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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

There’s still hope

Climate change, seen by storm chasers as an urgent threat to millions of lives, has become the most serious threat to life.

But climatologists agree there are solutions and they are well understood.

In 2015, world leaders signed a major treaty called the Paris agreement to put these into practice.

Core to all the solutions is reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which must get to zero fastest.

Because both forests and oceans play vitally important roles in regulating the climate, increasing the natural ability of forests and oceans to absorb carbon dioxide can also help stop global warming, weather experts say.

The main ways to stop climate change are to pressure government and business to:

Keep fossil fuels in the ground. Fossil fuels include coal, oil and gas -– and the more that are extracted and burned, the worse climate change will get.

Invest in renewable energy: Changing our main energy sources to clean and renewable energy is the best way to stop using fossil fuels.

These include technologies like solar, wind, wave, tidal and geothermal power.

Switch to sustainable transport: Gasoline and diesel vehicles, planes and ships use fossil fuels. Reducing car use, switching to electric vehicles and minimizing plane travel will not only help stop climate change, it will reduce air pollution too.

Improve farming and encourage vegan diets: One of the best ways for individuals to help stop climate change is by reducing their meat and dairy consumption, or by going fully vegan.

Restore nature to absorb more carbon: The natural world is very good at cleaning up our emissions, but we need to look after it. Planting trees in the right places or giving land back to nature through ‘rewilding’ schemes is a good starter.

Protect forests: Forests are crucial in the fight against climate change, and protecting them is an important climate solution.

Cutting down forests on an industrial scale destroys giant trees which could be sucking up huge amounts of carbon.

Protect the oceans: Oceans also absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which helps to keep our climate stable.

But many are overfished, used for oil and gas drilling or threatened by deep sea mining.

Reduce plastic: Plastic is made from oil, and the process of extracting, refining and turning oil into plastic (or even polyester, for clothing) is surprisingly carbon-intense.

Demand for plastic is rising so quickly that creating and disposing of plastics will account for 17 percent of the global carbon budget by 2050 (this is the emissions count we need to stay within according to the Paris agreement).

What is the Paris Climate Agreement, and why does it matter?

Everything you need to know about the world’s most important climate change treaty

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, and feel climate change is too big to solve.

But we have the answers; now it’s a question of making them happen.

All these solutions need strong international cooperation between governments and businesses, including the biggest polluters.

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