Last week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the third installment of its benchmark scientific study on climate change. There were no surprises in the report—the future looks bleak unless we take ambitious and immediate action towards reducing our global carbon emissions and changing our current energy portfolio.
The study deployed cutting edge modeling technology to research over 1,000 potential emissions pathways, and found that, without decisive action, our current emissions trajectory will likely lead to a 4°C (or more) temperature increase, causing increasingly dangerous super storms, wildfires, droughts, rising sea levels, and extreme temperatures. In this hotter world, accessible fresh water declines by 20% for a portion of the population, forests around the world—which are essential to carbon sequestration—are disseminated, and coral reefs die en masse.
The sobering report confirms that this is the decade of climate action, and in order to stay under the 2°C temperature increase (deemed as the safe zone that will ensure that life will continue as we know it), our exploits must be aggressive, incisive, and coordinated. Poor choices made today about emissions-intensive energy sources, infrastructure, transportation, agriculture, manufacturing, and buildings will lock us into a dystopic fate.
The longer we delay taking action, the more complicated and expensive it will become to stay within our 2°C safe zone. “We cannot afford to lose another decade,” said Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist and co-chairman of the committee that wrote the report. “If we lose another decade, it becomes extremely costly to achieve climate stabilization.”
The IPCC reports that a 39% decrease in current levels of global emissions is needed by 2030, increasing to 72% by 2050. To accomplish these goals, the IPCC urges for substantial transformation, calling for the decarbonization of electricity generation by 2050; the phase out of coal generation without carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology; the increase of low-carbon energy (solar, wind, hydroelectric, and CCS) by five-fold over the next four decades; a massive shift in consumption patterns, such as reducing food waste and altering diets; and decreasing the industrial sector’s energy intensity by 25%.
Poorer countries and communities are predicted to be hardest hit by environmental changes due to the inability to appropriately prepare, mitigate risk, or rebuild after disaster. Nonetheless, climate change doesn’t have a preference when it comes to gender, race, nationality, occupation, personal preferences, income bracket, or sexual orientation. It is a problem of the global commons, and it will affect every living being across the globe. It is therefore necessary for each and every one of us to participate in the solution.
According to the New York Times, “The good news is that ambitious action is becoming more affordable. It is increasingly clear that measures like tougher building codes and efficiency standards for cars and trucks can save energy and reduce emissions without harming people’s quality of life. And the costs of renewable energy like wind and solar power are falling so fast that its deployment on a large scale is becoming practical. Moreover, since the intergovernmental panel issued its last major report in 2007, far more countries, states and cities have adopted climate plans, a measure of the growing political interest in tackling the problem. They include China and the United States, which are doing more domestically than they have been willing to commit to in international treaty negotiations.”
At Green Builder Media, we take the responsibility of climate action seriously, and we’re doing everything we can to rise to the climate action challenge. Our team members engage in a wide variety of planet saving activities to do our part, from conserving energy and water, to greening our homes, to growing our own food, to reducing consumption, to minimizing transportation, and more.
On a corporate level, we try to reduce our footprint and offset our impact as much as possible. For example, to celebrate Earth Day this year, we are working with the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund to plant a tree in honor of each guestwho visits our VISION House® in INNOVENTIONS from April 20-26, 2014.
As storytellers and purveyors of thought-provoking content, the Green Builder Media team feels that it is our role to develop and disseminate solutions for a biophilic future, one in which we’re healthy, safe, happy, and living in harmony with nature.
To that end, we are launching The Celestia Project (look for our big announcement tomorrow!), an 11-part editorial series that will provide a glimpse into a sustainable future. The Celestia project tells a simple story about life in the future. We begin at a point in time when the major crises of human impacts have been solved and climate change has stabilized, and we work backwards to show how we solved problems and developed innovative solutions to deliver us to those greener pastures.
Fortunately, our decade of being thought leaders in the sustainability sector and working alongside the leading experts in the field have put us in a good position to tell this story. We recognize that, as a society we’re out of touch with nature, but solutions exist. Innovative entrepreneurs are developing breakthrough technologies and resource conserving solutions. Investors are divesting from fossil fuels and putting their capital into clean energy solutions. And old business models are rapidly shifting as the sharing economy transforms our economy and consumers make more informed choices than ever before
We have many important topics to explore. The Celestia Project will investigate them in a way that is both beautiful and hopeful. We truly believe that despite the seemingly insatiable wanting of modern society, a joyful and abundant future lies ahead.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—at Green Builder Media, our commitment is unwavering and our task is clear: to continue exploring the frontiers of sustainability. We are pleased that you’re here to join us for this wildly exciting journey into the future.
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