What is global warming?
Global warming is a phenomenon characterized by an increase in the average level of temperature on the Earth’s surface.
What is the cause of global warming?
The greenhouse effect is the main cause of global warming. Originally, it is a natural phenomenon that contributes to maintaining the average level of temperature. However, due to the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere linked to human activities, it is intensifying causing global warming.
What are the consequences of global warming?
Global warming in 2020 shows no signs of slowing down, alarming scientists, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a body responsible for regularly assessing climate change. Indeed, some impacts are already threatening the environment.
Most popular impacts of global warming:
- More frequent and severe weather
- Higher death rates
- Higher wildlife extinction rate
- More acidic oceans
- Higher sea levels.
2021, a crucial year to accelerate the fight against global warming
The year 2020 was presented as a turning point for climate action. Five years after the Paris climate agreement, states collectively had to go faster and further in the battle against global warming. The Covid-19 pandemic decided otherwise. As 2021 offers a catch-up session, the expectations and hopes are even greater.
The next few months will be crucial to accelerate the efforts of States to a climax: the 26th World Climate Conference (COP26), to be held in Glasgow (Scotland) in November 2021, after being postponed by one. year. This event, which promises to be the most important since 2015, should show that a tipping point has been crossed in the action. It is urgent: climate change continues to worsen, and 2020 is expected to rank among the top three hottest years on record.
Why 2021 is so decisive in the fight against global warming?
Countries only have only a limited time in which to act if the world is to stave off the worst effects of climate change.
Here are four reasons why 2021 could be a crucial year in the fight against global warming:
1- Countries are already singing up to deep carbon cuts
And there has already been progress …
The most important announcement on climate change last year came completely out of the blue. At the UN General Assembly in September, the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, announced that China aimed to go carbon neutral by 2060.
That was a complete turnaround from past negotiations, when everyone’s fear was that they might end up incurring the cost of decarbonising their own economy, while others did nothing but still enjoyed the climate change fruits of their labor.
And China is not alone
The UK was the first major economy in the world to make a legally binding net zero commitment in June 2019. The European Union followed suit in March 2020.
Since then, Japan and South Korea have joined what the UN estimates is now a total of over 110 countries that have set net zero target for mid-century.
And with the election of Joe Biden in the United States, the biggest economy in the world has now re-joined the carbon cutting chorus.
2-Renewables are now the cheapest energy ever
In October 2020, the International Energy Agency, an intergovernmental organization, concluded that the best solar power schemes now offer “the cheapest source of electricity in history”.
Renewables are already often cheaper than fossil fuel power in much of the world when it comes to building new power stations.
And, if the nations of the world ramp up their investments in wind, solar and batteries in the next few years, prices are likely to fall even further to a point where they are so cheap it will begin to make commercial sense to shut down and replace existing coal and gas power stations.
3- Covid-19 changes everything
The coronavirus pandemic has shaken our sense of invulnerability and reminded us that it is possible for our world to be upended in ways we cannot control.
It has also delivered the most significant economic shock since the Great Depression.
In response, governments are stepping forward with stimulus packages designed to reboot their economies.
And the good news is it has rarely – if ever – been cheaper for governments to make these kind of investments. Around the world, interest rates are hovering around zero, or even negative.
The European Union and Joe Biden’s new administration in the US have promised trillions of dollars of green investments to get their economies going and kick-start the process of decarbonisation. Both are saying they hope other countries will join them to help drive down the cost of renewables globally. But they are also warning that alongside this carrot, they plan to wield a stick – a tax on imports of countries that emit too much carbon. The idea is this may help induce carbon-cutting laggards – like Brazil, Russia, Australia and Saudi Arabia – to come onside too. The bad news is that, according to the UN, developed nations are spending 50% more on sectors linked to fossil fuels than on low-carbon energy.
4- Business is also going green
The falling cost of renewable and the growing public pressure for action on climate is also transforming attitudes in business.
There are sound financial reasons for this. Why invest in new oil wells or coal power stations that will become obsolete before they can repay themselves over their 20-30-year life?
Indeed, why carry carbon risk in their portfolios at all?
The logic is already playing out in the markets. This year alone, Tesla’s rocketing share price has made it the world’s most valuable car company.
Meanwhile, the share price of Exxon – once the world’s most valuable company of any kind – fell so far that it got booted out of the Dow Jones Industrial Average of major US corporations.
At the same time there is growing momentum behind the movement to get businesses to embed climate risk into their financial decision making.
The aim is to make it mandatory for businesses and investors to show that their activities and investments are making the necessary steps to transition to a net zero world.
Seventy central banks are already working to make this happen, and building these requirements into the world’s financial architecture will be a key focus for the Glasgow conference.
It is still all to play for.
So, there is good reason for hope but it is far from a done deal.
Solutions to fight against global warming
Human activities, whether at the level of a household, a business, a community or a state must imperatively take into account the evolution of the climate and global warming. It’s that simple.