Climate change: a last chance to do things differently
Climate Change Public debate on climate change needs to get louder if we are to head off the threat it poses, says Professor Jim Hall, Director of the Environmental Change Institute.
Public awareness of what is happening now and how that could impact on our future is vital in combating climate change. It is an increased pressure from customers and the public that will push organisations and government to take action.
We should all shout louder about climate change so that we see the policies and technological innovations that we know can cost-effectively reduce dangerous greenhouse gas emissions, and the necessary adaptation to deal with the growing risks of climatic extremes.
This is actually a great opportunity for business, and this all starts with the necessary energy and climate conversations.
With predicted increased instances of extreme weather, it is these conversations around climate change that will help communities deal with local impacts, which might be flooding. So how can talking help? It may be sharing advice on building resilience for business operations, or promoting action in communities.
For our big infrastructure investments, taking account of climate change is vital because these decisions lock us in to certain patterns of behaviour and resource use for a long time into the future. We are seeing infrastructure operators and businesses already using the climate projections and other evidence for their decision-making, including climate risks as part of their ‘business as usual’ operations, but is this enough?
I can tell you that science and research community is continuing to work with governments and industries across the global to uncover and implement the best solutions. There is already tremendous effort going into limiting the global rise in temperature to 1.5°C, the goal set in the 2015 Paris Agreement, but more action is needed if we are to reach the longer-term goal of restricting the increase in global average temperature to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
On a global scale, we are seeing results from our efforts already, with a plateau in global emissions for the 3rd year in a row, as well as a 15% per year growth in renewable energy from 2010-2015.
We should all shout louder about climate change so that we see the policies and technological innovations.
The momentum is shifting in the right direction to tackle climate change, but not fast enough. A massive change in society will be required, and this includes things as seemingly simple as how we eat our food.
At the Environmental Change Institute and UKCIP (both based at the University of Oxford), we see this campaign as part of the public forum for ideas-sharing, further research and decision-making on how to tackle climate change.
The commentary provided in this feature (as well as online) is another element to the conversation, for this is not a tick-box exercise. This is to keep pushing for a commitment to a new way of doing things for our health and wellbeing, as well as the health and wellbeing of our planet.
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