The race to save the planet from self-decay because of the never-ending climate crisis is more important now than ever before. The climate crisis is known to be so broad because it encompasses a range of environmental global issues that desperately need our attention.
Air Pollution and Poor Governance
A recent report published by Scientific reports proclaimed that, in theory we could “already be past a point of no return for global warming.” This could arguably be due to poor governance around the world. According to a recent article published by Earth, “economists and environmentalists have urged policymakers for years to increase the price of activities that emit greenhouse gases.” This is because greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane are one of the world’s largest environmental problems. Therefore, if governments were to implement carbon taxes it would stimulate innovations in low-carbon technologies, which would certainly benefit the planet by reducing carbon emissions.
This idea is as innovative as it is remarkable, and it is a large stepping-stone in the right direction. Did you know that a national carbon tax is currently implemented in 25 countries around the world? Although this sounds like a spectacular initiative to help slow down global warming, there’s still a lot of work to be done. In 2015, it was recorded by Oxfam that 50% of carbon emissions are attributed by the richest 10% of people in the world, unlike the poorest 50% of the world which only attributes 10% of emissions. This data still seems relevant in 2020, thereby placing the argument that the richest one percent of the world’s population are responsible for the emissions growth.
Continuing to enable the rich to emit vastly more than those in poverty is unfair. It raises significant questions of who contributes to the climate crisis, and who really suffers the consequences of it?
A fair system must be developed. This revolves around one that acknowledges and compensates for the fact that wealthy nations exploit their capability to emit a large amount of carbon. This then contrasts with poverty-stricken nations who are faced with no choice but to endure the negative implications of the climate crisis. As a result of this, organisations such as the World Economic Forum have introduced the term carbon inequality, in an attempt to tackle environmental and social injustices through political and economic means.
It has now been widely recognised that climate change and biodiversity are interconnected. But what is biodiversity? According to Britannica, a loss of biodiversity is, “a decrease in biodiversity within a species, an ecosystem, a given geographic area, or earth as a whole.” This loss describes the number and genetic variety of species in a given area (aka. biological community), which, ultimately leads to a breakdown in the functioning of the ecosystem where decline has already happened.
For example, clearing trees from a forest eliminates the shading, temperature and moisture regulation, animal habitat, and nutrient transport services they provide to the ecosystem. Additionally, abrupt biodiversity loss has already occurred due to marine heatwaves that bleach coral reefs in tropical oceans. The conversation states that “the risk of climate change causing sudden collapses of ocean ecosystems is projected to escalate further in the 2030’s and 2040’s.”
Biodiversity loss represents a significant threat to human well-being. In many countries a large percentage of people rely on their immediate natural environment for their food security and income. Furthermore, the sudden disruption of local ecosystems would negatively affect their ability to earn an income and feed themselves, which could potentially push them into poverty.
How can we try to resolve and prevent this issue?
It would be fair to say that England would not survive if the loss of biodiversity continues to increase, especially at such a rapid pace. England is simply not equipped to sustain itself sufficiently. It is very much dependant on the imports from foreign and even poverty-stricken countries for natural resources. Ultimately, I can’t imagine a world without biodiversity. In support of this, the survival of different plants and animals is crucial. For example, bees play a key role in spreading pollen which is scientifically proven to be good for our health.
Avoiding this high-risk future is possible. By rapidly reducing fossil fuel emissions we can keep global warming well below 2 degrees. Therefore, we would be able to decrease the large percentage of species that are being exposed to the dangerous climate change. This can massively reduce the risk for biodiversity, which can once again help stop the dangerous acceleration of the climate crisis.
By Irene Madanhi