– Climate change is an existential threat to humans and our ability to thrive on a healthy planet. But when it comes to rising temperatures, the inability of humankind to slow emissions and limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius isn’t because we lack knowledge or need new technologies.
Consider: Humans have been warned for more than a century about the dangers of a warming climate and its adverse impact on human health and planetary systems, including but not limited to loss of biodiversity, decreased soil and ocean health, increased sea-ice melt and corresponding sea-level rise, and amplified disasters such as hurricanes, floods, heat waves and droughts.
Fifty years ago, “The Limits to Growth” warned humans of the serious need to live in balance with Earth’s systems. The science is settled. Likewise, technologies that drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions are available and increasingly cost-competitive–particularly in energy production and transportation, two of the most significant contributors to global emissions.
What is missing? This is not a difficult physics equation. While we live in a complex world, the laggards in this area are observable: money and societal will.
As countries enter the second week of the global negotiations at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, typically referred to as COP27, success will depend on the ability of the negotiators to mobilize investments and advance policy at the conference to accelerate opportunities for progress in altering the trajectory of climate change.