June 2023 will go down in human history as the hottest month ever! And this is something we should all be proud of. Wait a minute, proud of? Actually, it is a shame that even after current troves of evidence pointing out the detrimental effect of unabated emissions of climate-warming gases, including carbon dioxide, and methane, into the atmosphere, still we could not be able to do something about it.
It is eight years since the whole world gathered in Paris, France, for a climate summit whereby it was agreed that every effort should be pursued to stem the tide of global warming and climate change. Most importantly the world committed to cap global average temperatures at 2 degrees Celsius pre-industrial levels by the year 2100 while exploring efforts to limit global average temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
There was to be a gradual reduction of GHGs emissions, including carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane gas, among others, if a turnaround in the warming of the planet was to be achieved. Yet, a warming planet is an indication that something is wrong.
Still, there is massive emission of carbon dioxide; the most potent gas in causing global warming. According to Global Carbon Budget Report in the year 2022, the amount of carbon dioxide gas emissions was 36.8 billion metric tons. Starting from the individual to businesses lies the blame for a warming planet.
Equally fitting to blame are the various national governments and the international governance system. Measures to attain a turnaround in a warming planet were that various national governments were to come up with both climate change mitigation and adaptation measures.
UNEP Executive Director, Inger Andersen observes, “…still, as UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report 2022 shows, nations procrastinate. Since COP26 in Glasgow in 2021, new and updated nationally determined contributions (NDCs) have barely impacted the temperatures we can expect to see at the end of the century.”
Most important were the mitigation measures for it made it possible to nip global warming and climate change before it could even happen or worsen. Today, virtually all countries around the globe have either made Conditional or unconditional Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), but still not ambitious enough or taken seriously enough if the globe is to be fully decarbonized by the year 2100.
Globally, there seems to lack of an overarching agency, or rather a global governance system, powerful and robust enough in ensuring that the greening of the planet is prioritized. There has to be a globally coordinated effort in the action against global warming and climate change.
According to Inger Andersen “to get on track to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius we would need to cut 45 per cent off current greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. For 2 degrees Celsius, we would need to cut 30 percent.”
The globe is walking on a tightrope whereby there has to be struck a balance between economic growth and development in a sustainable manner and the achievement of climate goals, most importantly, stemming the tide of global warming and climate change. The very survival of this planet we have called home for a long period of time depends on deliberate efforts to reduce and ultimately eliminate our respective climate footprints.
Every measure in conscious living, consumption, doing business, and so on and so forth in the long run counts. After all, we share a common planet, the air we breathe, and the food we consume. We might not be big polluters of the environment like the U.S., China, or India, but every pollution, or rather contamination of the environment, everywhere matters. Thus, today’s pollution might not affect the polluter personally, but someone elsewhere and our future generations will be affected in one way or another. Act now and be smart.
Featured image by Anthony Ochieng Onyango