Earth Day offers a great chance each year to take stock of where we stand and so this year, in light of the gravity of the circumstances we face and the thunderous discourse on the subject, Minimum wants to pose the question: is there any room for optimism? We certainly think so!
Minimum wants to pose the question: is there any room for optimism? We certainly think so!
Distressing findings from the latest international climate mitigation report, published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), have made global headlines this month. Jim Skea, co-chair of the working group behind the report claims it’s ‘now or never’ for sufficiently far-reaching and timely climate action. Without immediate action we are extremely likely to overshoot the target of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees, with our current track putting us on the path to 2.8-3.2 degrees of warming by 2100. This red alert and its severity certainly hasn’t come completely out of the blue, of course, but that doesn’t make it any less alarming.
Some of the key findings from the April 2022 IPCC report include:
All told, it’s not looking especially good. Reading the science can often inspire bouts of nihilism and deter people from taking positive climate action, simply because it all seems too late, or they wonder what difference they can possibly make.
Climate fatigue and anxiety is common and something we’re sure many of us have experienced. Indeed, a global survey of 10,000 students conducted by the University of Bath in September 2021 found that it is particularly rife among young people. Nearly 60% of those approached said they felt very worried or extremely worried about climate change, more than 45% of those questioned said feelings about the climate affected their daily lives and over half (56%) think humanity is doomed. These feelings of ‘climate doomism’ or ‘eco-anxiety’ can understandably sometimes be overwhelming but it’s also important not to let them induce fatalism. At best, this might convince people to stop trying and at worst it can justify environmental neglect.
That’s one of the reasons we at Minimum believe it’s important to stay optimistic in the fight against climate change. The window to act is certainly closing fast… but it is still open!
While it cannot possibly be stated enough that without sweeping and immediate action we find ourselves on a path to vastly overshoot the international target for a 1.5 degree climate and face catastrophic consequences as a result, the findings from the latest IPCC report indicate that we do have the necessary tools at our disposal to effectively tackle the issue.
Although there is clearly still a way to go in changing policies, attitudes and habits, we must not lose sight of the fact that we do ALREADY have everything we need to battle this crisis. We have the knowledge, the means and the weapons within our grasp to win this fight. We know what needs to be done and we know how to do it. There are no unknown unknowns facing us around what we need to do.
We have made some exciting progress and necessary steps to reduce GHG emissions around the world, particularly in industrial nations where the green transition is most needed.
However, despite having the relevant tools at hand, there’s still a huge gap between targets and current action. It’s evident that we’re moving much too slowly in the face of an existential crisis, but there’s no reason we can’t drastically change our course of action and, indeed, it is simply imperative that we do. We must all continue the necessary hard work and strive to keep the pressure on the various decision makers and business leaders who have the power to set policy and drive impactful, positive change.
Quite simply, we no longer have a choice in the matter.
“As we approach the 52nd Earth Day, it’s still evident that the world desperately needs to reduce its carbon emissions. Yet, at the moment there is a remarkable lack of accessible tooling for businesses to manage their climate impact. Minimum was founded to change that. Our vision is to make it as achievable as possible for any organisation to calculate, report on and reduce its carbon footprint.”
“Earth Day is always an apt time to reflect on the state of play in the climate crisis. It’s clear beyond any doubt that there is so much we still need to do and that the time we have in which to do it is rapidly vanishing. Nevertheless, it’s super important to not lose sight of the great strides that have been made in recent times and let fatalism seep in. We’ve come a long way already and it is absolutely within our power to fix the mess we find ourselves in but we need to do more and we need to do it immediately. It certainly won’t be easy but, with nothing less than the future habitability of the planet at stake, we simply have to believe it can still be done.”
1. IPCC Sixth Assessment Report - Mitigation https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg3/resources/spm-headline-statements/
2. IPCC Sixth Assessment Report - Adaptation https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sixth-assessment-report-working-group-ii/