Severe consequences of climate change are happening more rapidly than scientists believed would be the case even just a handful of years ago. A report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that carbon pollution must be cut by 45% within the next 11 years and must be at zero within about 25 years to avoid disastrous global warming.
Significant changes to the climate have already occurred as a result of global warming, disrupting agriculture, worsening food scarcity, poverty, famines, and flooding. Sea level is already seven to eight inches higher than at pre-industrial levels due to melting glaciers, and getting worse quickly. Warming is increasing the intensity of storms, changing habitat for insects and causing disease to spread. And this just scratches the surface.
The world needs an unprecedented mobilization to slow carbon emissions and stop them, a level some compare to the mobilization in the U.S. for World War II. The world must move rapidly to increase efficiency, replace fossil fuels with renewable energy, plant millions of trees, and remove carbon from the atmosphere. We must work to address climate adaptation and resilience. While these economic transitions will be costly to some industries and workers, these changes will also expand economic opportunities, industries and jobs for the future.