Call to action on climate change
The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a report last week that deserves close attention. While three years ago, the historic Paris Conference concluded with a consensus limiting any median temperature rise to 2C, this latest meeting of the IPCC has concluded that any rise should be no more than 1.5C.
It appears to be a key crossroads for the human family. The IPCC suggests that there is a limited window of only 12 years to effect basic change. Key impacts documented by this report include:
• A rise by 2C may wipe out all of the Earth’s reef ecosystems
• That same median temperature rise could result in the polar ice caps melting completely, with the resultant sea-level rise.
• There will be a substantial increase in extreme weather conditions: severe hurricanes, droughts and floods
There is some irony that the report was published a few days before Hurricane Michael made landfall in the United States. This wake-up call is addressed to the seven billion of us who share the planet at present.
It will take a co-ordinated effort on the global, local and personal levels to address this challenge. It would seem that there is no issue more important than this reality to be addressed.
While much will depend on the actions of governments, all of us can immediately take some personal steps:
• Shifting diets to limit meat consumption; especially beef and dairy
• Limiting the use of cars: moving to car pooling, bus and ferry
• Smart use of home electricity: timers on hot-water heaters, limit the use of air-conditioning, smart lightbulbs
The Bermuda National Trust commissioned a report, The Impact of Climate Change on Bermuda by A.F. Glasspool, published in December 2008, which provides a well-researched framework. Our island is blessed to host the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, a world-class research facility, which no doubt offers a key source of data to inform discussions regarding the best way forward from both the local and wider perspectives.
It is worth noting that the United Nations Climate Change Conference for 2018 will take place in the first week of December in Poland. There would likely be useful outcomes from that session.
With these various resources, it is hoped that stakeholders in Bermuda from both the governmental and non-governmental sectors will look urgently to collaborate on this vital matter. Upcoming generations will be relying on us.
• Glenn Fubler represents Imagine Bermuda