By KIM BATES
A report by UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had been issued on Oct. 8, 2018. This report detailed that the Earth only has until 2030 to reverse effects of greenhouse gases before Earth reaches 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).
“The report is certainly accurate in terms of we are on track to hit 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030,” said David Courard-Hauri, professor of environmental science and stability.
The Planet reaching 1.5 degrees Celsius is based on the current amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Scientists warn that if we reach or exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius, there will be an influx in extreme weather habits. They warn there will be hotter summers, larger heat waves, higher sea levels, and more extreme droughts and/or rainfalls. Other effects include 70 – 90 percent of coral reefs dying off.
“What I think people are getting caught up on is this idea that if we hit 1.5 degrees, these are things that are going to happen,” Courard-Hauri said. “Essentially, these things become significantly more likely as the temperature increases.”
The Paris Agreement was signed in 2016 in attempts to help climate change. Since then, 197 countries have signed this agreement, but recently, The United States has pulled out from the agreement. In order to prevent the temperatures from rising any more, emissions of carbon dioxide need to drop 45 percent or more from the levels in 2010.
“In the long term, I have a lot of hope,” Courard-Hairi said. “I don’t see us getting to where we need to be by 2013, which means we suffer to some extent, but what I want people to understand about climate change is that … there is always work to be done and we can always make things less bad than they would be otherwise, we just need to get started.”
Many say climate change has always been a threat, but what is different about this report is the immediate threat it has on today’s generations. The threat of climate change, according to the UN report, will have an extreme impact within our lifetime. It is no longer in the far or near future: it is here now.
“I think it’s a real threat, but a part of me thinks this article was a little exaggerated,” said Anna Sutterer, a first-year studying environmental science. “I definitely think climate change is something we all need to be aware of, but then there is the problem of who takes on the burden of fixing it? Currently, it’s hard to make laws and policy changes because it’s such a narrow ladder up to the top where changes can be made, and I think people need to realize the environmental changes are on all of us and not just in politics.”
According to the Student Conservation Association, there are two major ways you can make differences with climate change. One is to use fewer resources: use less water or cut down on plastic usage. The second change you can make is to advocate for the prevention of climate change — educate yourself and others.
“We live on this Earth and we have to protect it, otherwise our future may not be so bright,” Sutterer said.