Climate Change Targets To Be Missed
That the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games chose to highlight Climate change is quite timely. Later this month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change meets in Geneva. It does so with news that targets it set just eight months ago look as though they are unlikely to be met. A rise in temperature of a maximum of 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial temperatures is considered vital to maintaining the current climate and enabling future recovery. Many scientists now warn that this target will not be achieved, risking catastrophic environmental results.
The climate has quite visibly changed in recent years. Within the past few weeks we have seen yet more floods in India and Nepal as the Monsoon season becomes more unpredictable each year.
The ice caps continues to melt at an alarming rate: something that the Rio film makers highlighted, particularly in reference to much loved cities such as Amsterdam. The impact, of course, would be much greater than affecting just a few iconic locations. A continued rise in global temperatures could see the ice cap melt at an accelerated rate with a subsequent impact on water levels that would change our coastlines forever.
The talk is not just of ice caps and the ozone layer anymore though. It is changing the way of life for many diverse groups. Those perhaps most obviously affected are people such as Siberian herders. For them the temperature change alters their ability to live and work. This article terms climate change to be a plague for these nomadic people.
The impact is also being felt in Japan. Scientists there believe that average temperatures could rise at levels much higher than the 1.5 degree target: a regional anomaly. However, that poses a problem. Higher temperatures affect the weather. In particular, rainfall. Higher levels of precipitation are not welcomed by many traditional Japanese farmers. In simple terms, the core crop, rice, simply would be washed away or of a much lower quality. This article also highlights current trends in the Japanese fishing industry that are also climate related.
An aspect of climate change that is often overlooked is the physical destruction that it can wreak. This article notes that climate change is likely to do more damage to World Heritage Sites than Islamic State or Taliban attempts to destroy such ancient monuments.
Climate change will not be solved overnight, but the forthcoming talks in Geneva may well need to reconsider targets and ways in which they can be achieved.