Why we need to carefully reflect on the last decade

Why we need to carefully reflect on the last decade

If we’re observing the last 10 years and the head way we’ve made in greenhouse gas emissions, we sadly need to reassess. If it’s the only solid measurement we need to care about in terms of climate change, then, we may just be in trouble as they continue to rise.

Unfortunately, we’ve lost another decade in the climate change battle. And with media headlines keeping us well-aware of our shortcomings, and Greta Thunberg swarming our screens, we’ve got a lot to answer for.

Currently, according to the Technology Review, greenhouse gases are heading towards a ‘catastrophic warming’, if we don’t start sliding down the emissions scale. Our inability to cut emissions early enough in the process over the last decade is where we’ve really lost the ball, and our vision of stopping increasing temperatures of 1.5 degrees Celsius is now shifting to stop hitting 2 degrees Celsius instead.

That half-degree gap could actually spell out the death of coral reefs right across the globe. It also has the potential to expose 40 per cent of the world’s population to overwhelming extreme heat.

The good news

We have seen some progress, though. Renewable energy and electric vehicles have finally taken off, and more than 200 counties are now looking to cut emissions under the Paris Agreement.

What we need to understand and fathom now is that these commitments from nations around the world are already starting to fall behind. We need to keep on track and deliver on our targets if we’re to avoid perpetual disaster. While we’ve gone the distance to start incorporate cleaner energy technology, there has been little movement in swapping out power plants, vehicles, buildings and factories.

Carbon dioxide trending upwards

Not so long ago, there were hopes that pollution from greenhouse gases had started to subside. In fact, between 2013 and 2016, fossil fuels and the total emissions had been relatively flat.

These figures have changed, though, and we’re now carrying the responsibility to improve energy efficiency, mostly through renewables. We need to shift from coal to natural gas on a global-scale, not just here and there. The lack up uptake on this has seen a surge since 2016, with increasing energy demands from China and India also a contributing factor.

Ultimately, as carbon dioxide takes several years to actually reach its peak warming influence, and we haven’t exactly started an appropriate emissions-cutting effort, we’re still yet to see the real effects for the coming decade. And that’s a scary thought.