Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Affordable, scalable solutions are now available to enable countries to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies. The pace of change is quickening as more people are turning to renewable energy and a range of other measures that will reduce emissions and increase adaptation efforts.
Climate change, however, is a global challenge that does not respect national borders. It is an issue that requires solutions that need to be coordinated at the international level to help developing countries move toward a low-carbon economy.
Climate change is caused by human activities and is threatening the way we live and the future of our planet. It is affecting everyone, especially women, children, the elderly, and the poor and vulnerable. Severe weather and rising sea levels are affecting people and their properties in developed and developing countries.
- From 1880 to 2012, average global temperature increased by 0.85°C. For each 1 degree of temperature increase, grain yields decline by about 5%.
- From 1901 to 2010, the global average sea level rose by 19 cm, as oceans expanded due to warming and ice melted. These changes will persist for many centuries even if emissions are stopped.
- Global emissions of CO2 have increased by almost 50% since 1990. Emissions grew more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in each of the three previous decades.
- Drought conditions predominated across much of the glove, influenced by the El Niño phenomenon.
- Extreme weather events are becoming more common and natural habitats, such as coral reefs, are declining.
- We still have the opportunity to take actions that will lead to more jobs, great prosperity, and better lives for all while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building climate resilience. The world must transform its energy, industry, transport, food, agriculture, and forestry systems to ensure that we can limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees.
- We also need to anticipate, adapt, and become resilient to the current and future impacts of climate change. The adoption of the Paris Agreement was a significant first step towards achieving these objectives. All countries that signed this agreement are committed to addressing climate change and keeping the global temperature rise this century to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees, while building countries’ resilience to the adverse effects of climate change. For more info: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/parisagreement22april/#FAQ
- Many businesses and investors are committing themselves to lower their emissions through the Climate Action Agenda, which brings governments, businesses and civil society together to embark on new initiatives that promote climate action.
- Many business leaders have also realized that climate change poses new risks and opportunities for their companies’ competitiveness, growth, and development. They are providing climate solutions through their innovation and long-term investment in energy efficiency and low-carbon development.
Doing nothing will end up costing us a lot more than if we take action now. In total, public- and private sector investment in clean energy needs to reach at least $1 trillion per year by 2030, and more to build climate resilience. The estimated costs of mitigation do not account for the benefits of reduced climate change. Investments of only $6 billion for disaster risk reduction over the next 15 years would result in total benefits of $360 billion in terms of avoided losses over the lifetime of the investment. By acting now, we save lives, money, and avoid setbacks in the progress we have achieved to date.
- As a member of society, there are many things you can adopt into your routine that will make a big difference. Save electricity by turning lights off and plugging appliances into a power strip that you turn off when not in use. Save paper by paying bills online and keeping digital notes. Research and only support companies that have sustainable practices and don’t harm the environment. Save water by taking short showers. Save resources by eating less meat, fish, and poultry. Recycle paper, plastic, glass, and aluminium. Replace old appliances with energy efficient models and light bulbs. Shop local to keep people employed and prevent trucks from driving far distances. Buy funny-looking fruit that would otherwise be thrown out. Bike, walk, or take public transport. Use refillable water bottles and coffee cups. Use reusable shopping bags. Vaccinate yourself and your kids to protect from disease and aid public health. Find more at: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/takeaction/
- As a business owner, you can commit to building resilience and decarbonizing your operations and supply chains by improving energy efficiency, reducing the carbon footprint, reaching emissions reductions targets, and investing in the development of innovative and inclusive low-carbon and climate-smart products and services. You can also join the UN Caring for Climate initiative (https://caringforclimate.org/) that helps companies advance practical solutions, share experiences, inform public policy, as well as shape public attitudes.
- Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries
- Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning
- Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning
- Implement the commitment undertaken by developed-country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to a goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion annually by 2020 from all sources to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund through its capitalization as soon as possible
- Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries and small island developing States, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities
- Acknowledging that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change.
• As a member of society, your active engagement in policy-making ensures that your voice is heard, knowledge is shared, and that critical thinking is encouraged at all ages. Policymakers can help generate job opportunities and fiscal policies that stimulate pro-poor growth and reduce poverty.
• As a member of the science and academic community, you can help discover sustainable solutions for the challenges of reducing poverty. Thanks to this community, there is now greater access to safe drinking water, reduced deaths caused by water-borne diseases, and improved hygiene to reduce health risks related to unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation.
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What can I
do about it
You can help create a community of people and participate in the decision-making and implementation processes. Educate yourself about the issues we face as a global family, connect with like-minded people and take action.
Ask questions to your leaders about what they’re doing in regards to climate change. Focus your attention on actionable steps because no step is too small to make a difference. Join our community and help create a better world.