You may have seen the International Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report on the state of our climate. If not, I don’t recommend it. As with all IPCC reports, it is scientifically precise, but not what you would call a good read. And there is a fair bit of depressing news, as there always is in climate science reports.
Here’s their summary: “Scenarios with low or very low greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (SSP1-1.9 and SSP1- 2.6) lead within years to discernible effects on greenhouse gas and aerosol concentrations, and air quality, relative to high and very high GHG emissions scenarios (SSP3-7.0 or SSP5-8.5). Under these contrasting scenarios, discernible differences in trends of global surface temperature would begin to emerge from natural variability within around 20 years, and over longer time periods for many other climatic impact-drivers (high confidence).”
Essentially, it says what we already know: aggressive action on climate is needed in the near term. We have until 2030 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 50%.
It’s also telling us something critically important: we will see a difference in surface temperatures within 20 years depending on which path we take.
We are now deep enough into the climate crisis where we, and our children, will experience different futures based on decisions we make today and over the next few years.
Here at the Geos Institute, we are working to address the reality of the climate crisis by establishing a system of climate services to help communities do their part nationwide.
Our research of all fifty states is almost complete. What have we found? Climate action is happening in all states, even in those where state government has abdicated its responsibility. In those cases, civic organizations and academic institutions have stepped up to the plate. Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of our state summaries. We will use this information to encourage federal investments that support and build on what is already happening on the ground.
I find inspiration in the IPCC report precisely because it is telling us that we will see a different future based on how we respond. We have the power now to create the future we want. Something about that timeline kicks us out of thoughts of the “future” being far away and fuzzy.
The future is not far away and fuzzy. No. The future is in our lifetimes. At the Geos Institute, we are leaning in hard to make sure that we hit the necessary climate targets while building resilience in the face of the impacts along the way. Thank you for supporting our work and for all you are doing to lean in too.
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