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Response: What are we doing about it?

Video 1: UN Development Programme: to play with sound, scroll to the bottom of this page

Avoiding extinction: are we doing enough?

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What are we doing about it?

Summary

We’re heading for a climate disaster, and yet every year, governments spend hundreds of billions of public funds on fossil fuel subsidies. Imagine if we had spent hundreds of billions per year subsidising giant meteors? That’s what you’re doing right now.” – Video 1 (above) Velociraptor (on behalf of the the United Nations).

Unchecked carbon pollution is forcing the globe’s most vulnerable on a frog march to destruction. The facts are undeniable. This abdication of leadership is criminal. The world’s biggest polluters are guilty of arson on our only home. It is essential to meet the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C and science tells us that will require the world to cut emissions by 45% by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050. But according to current commitments, global emissions are set to increase almost 14% over the current decade. That spells catastrophe. It will destroy any chance of keeping 1.5 alive.”António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations introduction to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability (2022)

“The time is now, Ināia tonu nei, to lead the change we want to see and to remain steadfast to the values that underpin our nationhood—values like whanaungatanga, kaitiakitanga and manaakitanga.” – Climate Change Commission 2021

Avoiding extinction: are we doing enough?

Home > Climate wiki > Response

Avoiding extinction: are we doing enough?

 Video: UNDP: to play sound, scroll to page bottom

What are we doing about it?

Summary

We’re heading for a climate disaster, and yet every year, governments spend hundreds of billions of public funds on fossil fuel subsidies. Imagine if we had spent hundreds of billions per year subsidising giant meteors? That’s what you’re doing right now.” – Video 1 (above) Velociraptor (on behalf of the the United Nations).

Unchecked carbon pollution is forcing the globe’s most vulnerable on a frog march to destruction. The facts are undeniable. This abdication of leadership is criminal. The world’s biggest polluters are guilty of arson on our only home. It is essential to meet the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C and science tells us that will require the world to cut emissions by 45% by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050. But according to current commitments, global emissions are set to increase almost 14% over the current decade. That spells catastrophe. It will destroy any chance of keeping 1.5 alive.”António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations introduction to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability (2022)

“The time is now, Ināia tonu nei, to lead the change we want to see and to remain steadfast to the values that underpin our nationhood—values like whanaungatanga, kaitiakitanga and manaakitanga.” – Climate Change Commission 2021

Fig. 1: The top 20 countries for cumulative emissions 1850-2021 weighted by population in 2021 (left), versus the top 20 countries for cumulative per-capita emissions 1850-2021 (right). The ranking excludes countries with a population in 2021 of less than 1 million people. (Image: Carbon Brief)
Video 2: The 2021 Emissions Gap Report summarises the effects of failing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to keep the planet with a safe operating temperature.
Fig. 2: New Zealand is one of the worst countries in the world in terms of meeting its commitments to keep temperatures under 1.5C. (Image: Climate Action Tracker)
Fig. 3: Agricultural emissions increased to 50% of our total emissions in 2020.
Fig. 3: Agricultural emissions increased to 50% of our total emissions in 2020.

“The idea of planting trees in vast areas to remove carbon dioxide from the air and reduce the impact of climate change, for example, has attracted a lot of attention, with some claiming it’s the best “low-hanging fruit” approach to pursue, McElwee said. But large-scale tree planting could conflict directly with food security because both compete for available land. It could also diminish biodiversity, if fast-growing exotic trees replace native habitat.” –  Rutgers University, 2020

Fig. 4: Under the existing Emissions Trading Scheme, (ETS) the financial incentives to plant exotic trees are far greater than regenerating native forests. Radiata pine sequesters carbon faster in the trees, but not soils. More carbon is lost by the carbon-emitting harvesting methods, transporting felled timber (generally offshore), converting timber into wood products most of which will ultimately be burned or rot, releasing their carbon. Meanwhile, the biodiversity values and essential ecosystem services including soil carbon provided by natives are being sacrificed.
Fig. 5: To see an interactive map, click on the image. This will take you to the IPCC website. This screengrab is an example of how you can enter specific information for regions (in this example, New Zealand/ land only) and check the projected temperature changes over time, based on different models and pathways.

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