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Tik-Tok Tik-Tok; the Clock is Ticking on Climate Change

by Samiran Ghosh
TIK-TOK TIK-TOK; THE CLOCK IS TICKING ON CLIMATE CHANGE

Nothing gets our attention like Tik-Tok šŸ˜Š. Human-caused greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions drive climate change. Approx. 60% of GHG emissions come from just ten countries, while the 100 least-emitting ones contributed less than 3%. Energy makes up nearly 75% of global emissions, followed by agriculture. The largest emitting industry within the energy sector is electricity and heat generation, followed by transportation and manufacturing. Land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF) is both a source and sink of emissions and a key sector to get to net-zero emissions.

The world has been attempting to transition to renewable technology and prioritizing environmental protection. As a result, a sense of awareness and responsibility is spreading across the common public and world leaders alike. The best example of this awareness translating into action is how children now want a Diwali without crackers and a Holi with only eco-friendly colours. That truly is a ground-level change in motion.

The world has undoubtedly witnessed exciting progress in the more than 15 years associated with energy and climate change ā€” the overall cost of renewable energy, whether it is solar or wind, has dropped dramatically.

More than ever before, the most remarkable development is the immense public support to avoid a climate disaster. Gen Z and millennials are the change agents here – encouraging governments and companies globally to set up ambitious goals for reducing emissions. After all, it is their world we are destroying.

Watch this video to see the little steps they are taking.

The need for the hour is a plan to turn all this momentum into practical and achievable steps towards the big goals for saving our planet. And the most significant responsibility towards avoiding the upcoming climate disaster is eliminating greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s time that every individual starts supporting great thinkers and cutting-edge ideas, technologies, and businesses and pushes for public- and private-sector policies that support speeding up the clean energy transition.

Itā€™s time that humans come together to be convinced about three things that need immediate attention:

  • First, it is crucial to ensure zero greenhouse gas emissions to avoid a climate disaster.
  • It is time to deploy the tools already there but deserve more widespread use, like solar and wind, as they are faster, smarter, and more efficient.
  • The need to create and continuously roll out breakthrough technologies to save the world.

The main point is that setting a goal only to reduce the emissionsā€”but not eliminate them – WON’T WORK! So, the only sensible way out of this situation is – ZERO EMISSION!

If the COVID vaccination has taught us anything, it is this. We cannot solve a global problem with a developed world lens. Like no one is safe till everyone is vaccinated, we cannot reach ZERO EMISSION till every country has the will, ability, and means to achieve it. As the chart shows, the US and Europe currently only make up one-third of total global CO2 emissions while Asia has seen the maximum increase, which again makes any.

North America is home to only 5% of the world population but emits nearly 18% of CO2 (almost 4X). Asia and Africa are underrepresented in emissions. Asia is home to 60% of the population but emits just 49%; Africa has 16% but emits just 4% of CO2. The average North American is more than 17 times higher than the average African per capita emission.

This inequality in global emissions lies at the heart of why international agreement on climate change has (and continues to be) so contentious. The world’s wealthiest countries are home to half of the world’s population and emit 86% of CO2 emissions. We want global incomes and living standards to rise, especially those in the poorest half. To do so while limiting climate change, itā€™s clear that we must shrink the emissions of high-income lifestyles. Finding the compatible pathway for leveling this inequality is one of the biggest challenges of this century.

Reduce CO2 emissions to zero; that is a must to stabilize the erratic climate change the world is struggling with today. The longer it takes to limit greenhouse gas emissions, the worse the future gets.

Governments in several countries are committed to maintaining global warming “far below” 2 degrees Celsius and are making conscious efforts to keep it below 1.5 degrees Celsius in the future. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), back in 2018, released a report on the 1.5Ā°C targets, concluding that global emissions must reach net-zero by mid-century.

A new objective for the UK indicates the target of having net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, which marks an increase from the present target of reducing emissions by 80% from 1990 levels by 2050. A net-zero deadline of 2045 for Scotland indicates Scotland’s larger relative capacity to remove emissions than the United Kingdom as a whole. On the other hand, Wales focuses on achieving a 95% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 because it has “little possibility for CO2 storage” and “quite high agricultural emissions that are difficult to reduce.”

The effort should start from the grassroots level, across the board, policy, technology, and people’s behavior. Renewables, for example, are expected to contribute 70-85 percent of electricity in paths to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050. For transportation, energy efficiency and fuel switching are crucial. Improving food production efficiency, changing dietary habits, halting deforestation, rehabilitating damaged areas, and minimizing food loss and waste all have the potential to reduce emissions significantly.

Admittedly, getting to zero will be hard, somewhat unrealistic – but not impossible. The world already has some solutions that need to be deployed in a big way now, plus there is a burning need to innovate further in renewable technology. So, it’s time to collaborate and create a concrete plan to achieve renewable energy goals. It might be our LAST opportunity.

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