United Nations released a new report on global climate trends ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit on September 23 in New York.
The report, from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), revealed that the world has experienced the hottest period, 2015-2019, on record since 1850.
Further, the WMO claims that the world has warmed by 1.10C since pre-industrial times and by 0.20C since the previous five-year period (2011-2015).
It appears that climate change effects are hitting harder and sooner than many climate scientists have predicted.
The report warns that the conditions for further warming are already locked in.
This means that the weather extremes the world has witnessed in recent years; high temperatures, cyclones, ice melt in the Arctic and Antarctic is accelerating, drought and severe fires are set to continue.
The goal of the International Paris Agreement under which nations agreed to limit warming rates to less than 20C may now be more problematic.
This, of course, is whether or not climate change and its consequences are real.
Millions of people around the world do believe climate change is very real – and threatens the future well-being of people, economies, and the environment.
The recent global protests against governmental inaction indicate the scale of the concerns of those people
Hundreds of thousands of those protesting were school children and university students.
One estimate suggested 300,000 young people were involved in the Australian protests.
Informed and thoughtful people across the globe, including many politicians, climate scientists, business executives, administrators and
‘ordinary’ men and women acknowledge the need for unified global action by governments to mitigate or even wind back the dangers of climate change.
But, it is also clear that those who don’t believe that climate change represents a real problem, or even deny that such changes are occurring, represent a stumbling block to the implementation of decades-long remedial measures which will be required around the world.
Ridiculing students who skipped school to exercise the voice of those worried about the future of theirs and succeeding generations was considered harsh by many. For some politicians (and former politicians) such as Liberal back bencher Craig Kelly, Eric Abetz, Tony Abbott and others, ideological belief, suspicion of science-based evidence, and/or faith in a higher power trumps rationality every time and leads to the dogmatic and wrong assertions such as reportedly uttered by Mr Kelly to the wayward students: ’everything you’ve been told is a lie’.
If climate change is real and likely to cause great harm in the coming decades – then should we not pay attention to men and women who have the scientific credentials and years of research-based knowledge to issue objective and honest assessments about what may lie ahead?
The correct approach to handling this global problem requires not extremism from the left or right but pragmatic and workable solutions which may extract heavy costs both in time and money.
Solutions will not be overnight affairs.
All the complexities of our existing way of life, energy systems, our cultural and economic priorities, and international relations may have to undergo varying degrees of change.
We should also recognise that progress towards a happier climatic outcome may be measured in decades before the WMO can issue more upbeat reports than has been the case of contemporary times.
What we need now, though, is leadership which acknowledges the scale of what lies ahead and begins the task in earnest of setting in place those policies which will both insure and ensure our future.