The Magic Number Is … 1.5 Degrees

November 9, 2018

In the year 2040, a lot of things will be very different. Xyza will be twenty-four years old, you might be older than thirty, and we might not be driving cars! There could also be something different for planet Earth too: According to the latest scientific panel report from the United Nations regarding climate change, our planet will be 1.5 degrees warmer by 2040. The reason might not come as a surprise: global warming. Indeed, Earth has been getting hotter by 0.2 degrees every decade.

You probably notice that daily temperatures constantly change. However, when the average temperature rises more than 1.5 degrees across the entire planet, the impact could be huge. We might well experience intense heat waves, rising sea levels, and loss of habitats such as marine and coastal systems. Those are big changes for what seems like a small temperature increase, right? Even so, the report, which was written by ninety-one scientists across the world, urges countries to take immediate and stronger measures so they can limit the warming to less than 1.5 degrees.

What if you recycle and do your part to help our planet—will it be enough? Not quite, say scientists. You see, the most significant effect on climate change comes from greenhouse gases and the use of coal. Both of these are driven not necessarily by individuals at homes but by companies and industries. That means companies and industries should also resolve to fight global warming by reducing carbon emissions and their dependence on harmful fuel like coal. Some are doing just that. The United Kingdom, for example, has promised to end all coal production by 2025, and China is encouraging the production and purchase of electric cars and buses.

Scientists and policymakers across the world are reacting to this report and asking the questions: What can we do? And how quickly can we do it?