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November 27, 2021

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About climate change

Numbers that everyone deserves to know

By Amelia Alexander
Climate change is an issue that needs to be addressed with alacrity.

We need honest debate about climate change to yield the best result for everyone. The best way to do this is to use science and facts.

I have faith in humanity. I believe that when people know better, they do better. It is the fault of many politicians and media that we are not exposed to the facts about climate change.

I would be very surprised if you have already heard all of the numbers that I am going to show you. Everyone deserves to know these numbers, but hardly anyone is talking about them.

I am not asking you to listen to a 16-year-old talk about climate change. I am asking that you listen to the world’s best scientists. I believe that we need to unite behind the science.  We can get through this if we unite behind the science.

Where are these numbers coming from?
These numbers are coming from The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. The IPCC has 195 countries that are members.  The US was previously a member, but in 2017 Donald Trump withdrew America from the Paris agreement.

What is the Paris agreement?
The Paris agreement is a legally binding, international UN treaty under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  

The agreement in 2018 was to keep global warming preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels.  To achieve this, we must reduce emissions. (AKA stop burning fossil fuels).

In 2030
If we continue business as usual, by 2030 it is predicted by the best scientists that we will set off a chain reaction beyond human control. This was issued by the IPCC.

Here is a link that goes into more detail. (https://blog.ucsusa.org/elliott-negin/2030-or-bust-what-is-the-importanc...).  This doesn’t mean that the world will end in 2030. This means that there will be nothing we can do to stop the effects of climate change. It will be beyond human control.

However, we have about 9 years. We need to reduce our emissions. We need to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels.

The power to do this is in the hands of government leadership. I think that the more people who are aware of this problem, the more likely government leaders are to act. I’ve never seen this issue as political. We need to stop climate change for future generations. We are doing this for our future.

What is a Carbon Budget?
Global warming is linked to emissions of greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide.  To stabilize global temperature at any level vs pre-industrial, then there is a limited number of emissions that can be released before net emissions need to reach zero. For carbon dioxide, we call this finite number a carbon budget (https://carbontracker.org/resources/terms-list/#carbon-budgets).

At the beginning of 2020, the remaining carbon budget, to remain at 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels was c.495GtCO2. This estimate is based on the carbon budgets updated by the IPCC in 2018 and emissions data from the Global Climate Project.

What does this number mean?
This number compared to 2019 emissions, 43.1GtCO2, can indicate how many years we can remain at current emission levels to reach the goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius. As of 2020 This equates to 11.5 years for a 50% probability of 1.5 degrees warming outcome.

These odds aren’t great. I feel like my future is depending on the flip of a coin. These odds are achievable though. There is hope. We can create better odds by reducing our emissions as soon as possible. We need to unite behind the science. We are all human. We are in this together.

I am hopeful for the future. I believe that everyone deserves to have access to this information. I have never heard of these numbers in school. I have never heard of a carbon budget in school, but I think it’s important that people know the facts. I want to help unite people. People deserve access to these numbers.

Thank you for taking your time to read this much. Share this information. Talk to your friends and family. This is for your children and their hope for a future.

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