The Masses Are Mobilizing for Climate Leadership
After a year of unprecedented wildfires, droughts, floods, and other natural disasters around the world, it is clear that the climate crisis is already upon us. Without more effective political leadership to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions immediately, the apocalyptic conditions of a warming planet will become the new normal.
LONDON – This year, extreme weather conditions have ravaged our planet, subjecting vulnerable communities around the world to the ever-increasing impacts of climate change. With each passing day, we learn more about – and experience directly – the dangerous consequences of extracting and burning fossil fuels. Floods, droughts, and wildfires are becoming deadlier, and weather patterns more severe.
Later this year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations’ scientific taskforce on the subject, will deliver its first major report in four years. It will outline in detail the devastating consequences that await us if we do not keep average global temperatures within 1.5°C of the pre-industrial level. Despite existing government and industry commitments, we have already reached the 1°C mark, and the impacts are terrible. We need urgent change.
Fortunately, immediate action to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions confers immediate benefits. When eight coal- and oil-fired power plants were retired in California between 2001 and 2011, the fertility rate in mothers living close to each facility increased within just one year.