We could only have a few years to address the threat posed by climate change.
According to an article published by the scientific journal Nature, we may have as little as three years before the effects of climate change become irreversible. The article, which was written in part by Christiana Figueres, whose work is partially responsible for the Paris Climate Agreement, warns that 2020 will be crucial for two reasons.
2020 Will Be A Major Year For Climate Change
The first is political. U.S. President Donald Trump has pledged to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, and November of that year is the earliest at which that can be done.
The second reason is even more unforgiving than the whims of Washington politics. The article points out that according to research conducted by a variety of institutions, the temperature goals set forth in the Paris Agreement will be unattainable if overall emissions are not decreased. Additionally, the 2015 goals set by the UN Sustainable Development Goals would also be much more difficult to reach.
Luckily for us, there isn't some great mystery to solving the problem of climate change. We merely need to lower our emissions, which is something that is already happening. Numerous countries, including the United States and China, have already taken steps to reduce their carbon emissions.
Climate Change And Jobs
Some, such as President Trump, have argued that addressing climate change would hurt economic growth, but recent data indicates that is not the case. Over the course of the past three years, overall CO2 emissions from the production of fossil fuels have remained flat while the economy has grown, on average, at a rate of 3.1 percent. This is the first time in the past 40 years in which emissions have fallen or remained flat during a time of economic growth
Figueres points out that we do not have to choose between jobs and protecting the planet. We can, and must, do both.
"We have finally realized that this is not an either-or situation," says Figueres. "We can create jobs, we can recreate communities that have lost jobs. We can improve the quality of life in urban and rural areas and precisely by doing what we can to improve climate change"
Obviously, jobs are important, and we need to work to ensure that everyone can make a decent living. However, jobs do us no good if the planet is inhabitable. There is also the very real fact that increasing temperatures can have a negative effect on some segments of the economy such as farming.