We need to talk about our future. Climate change is destroying our planet and causing mass inequalities across the globe. The climate crisis is creating irreversible natural devastations and hastily killing off our hopes for a liveable future. I'm only 24 — I want a future, I want to live and experience life, the ups and downs and everything that comes with it. Maybe I want children someday, but I will never be able to see that day if we continue ignoring climate breakdown. We can't build a future on a dead planet, which is why the 2022 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is crucial for creating solutions out of this climate catastrophe.
You've probably heard about the IPCC report in passing from your vegetarian friend who stores cardboard under their bed for the next protest (and, yes, I am the friend). Don't worry if you didn't catch the important bits — I'm going to break it down for you.
What Is the IPCC Report?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a group of expert scientists from all over the world who are responsible for assessing and analysing the science and risks behind climate change. A group of 270 scientists from 65 countries released the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report on the Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability of climate change in April 2022. The report only comes around once every six to seven years, so this, my friends, is something we should not be sleeping on.
Why Is the IPCC Report Important?
The IPCC report covers many things, including (but not limited to) the consequences of climate inaction, what we need to do to stop climate doom, and how we are currently managing rising temperatures. It provides world leaders with the necessary data and recommendations in the hopes of waking them up to the deadly reality of not reaching global targets of 1.5°C (COP26 did nothing, at least for the UK). The IPCC Report gives you an insight into the reality of climate change, a glimpse into our future, and hopefully, it inspires you to take back control of the climate crisis. By no means is this solely your responsibility, but those you vote for will be making life-changing decisions — so it's important to stay awake in a world of boring politics that keep you asleep from the things that matter.
How are we managing rising temperatures?
Not very well. Even with our current climate policies in place, it is not enough to secure a liveable future. Yes, governments can gloat and show small reports of reduced emissions, but in practicality, it's not enough. Emissions are still increasing for almost all greenhouse gasses, and in short, we're really doing the bare minimum. This begs the question of if the climate policies we have are fit for purpose and if governments are neglecting their own commitments in exchange for money.
What do we need to do to stop climate doom?
In short, we need to stop burning coal, oil, and gas, therefore reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. This means it is crucial that the UK government stop investing in Shell and BP (which doesn't just encourage the climate crisis, it also contributes to the cost of living crisis in the UK).
Instead, we need:
- Responsible Investments — Investing in our sustainable futures, instead of investing in the interests of people who are already extremely wealthy.
- Renewable Energy — Utilising more of our natural energy sources such as solar and wind, which in the past decade have become more accessible and cheaper to develop, but only currently account for a small percentage of energy sources.
- Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) — There are some toxic gasses that we cannot get rid of completely, so we need a way to neutralise our impacts. However, we need more research and focus on CDR (becoming net-zero), as current practices like carbon-capture and storage aren't as efficient as they can be, and they cost a lot.
- Re-evaluate How Our Society Functions — Dismantling and creating new structures that are equitable, accessible, and equal for all is the foundation of securing a liveable future.
- Research Climate Policies — Taking the time to read our climate policies will reveal that they need to be implemented without hesitation, and scaled up if we are to secure a liveable future.
"We are at a crossroads. The decisions we make now can secure a liveable future. We have the tools and know-how required to limit warming," said the chair of the IPPC, Dr Hesung Lee.
How is the UK contributing to climate doom?
- Coal Mine in Cumbria — Signing the Friends of the Earth's petition will help to stop the UK government's plans to develop a new coal mine.
- Jackdaw Oil Field — Planning to develop a gas and condensate field off the shore of East Scotland that will be operated by Shell.
- Cambo Oil Field — Activists from Stop Cambo halted the UK government's disastrous plans to develop an oil field off the northwest of the Shetland Islands.
- Peaceful Protesting — In February 2022, the UK government failed to pass a new bill that would make it illegal to protest and march for your rights peacefully.
A liveable future is at an arm's reach, but we must act now. Activists have been extremely influential in pushing for climate justice by speaking up. You are important and your voice is invaluable, so please use it and become a part of the climate justice movement, or it will cost you your future.