Alarms bells have been ringing since the 1960s but stepped up after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was set up in 1990. The reports showed evidence of human-caused global warming. Still, countries were slow to accept the results because any cutbacks would slow economic growth.
Now, the recent IPCC 6th assessment report shows that the world will probably reach or exceed 1.5 degrees C of warming within just the next two decades. That’s by 2040.
Temperatures above 1.5 degrees will lead to more extreme storms and heatwaves, water shortages and drought, lower crop yields, higher sea levels, and destructions of coral reefs, leading to reduced sea life.
Temperatures above 2 degrees will be catastrophic.
The Caribbean countries will be greatly affected. Besides being hit by a higher number of high-intensity storms, sea-level rise (SLR) will cause destruction of tourism, ports, farmland and residential areas.
To limit warming to 1.5 degrees depends on us taking drastic actions now. What are some of these drastic measures? We need to:
- Accelerate the increased share of renewables in electricity generation five times faster;
- Phase-out coal in electricity generation five times faster;
- Reduce the carbon intensity of electricity generation three times faster;
- Accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles 22 times faster;
- Accelerate the increase in the share of low-carbon fuels by eight times faster; and
- Accelerate the increase in annual tree cover gain five times faster.
Today climate change deniers, like COVID-19 deniers, still dispute the science. However, while we can see the effects of COVID-19 now, it takes years to see the impact of climate change.
A tipping point is close. Let’s not wait until it’s too late.