Red Flag for Mother Earth’s Health!
Abnormal Temperature Rise
The red flag is raised for the health of Mother Earth these days. Mother Earth, who was afraid of the constant increase in temperature, went to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and requested a diagnosis and prescription.
● Mother Earth: My temperature is constantly increasing. I’m so afraid because heatwaves, wildfires, droughts, and floods are occurring all over due to the rise in temperature. Every day I am afraid of what will happen tomorrow, and it is even hard to breathe. Why is this happening to me?
● IPCC: Mother Earth’s temperature has risen by about 1℃ compared to the pre-industrial era. If this continues, life will be in danger. Let’s take a closer look.
The main cause if rising temperature rise: Carbon dioxide
● Mother Earth: Actually, since industrialization began, I have been living an increasingly prosperous and convenient life, something I never experienced before. Those were very pleasant days. Was poison hiding in those great times?
● IPCC: Now, let me explain by drawing a graph.
The increase in Mother Earth’s temperature is due to accumulated greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.
A huge amount of carbon dioxide has been emitted since the Industrial Revolution began in the 1800s. For about 100 years since the early 1800s, carbon dioxide was mainly generated by coal, and for about 100 years since the early 1900s, it was primarily generated from petroleum.
The amount of carbon dioxide emitted so far has reached 45,873,850,000t (The World Bank, 2018). Such poison has been gradually accumulating in Mother Earth.
The current surface temperature of the Earth has increased by about 1.09℃ compared to 1850~1900. This is a very, very serious situation.
Direct link to IPCC 2021 ‘6th Assessment Report’ Summary:
IPCC published its 6th Assessment Report on August 9, 2021. The report emphasizes that it is clear that climate change due to global warming is caused by human influence.
The graph shows the trend of global surface temperature changes (black line) over the past 170 years divided into human activity + natural factors (brown line) and natural factors only (green line).
The green line shows the change in surface temperature assuming that only natural factors were present, such as the sun and volcanoes, and the brown line shows the combined impact of human and natural factors on the average annual surface temperature. Isn’t the brown line much steeper? You can notice that the increase in surface temperature is much greater when human influences were added.
What stands out in the report is the unprecedented increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and cumulative carbon dioxide emissions. As of 2019, carbon dioxide was measured at 410 ppm, methane at 1866 ppb, and nitrous oxide at 332 ppb, but before the industrial revolution, the Earth’s carbon dioxide concentration was 280 ppm. In particular, the concentration of carbon dioxide was at a level unprecedented in the past 2 million years.
Dark Future of Mother Earth
1.5~2℃ Rise in Temperature by 2050
● Mother Earth: How long can I live? I want to return to health as soon as possible. I want to get back to normal life as soon as possible, free from heatwaves, wildfires, droughts, and floods.
● IPCC: If conditions continue, the average temperature will rise by 1.5℃ by 2050 compared to the pre-industrial era. The symptoms will appear much more often and be more serious than they do now. If the average temperature rises to 2℃, the decline in the health of Mother Earth will be irreversible, and if it rises to 6℃, life on Mother Earth cannot continue.
If the global temperature rises by 1.5℃ compared to the pre-industrial era, the risks to the ecosystem and human life are likely irreversible. Therefore, 1.5~2℃ is called the climate defense line, and the IPCC predicts that the global temperature will reach this climate defense line in 2050.
The report predicts that 95 percent of life on Earth will become extinct when the global average temperature rises by 6℃ because methane hydrates will be released in large quantities.
Extreme cut on carbon emissions
● Mother Earth: How much carbon should I lose to remain alive?
● IPCC: Let me talk straight. Zero carbon emissions need to be achieved by 2050. Initially, by 2030 carbon dioxide emission needs to be reduced by at least 45 percent, compared to 2010 levels, and carbon neutrality, or net carbon emission of 0, achieved by 2050. To achieve this requires great determination.
Direct link to Global Warming of 1.5℃ Special Report (2018):
In conclusion, IPCC’s 1.5℃ ‘Special Report’ states that all countries must achieve net-zero by 2050 in order to limit the increase in global average temperature to 1.5℃ or less compared to the pre-industrial levels.
● Carbon Neutral refers to the activities that reduce the net emission of carbon dioxide (one of six greenhouse gases) to zero. In other words, carbon neutrality is achieved when the emission of carbon dioxide equals the absorption of carbon dioxide added by human activities.
● Net-zero refers to the activities that reduce the net emission of all six greenhouse gases to zero. Therefore, net-zero is more difficult to achieve than carbon neutrality. This is also called Climate Neutral.
Main Point to Achieve Net-Zero by 2050
● Mother Earth: We have been relying on fossil fuels for 200 years, so can we achieve net-zero by 2050?
● IPCC: If we compare this to weight loss, no matter what type of weight loss you aim to achieve, you are aware that ultimately you have to change your eating habits, right? Reducing greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, requires a major transition in energy consumption. It means cutting down on the use of fossil fuels and changing the diet to green energy (solar, wind, hydro).
Major Transition to Green Energy
The World Resources Institute (WRI) has suggested ten strategies for achieving net-zero. These include reducing coal power step by step, investing in clean energy and improving energy efficiency, renovating buildings, decarbonizing materials, shifting to eco-friendly vehicles, increasing the use of public transportation, decarbonizing airplanes, and ships, restoring forests, reducing food waste and garbage, and reducing meat consumption and increasing vegetable consumption.
Direct link to World Resources Institute’s (WRI) solution to achieve Net-Zero:
Especially, current internal combustion engines that emit a large quantity of greenhouse gases are expected to be replaced with eco-friendly, pollution-free vehicles, such as electric or hybrid vehicles in the near future.
Europe, the world’s largest electric vehicle market, announced a proposal for carbon emission reduction in July 2021, including the introduction of a Carbon Border Tax and a ban on sales of vehicles with internal combustion engines. Under the goal of reducing by 2030 net greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent compared to 1990 levels, sales of new vehicles with gasoline or diesel engines will be banned in Europe by 2035. New energy vehicles (NEV) are expected to make up over 35 percent of new vehicle sales in China in 2025.
The United States has announced plans for half of all new cars sold in the US to be eco-friendly by 2030.
1.5℃ Rise Could Happen by 2040
Carbon Reduction Is Necessary
Currently, global temperatures are rising much faster than predicted. IPCC’s 6th Assessment Report (2021) warns that if the current level of greenhouse gas emission continues, the global temperature is highly likely to increase by 1.5 degrees by 2040, which is within 20 years.
Therefore, we are in an urgent situation that may require pushing carbon neutrality ahead to 2040. Countries and corporations should accelerate their efforts to reduce carbon emissions. It is also time for individuals to set a daily carbon reduction goal for the health of the planet. Every big change starts with a small effort!
Make today day 1 of carbon-cutting!
Five practical methods to cut carbon use:
1. No meat Monday: each person who goes vegan for one day a week has the same effect as planting 15 pine trees that are 30 years old!
2. Remove unnecessary stuff from the car trunk: 2.3 kg reduction per 1 liter of gasoline
3. Use a personal water bottle: about 10 kg reduction per person per year (using 2 paper cups per day X 1 year = 8 kg of carbon)
4. Use second-hand products: 33 kg reduction per pair of jeans
5. Receive receipts digitally: 3 g reduction per sheet