If you stumble upon these words, let me explain their intention. What you can find below is not only my own attempt to a starting point to break down the status quo of the world's efforts to combat the climate crisis, but more so is a collection of sources and link outs to further readings. There is so much information out there, so many articles, millions of stats, a latitude of opinions and view points, making it overwhelming to educate yourself on what's going on.
It is a fact that the world's efforts are insufficient to date and will remain that, unless drastic change is coming. But what efforts have been made since the last UN Climate Change Conference? Which nations are most significantly responsible for not hitting the target? And what is the target we need to hit anyway? What are our chances? What can we do?
WHAT IS THE TARGET WE NEED TO HIT?
Essentially, the planet is warming because of a rise in green house gas emissions. The science is clear: if we don't limit the increase of our planet's average temperature to 1.5 degree, aka the point of no return, we'll likely "trigger lasting changes and transform life as we know it" (to better understand the 1.5 degree benchmark, read this article by The Climate Reality Project). Putting a stop to global temperature rise implies capping the amount of carbon dioxide we can afford to emit. To put this into perspective, this means that in January 2018 we had a total of 420 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (GtCO2) left to emit to stay below the target of 1.5 degrees. Already in September 2019 this total went down to 360 GtCO2. If we continue at this rate, we have less than 8 years left (source: the UN IPCC SR15 report).
The Paris Agreement from 2015 outlines the commitment of nations in order to hit the target of keeping global temperature rise below 2 degrees (and eventually 1.5 degrees) within this century.
Three years later in 2018, at the UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice nations still debated over a set standard to measure emissions, i.e. how to prove the goals from Paris are being worked on.
WHAT IS THE STATUS QUO OF CLIMATE EFFORTS?
Commitment exists on paper but what does reality look like?
Refer to this article of the National Geographic to inform yourself on who is reaching targets and who is barely trying.
Next, you need to understand where change you as an individual make matter the most. Therefore, we need to understand which areas of our life have a negative impact on the environment in relation to others.
Article by Perspective Daily: meat consumption, use of land, transport, living in cities, electro trash
A group of young activists filed a lawsuit against 5 countries (Brazil, France, Germany, Argentina and Turkey) for ignoring to take action (e.g. quotas for carbon emissions and innovation alternatives to fossil fuels) when facts about the risks of global warming and climate change were known to them for decades.
The following image shows the cover of the Science & Vie magazine from 1970. Contained in the magazine is a research article that claims if pollution continues and even increases, all life will be extinct in 50 years, marking the year 2020.
Lastly, a word on Greta. Greta Thunberg is the face of the revolution against world leader's inaction to counter global warming. It is sad but hopeful that it needs a 16-year old as a last resort to appeal to governments in power to act: sad because climate change wasn't only scientifically proven yesterday and its consequences certainly were always to be severe, yet economic growth, power and supremacy were given greater importance on the agenda of world leaders; hopeful because never has the urgency of the issue penetrated a wider audience and never has the direct threat to generations after us been more emotionally pictured.
SCARY FACT #1
We are at the beginning of a 6th mass extinction.
Up to 200 species go extinct every day.
SCARY FACT #2
SCARY FACT #3
If we continue at this rate, we have less than 8 years left (according to the IPCC SRIS report).