Nothing is more important than stopping climate change

As the clock ticks, we need to take concrete action.

A pair of activists recently threw soup at a famous painting by Van Gogh. A week later, protesters threw mashed potatoes at a painting by Claude Monet. The reason for these actions? The protestors wanted to see if the protection of art is more vital than the protection of our climate. Whether you agree with their methods or not, it’s a great question. 

Many scientists have documented that we are using an excessive amount of the world’s fossil fuels, natural gas and other non-renewable materials, and – worse – releasing too many by-products into the air. These actions can harm nature and negatively impact human lives in the process. Nations around the world have repeatedly gathered to discuss how to end climate change. But they haven’t settled on a concrete plan; most of their discussions hinge on rough, vague ideas. We must come up with new, solid plans for three reasons: current goals are not being met; climate change has negative impacts that are already noticeable, and because we do not have much time.

A plan exists to reach “net zero” by the year 2050. But that goal seems increasingly unattainable. “Commitments made by governments to date,” the United Nations reports, “fall far short of what is required.” In fact, current national climate change plans will lead to an increase of 11 percent, instead of the planned 45 percent decrease of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Worse yet, some countries have set a goal even further in the future; China, for example, set its goal as net zero by 2060. If we are unable to meet our goals even in the short term, how can any country claim that it’s ready to meet its long-term goals?

Stats and temps

Some people still resist the idea that climate change is already having a noticeable effect on the world around us. This is easily disprovable. Take, for instance, the unusually high and low temperatures in the last few years in British Columbia, where I live. Cities have been breaking records across the province. White Rock broke its heat record in June 2021. Lytton broke Canada’s highest temperature record in June 2021. Vancouver experienced the coldest October 10 in 123 years in 2022, immediately followed by the coldest December 2 in almost 70 years. Even a small amount of research can yield this many extremes in temperature in just the last few years. You are likely able to add your own examples.

Finally, and most importantly, we do not have an excess of time. The United Nations reports that greenhouse-gas emissions need to be reduced by 45 percent by 2030 to limit global warming to no more than 1.5°C, and we are not on the path to doing so. The effects of reaching this point are severe. NASA states that “extreme heatwaves will become widespread at 1.5 degrees Celsius warming.” They also assert that surpassing the cap will significantly increase the possibility of droughts, decrease water availability, increase extreme precipitation, impact biodiversity, further accelerate sea level rise, and increase general risks to human health. We cannot afford to sit around any longer without taking concrete action; we must spend the remaining time wisely

Although it may seem that efforts are being made to reverse climate change, they are not enough. As quickly as possible, we must create a new course of action, because our current goals are not met, climate change has noticeable impacts, and our time is limited. Looking out for the future of humanity is not a task that can be set aside. What else must we wait for?


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