Window for Climate Change Action is "Rapidly Closing"

Window for Climate Change Action is "Rapidly Closing"

Last week was news-heavy with stories ranging from the Russian invasion of Ukraine to the confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson. But the imminent action needed to curb climate change ought not to be forgotten, warns David Dodwell in a new opinion piece. He is the executive director of the Hong Kong-APEC Trade Policy Study Group, a trade policy think tank.

In his South China Morning Post op-ed, Dodwell references a number of events that reinforce the seriousness of global warming as a reminder that it continues even when it’s “out of sight and out of mind,” meaning: not on the front page. Such events include the release of the latest IPCC report and the collapse of the Conger ice shelf in Antarctica.

IPCC: IPCC Sixth Assessment Report - Climate Change 2022 | Mitigation of Climate Change trailer, April 4, 2022.

BBC: Past seven years hottest on record, EU satellite data shows, January 10, 2022.

Why This Matters

This IPCC's earlier March report shows that billions of people have already suffered through heat waves, floods, and wildfires -- and that governments must embrace "transformational" change. This means rethinking how cities are built, food is grown, and energy is produced. The report’s prognosis is even worse than last year’s, which was already alarming. It shows that the effects of climate change have gotten even worse and more common, and soon it may be too late to adapt.

CBS: Huge carbon emissions cuts needed, UN climate report finds, April 4, 2022.

New Developments

There have been some strides forward in mitigating climate change -- for example, solar power and lithium battery costs fell over 85% over the last decade. But emissions are still rising, which is untenable. Emissions have to peak by 2025 “at the latest” and must be reduced by 43% by 2030, says IPCC chair Hoesung Lee. In addition, financing has to increase by three to six times to really curb emissions. Keeping climate change at the forefront of the international conversation will prevent us from “miss[ing] a rapidly closing window,” as Lee puts it.

Reuters: 2021 saw jump in greenhouse-gas emissions, says report, January 10, 2022.

The Economist: See what three degrees of global warming looks like, October 7, 2021.