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The danger of not acting on the climate crisis

The Danger of not acting on the Climate Crisis

Photo credit from WEF
Since the world has now failed for decades to curb the rise of greenhouse gas emissions, some form of CO2 removal is now seen by many scientists as essential to limiting dangerous climate change. According to the IPCC report, every region in the world is projected to face an increase in climate hazards. As we keep delaying the action we need, there are warnings that climate change risks will become increasingly complex and more difficult to manage. According to the report, the extent to which future generations will experience a warmer world depends on decisions made now.

According to Prof Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, the former IPCC vice chair, "our planet, our home, has a fever, and the most vulnerable have started to suffer significantly from it. It is high time to wake up and treat this fever. We urgently need to decrease the suffering by adapting to the part of climate change that is there already. To avoid crossing the 1.5 degrees limit, developed countries must aim at net zero CO2 emissions earlier than 2050, so that global average carbon neutrality can be achieved by 2050. Much stronger international cooperation is needed, including in terms of climate finance, as the planet is our only common home." The climate crisis is a reality that will deal with and the IPCC has been reminding us for decades about what we should do and how we need to shift from the fossil fuel era to a sustainable lifestyle.

An estimated 3.3 billion to 3.6 billion people live in areas that are highly vulnerable to climate change with the largest impacts felt by many low-income nations in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. Why are we bargaining for 1.5 degrees of warming rather than less than 1 degree when we get to 1.5 degrees of warming, we will start bargaining for 2 degrees of warming and it goes on until climate action becomes out of reach. Even at the current 1.1 degrees of warming, it is catastrophic, not to talk about when it exceeds the projected degrees of warming.

Upon the release of the IPCC report, I asked Prof Bronwyn Hayward, IPCC author for her views. According to her, the report “highlights not only how much more urgent action is than ever before but the importance of climate-resilient development – a holistic approach to tackling climate change that integrates adaptation and mitigation action to promote sustainable development for all. The report tells us that best-practiced decision-making is inclusive and equitable, drawing on indigenous knowledge and local knowledge especially to help ensure climate solutions are appropriate to local circumstances – but we have to act now, our options for development are constrained with every increment of warming over 1.5 degrees.”

I also asked another IPCC author, Pro Lisa Schipper about her comments on the released report. Here is her view; “without reducing GHG emissions NOW – not soon – we are worsening the huge inequalities already evident around the world. Not just because it makes impacts worse, but also because there are limits to how effective adaptation can be; once the temperature goes past 1.5 degrees of warming.”

The impacts of climate change are not invisible; we can all feel it even if it is unequivocally – for years we have ignored the climate crisis and it is now coming to hurt us. But there are still chances to build back greener before the climate crisis gets to the point of no return. So the more the delay in taking action, the more it becomes impossible to attain climate justice. We have to be deliberate about our emission reduction plan. We cannot continue business as usual; otherwise, we will face more scary weather patterns. It is either we phase out fossil fuels or we continue on the dangerous path of climate change; whilst the rich are getting richer at the expense of our planet. There is no hope if we don't act on the climate crisis. The hope therein is when we act on the climate crisis.

By Oladosu Adenike (, the founder of I Lead Climate Action Initiative, an ecofeminist and climate justice leader.

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