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Why should we learn about climate change?

NZB explore the importance of learning about this critical topic

Climate change is one of, if not the biggest concern that humans are currently facing. Earth’s resources are limited, and with 97% of scientific research papers saying that climate change is happening because of human activity, the pressure is on all of us to take responsibility for this and to mitigate climate change.

`There is as deep a consensus about human-caused climate change as there is about gravity.’ (Professor Michael E Mann)

As with anything, we are constantly learning about new and better ways to live our lives that are beneficial for helping climate change. But are we doing this quick enough? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated that we must limit global warming by 1.5°C by 2030, and CO2 would need to decrease by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ by 2050. This means that there is still much work to be done if we are going to get closer to reaching those targets.

The big question is what would happen if we do not reach these important targets? Without policy changes, scientists are predicting 4°C of warming by the end of the century. Scientists from the world bank have researched the impacts of 4°C of warming, finding that they are potentially devastating. Added to this, the risk of reaching tipping points rises sharply, and this is where a critical threshold in a system is crossed and it irreversibly changes into a different state. At this point, it wouldn't matter what humans were to do as it would be out of our control.

Analysis conducted by Climate Central found that of 4°C of warming could be catastrophic for sea level rise globally. With a median of 8.9m of sea level rise, this would be enough to submerge land & homes for 627 million people. There are technologically and economically feasible pathways where global warming remains below 2°C, and we all have our part to play to achieve this.

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‘A 4°C world can, and must, be avoided.’ (Dr. Jim Yong Kim)

At NetZero Buildings, our environmental & sustainability team are running a carbon literacy training programme which is accredited by The Carbon Literacy Project. This training course teaches staff about climate change and gives them the knowledge needed to create this vital change in the way we live and work. It also helps to drive the motivation to change the parts of our collective behaviour that result in greenhouse gas emissions. Our aim is to have all of our staff ‘carbon literate’, and so far a quarter of our staff have successfully completed the training.

If we’re to make change, then it has to happen now and it starts with educating everyone about the situation that we face.