A code red for humanity.” That is how the secretary-general of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, describes the climate crisis in the latest disturbing report on mankind’s failure to save the planet.
The problem is, of course, twofold. First, mankind has failed to pay much heed to the many preceding “code red” alerts about the extinction of life itself. Second, it is already too late to prevent some aspects of the climate crisis resulting in irreversible change in some areas.
That is not to say that on present trends nothing can be done – far from it. Because the temperature of our delicate earth is already about 1.09C above its pre-industrial norms, things will undoubtedly change for the worse for many millions of people. But if the world does nothing, those changes will become still more dangerous and unpredictable. Sea levels, for example, are already rising, and will probably rise further, even with international action. The challenge is to restrain the rise driven by human activity as far as, well, humanly possible. In other words, we have already gone beyond code red.
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