Global Warming / Climate Change -- What Are Current Weather Events and Dramatic Changes Telling Us?
The National Geographic describes “Global Warming” as a set of changes to the Earth’s climate, or long-term weather patterns, varying from place-to-place. The dramatic changes in the rhythms of climate could affect the face of our planet – coasts, forests, farms, mountains…all hang in the balance.
So, also hanging in the balance: the fate of humanity!
Explains NatGeo: “Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, cloud forests are dying, and wildlife scrambles to keep pace. It’s becoming clear that humans have caused most of the past century’s warming by releasing heat-trapping gases as we power our modern lives. Greenhouse gases (GhGs) are at higher levels now than in the last 650,000 years.” *
“Climate Change” is the less politically-volatile term used by leaders in the public and private sectors (such as in the numerous shareholder-presented proxy resolutions that are on the ballots of public companies for owner voting and in the language of corporate sustainability reporting).
Carbon Dioxide emissions (CO2) released into the atmosphere have increased by a third since the start of the Industrial Revolution, and so addressing this challenge would logically be a prime responsibility of those who benefitted most from the 200-year-plus revolution – pretty much all of us!
The political climate in most of the developed industrial world is mostly reflective of the will to do “something” – witness the almost 200 sovereign nations signing on to the Paris Agreement in 2015 (“COP 21”) to work together and separately to holding the temperature rise to well below 2-degrees Centigrade (3.5F), the pre-industrial levels -- and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5-degrees C above pre-industrial levels. (“As soon as possible.”)
The Agreement also calls for the increasing society’s ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience including low GHG emissions development. **
The outlier nation to the agreement, sad to say, is the world’s largest economy and significant GHG emitter, the United States of America, which has begun the withdrawal process from the Paris Agreement. This week we present a selection of top stories about climate change – and global warming! – to illustrate the effects of a changed climate around the globe. And to send signals to the doubting policymakers in Washington DC that the threat is real!
The good news is that many corporate managements, powerful institutional investors, and public policy makers in a growing number of cities, states and regions are committed to the goals of the Paris Agreement and working to implement steps to hold the line – to build resilience – that will benefit all of society.
We really do have to hurry -- take a look at what is happening around our planet:
This is just the introduction of G&A's Sustainability Highlights newsletter this week. Click here to view full issue.