarding, for example, clean energy. The report relays various options to contain and mitigate the trend, from ensuring net zero CO2 emissions to potentially non-CO2 radiative forcing to negative CO2 emissions.
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