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What the 'code red' IPCC report means and how we can make the biggest difference

What the 'code red' IPCC report means and how we can make the biggest difference

We had a visit from ITV Tyne Tees on the back of the shocking latest IPCC report described as a "Code red for humanity".

The reporter was keen to talk to people who are already devoting their lives to making a difference.

It has been great to see new faces coming to our shop after seeing us on the news, eager to support our cause in preventing goods from going to landfill. 

Click here to view the video report. 

What does IPCC mean?

The IPCC stands for Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and they are a part of the United Nations, the organisation that brings together countries around the world to deal with international issues. They look at the science behind climate change and they write regular reports with the findings.

Key findings of the report

We didn't need a report to tell us something is seriously wrong with the direction our planet is heading. 

As Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: "The evidence is already being screamed from the rooftops."

  • Global temperatures will rise above the 1.5c target if we don't act to reduce our carbon emissions. 
  • Sea levels will continue to rise by around 2m per year.
  • There will be more extreme weather events. 

But the crucial point is that we must act now to curb global warming. It is still possible to steer this planet around.  

 Who can make the most change?

We spoke with Sandra, friend of the Collective, who gave her reaction to the report. She has always been sceptical about climate change being anything other than a natural process and unrelated to human influence.

Sandra said: "I've been reading up on climate change and the IPCC code red report. It's a very disturbing read.

"However, after reading various different articles what I conclude, rightly or wrongly, is that we are going through a climate change as we have done in the history of the world, but at an accelerated rate which has been caused by humans.

"I think that climate change is inevitable but we (humans) can slow it down by making changes in the way we live. It seems that the UK are on track to meet some targets, whereas other parts of the world are not.

"The question I ask is 'What can be done to get those parts of the world to help slow down climate change?'.

This is an important question, one that raises many more in terms of climate justice and equality.

It is a sad reality that we live in a very unequal world with ridiculously rich people and those with nothing. While Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson blast off into space on a rocket-fuelled ego mission, people are struggling to get by. Space tourism is the last thing we need. It takes escapism and climate denial to a whole new level not to mention parading a new extraterrestrial echelon of wealth.

In the same way, it is the richest and largest companies polluting our planet the most. Some companies produce enough carbon emissions for an entire country - and many of these are at least part-funded (if not nationalised) by their governments. 

The Guardian put together a list of the 100 top global emitters of pollution back in 2017. China's coal powered economy was responsible for 14.32% of global carbon emissions between 1988-2015. China's main excuse for using so much coal was to develop its infrastructure and to build its economy, in the same way that much of the western world did during the Industrial Revolution. 

New studies show companies such as Saudi Aramco, Chevron and Gazprom contributing the most to the 480bn tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent produced since 1965

 

So what can I do to help?

As individuals, we can do little to affect the fortunes of government-backed oil giants or how much carbon they pump into our atmosphere - except from cutting back how much we use fossil fuels, using cars or flying less and by walking, cycling and using public transport more. We are now coming ever closer to the final stores of oil, coal and gas. Oil could run out by 2052, gas by 2060 and coal by 2090. This is just a lifetime away if we continue to use these fossil fuels at the same rate. As it becomes increasingly more costly to suck up oil, gas and coal from the ground, the impact of boycotting the likes of BP and Shell will be much bigger. 

Two of the biggest actions that one person could take to reduce climate change are to eat less meat and travel by plane less (or not at all!). 

  1. Meat-rich diets produce around 7.2kg carbon dioxide emissions a day, compared to 2.9kg for a vegan diet. 
  2. One return flight London-Rome produces 234kg of CO2.

But what the IPCC report stresses is that big changes are needed on a political and cultural level and they are needed ASAP.

Again there is some good we can do; protest, petition our governments, write to and boycott unsustainable companies or brands.

Joining forces and getting organised together makes our voices stronger and harder to ignore - as if the extreme weather events, rising temperatures and melting ice caps are not alarm bells enough! It's time to act. 

 

 

 

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