I am writing this article on the hottest day in French history with over 45°C registered.
I want to share my key takeaways from a conference about the latest climate change report by the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (set up in 1988) that I attended recently.
- the +1,5°C global warming target and its impacts
- possible solutions and actions you can take
The conference was hosted by the “Institute for High Studies of National Defense” (Institut des Hautes études de défense nationale) and given by leading French climate scientist Valérie Moisson-Delmotte, member of the IPCC and Senior scientist at Science of Climate and Environment Laboratory (LSCE, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement).
During the introduction, a high-raking military said they had started thinking about the impact of climate change on national security. Unfortunately, this very interesting topic was not discussed during the conference. It was an update on the latest report by the IPCC on the 1,5°C global warming target, issued for the COP24.
The 1,5°C target
The Paris Climate Agreement has the ambition to remain below +1,5°C global warming. And what I learned during the conference is that we are already at almost 1°C warming and we would need to radically change the way our economies and societies function in the next 10 years to restrain the warming to an additional 0,5°C. This includes going carbon neutral by 2050. And whatever we do, the rising of the seas is already irreversible (for centuries).
Some effects of +1,5°C global warming
- 70% of tropical corals will be seriously damaged (making coastlines vulnerable)
- Agricultural yields will decline due to increased heat waves – compromising our food security and seriously disrupting eco systems and biodiversity.
- Cities will be subject to heat waves (as we are experiencing across Europe this summer)
- Great risks are foreseen for the tourism sector, particularly in the Tropics and the mountains
- France will see « hot spots » emerge (hotter places) at the coastline, high mountains and the Mediterranean
- What is unknown: how much climate change damages will cost our economies
Some suggestions were presented of what could be done to reduce these effects:
- New technologies are out there to help and that need to be scaled, a major challenge being to scale renewable energy and environmentally friendly agricultural practices as well as drastically reducing foods with high carbon footprint (such as meat).
- Teach new generations resilience and climate action already at school
- Society needs to change the way it functions: as Mrs. Moisson-Delmotte asked “What are you ready to change?”
Each year counts, each choice counts
Yes, they do! However, do people actually understand what actions and choices count? Do you know the impact your choices have?
My key takeaways from the conference
- It is time for people to wake up and see climate change as a crisis. Because if we do nothing, our children will have to face it.
- It is imperative to have a clear and simple way of communicating on the subject, in order to make it understandable and actionable to the uninformed people.
What actions can you take?
In your daily life
- Get informed! Your choices have an impact: buy local, organic, reduce your meat consumption, use transport methods with less carbon emissions (bike, public transport, train etc), reuse, reduce, recycle and choose responsible brands.
- Project Drawdown proposes 100 solutions to reverse global warming
- The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in particular the Good Life goals explain what actions you can take in your life
In your business and at work
- Embrace simple actions at work, check 5 easy Sustainability hacks for busy employees.
- For more simple action for Sustainability at work (even if you don’t have a lot of time): check out my free “actionbook”.
- If you want to embed Sustainability in your business, check out the UN Global Compact’s many resources for integrating the SDGs in to your business. Or get started with my free guide “5 steps to activate positive impact from within”.
Share 3 new actions you have taken for climate action!
Written by Marena Eirich, founder of teams4purpose®. I empower you to make Sustainability actionable at work, in your job, in your business.
Don’t wait to get started: start to take action!
- Engage employees on your company’s Sustainability journey taking these 5 steps: download the free guide “5 steps to activate positive impact from within”.
- Take simple action for Sustainability at work (even if you don’t have a lot of time): discover how in this free “actionbook”.
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