The Dangers of Climate Change

A growing issue addressed from the recent Cop27 summit and a creative solution.

“We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator,” says António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations. Every year we ignore climate change, the faster we drive ourselves into extinction. Addressed at the Cop27 (27th Conference of the Parties) summit, monsoons in Pakistan have submerged one-third of the country damaging over 2 million houses, 23,900 schools, and 1,460 health facilities, displacing more than 10 million people. Natural disasters can only grow more dangerous as climate change continues to be ignored. Highly developed countries are given blame because of their excessive fossil fuel usage, yet the fossil fuel industry has seen little to no change in the recent decades. According to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), around 80% of the world’s energy is supplied through fossil fuels. Some of the most concerning issues involve transitioning into cleaner forms of energy while maintaining modern efficiency and productivity.

Where are we now?

Recently, the Cop27 summit took place in Egypt on November 6th, 2022, where delegates were sent from different countries to provide a stance on their current financial situation and to help decide upon future plans on behalf of their country. Some familiar faces who attended were Joe Biden, the United States president, Rishi Sunak, the British prime minister, and Emanuel Macron, the president of France. A year before the summit, the Cop27 Committee worked with the UN Climate Change Standing Committee to ask for a $100 billion pledge from all its countries. The proposal included a $40 billion share from the United States. Upon the gathering at the summit, it was revealed from attending journalists such as The Guardian that the United States have only paid $7.6 billion of their pledged $40 billion. Similarly, other highly developed countries like Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom underpaid their pledged amount by billions. While the summit expects a $100 billion pledge, the last summit president, Alok Sharma of Cop26, estimates trillions are needed. Though this is an extremely high price, it is said to be significantly under realistic standards. The lack of sufficient funds from developed countries only jeopardizes climate change and multiplies its harmful effects. Developed countries are wary to contribute to the pact, as they fear for their own domestic productivity. Without these necessary funds, climate change will only continue to get worse and spread, creating a larger issue with more funds needed to fix it. On top of this, there are countless innocent developing countries affected by many massive natural disasters, all falling victim to the highly developed countries’ excessive fossil fuel usage. For example, a NASA study estimated that rising sea levels would reach an extra foot than the tides today. Cities like Fort Myers and Port Canaveral could eventually be completely submerged if no action is taken.

Cop27 delegates at the summitWhat is the plan?

Climate change must be addressed as soon as possible. During the summit, the Cop27 Committee, and the UN Climate Change Standing Committee discussed and implemented the Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda. The goal is to help transition society into a greener world by repairing damages from natural disasters in developing countries by 2030. Key topics the Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda addresses include:

Transitional Strategies Creating an efficient and sustainable future by transitioning technologies into greener alternatives like LED light bulbs, electric vehicles, removing subsidies given to fossil fuel companies, and gasoline-operated vehicle factories, etc.

Agriculture/Food Production Creating a sustainable food security at an affordable price while maintaining healthy environments for all animals. This includes not only boosting food production, but limiting food waste and affordable means of transportation around the world.

Innovative Financial Frameworks Creating financial frameworks on local, national, and international scales to promote eco-friendly projects. Some of these systems include issuing green bonds, environmental impact bonds (EIBs), debt-for-climate swaps, etc.

Cleaner EnergyEncouraging renewable energy, especially investigating Green Hydrogen energy, will contribute towards a net-zero emission future. Green Hydrogen energy is created by electrolysis from splitting the hydrogen and oxygen atoms found in water. 

Decreasing Water Scarcity Protecting and sustaining freshwater sources while finding innovative ways to clean polluted water. Supplying clean water to water-stressed countries is a priority to counteract the decrease in precipitation, increase in climate, and increase in natural disasters like droughts and heatwaves.

Private Sector Investment Spending Planning a strategic loanable plan for financing eco-friendly technologies, especially in developing countries. Creating a shareable fund for countries undergoing a devastating circumstance to help them back on their feet.

How could you help?

All the people in the world make this planet what it is; everyone has the ability to make a difference. The United Nations recommends a list of ten actions anyone can take to make their mark on the world.

Save Energy at Home Lower heating/cooling units and try to stay at room temperature. Consider using LED light bulbs and washing laundry with cold water. These changes could reduce your carbon footprint by up to 900 kilograms of carbon dioxide per year.

Volunteers and kids gardening in publicWalk/Bike/Public Transportation Consider walking, biking, carpooling, or taking public transportation. Limiting car usage could reduce your carbon footprint by up to two tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Eat More Vegetables Eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds reduces all the unnecessary energy needed to raise livestock for meat. Switching from a mixed to a vegetarian diet can reduce your carbon footprint by up to 500 kilograms of carbon dioxide per year (or up to 900 kilograms for a vegan diet).

Consider Travel Limit flights and try to take trains or meet virtually when visiting distant relatives. Just one less flight can reduce your carbon footprint by up to almost 2 tons of carbon dioxide.

Throw Away Less Food Try to use or eat all food bought, since energy was used to grow, produce, package, and ship this food to your plate. Compost any leftovers if possible. Cutting down on food waste can reduce your carbon footprint by up to 300 kilograms of carbon dioxide per year.

Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle Limit yourself to buying only items you know you will use, while repairing and recycling whenever possible. Every kilogram of textiles produced generates about 17 kilograms of carbon dioxide, that’s just six shirts!

Change Home Source of Energy Switch to renewable energy sources like wind or solar energy. Switching from fossil fuels to greener alternatives can reduce your carbon footprint by up to one and a half tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Switch to an Electric Vehicle Electric cars significantly cut on air pollution. On the other hand, these cars would most likely be charged through nonrenewable means. An electric vehicle can reduce two tons of carbon dioxide per year while a hybrid vehicle can save you up to 700 kilograms of carbon dioxide per year.

Make Money Count Buying and supporting eco-friendly products encourages those businesses to grow and expand. Invest in companies with positive messages and goals to indirectly make a change in the world.

Speak Up The more people aware of these social issues, the greater positive impact on the world. Tell your neighbors, friends, and family about these social issues. Businesses are run by the people; support businesses you would like to see grow.