As 2020 has been a difficult year for all of us, and subsequently the planet. While the COVID-19 pandemic has been at the forefront, this year began with the devastating Australian Bushfires, and ended with a tropical storm hitting the coast of Mozambique. Locusts descended upon various locations, destroying countless crops and the Atlantic Ocean experienced its most active hurricane season on record, with 30 named storms as the season closed in November.
The year was marked by disasters. This was not only a disastrously bad year, but a preview of what is to come if we do not combat climate change. While all of these events can be described as natural disasters, there is overwhelming evidence that point towards man made climate change being the cause of these events.
A silver lining found during the pandemic was the drop in emissions due to the global lockdown.And while the emissions did drop, the number was no where significant enough to make a change to our overall trajectory. The world is still hurtling towards a temperature rise of close to 3 degrees celsius by the end of the century, far beyond the limits of the Paris Climate Agreement.
This year is not only difficult, it is a preview of what is to come if we don’t start tackling the climate crisis. Climate change will lead to the acceleration of pandemics, hurricanes, typhoons and wildfires. Pandemics are linked to biodiversity losses, and if we don’t combat the rate at which we are losing biodiversity, pandemics may become the norm.
2021 is a crucial year for climate action. As the vaccination process begins, and the world slowly enters normalcy again, we have to strive for a Green Recovery. A green recovery will put the world close to the pathway to 2°C, and growing commitments to net-zero emissions by 2050 – although more work would be required to reach the 1.5°C goal.
The data is out there, and we now have a preview of what is to come, should we ignore the science and continue down this particular path. The chasm between climate action and climate reality continues to widen, and 2021 may afford us one of our final chances to bridge it.
Emissions Gap Report – Full
Emissions Gap Report – Interactive