Giving Compass’ Take:
• Katherine J. Wu discusses the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2018 report which indicates that humans have 12 years to take dramatic action to prevent the worst effects of climate change.
• What are the most impactful areas of improvement for funders to support? How can suffering be prevented in inevitable climate change?
• Learn about a fund investing in startups fighting climate change.
The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report on the forthcoming impacts of climate change. The consensus? It’s not looking good. As Jonathan Watts of The Guardian reports, unless the world makes some drastic and immediate changes to combat the damage already done, hundreds of millions of people may be irreversibly imperiled by drought, flooding, extreme heat and increased poverty in the decades to come.
Three years ago, nations in the Paris agreement issued a pledge reduce greenhouse gases with the stringent goal of limiting the rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels, circa the 1850s. But scientists and climate researchers alike were quick to vocalize their doubts about the practicality of this cap. In fact, this goal felt so infeasible that a second was proposed in tandem: aiming to stall at a 2-degree-Celsius (3.6-degree-Fahrenheit) rise, which scientists then considered the threshold for the most severe effects of climate change, reports Coral Davenport for The New York Times.
Climate scientists warn that these goals probably won’t be met without some serious new technological firepower designed to suck greenhouse gases back out of the air. Considering that such techniques could save us even in the event that we overshoot the 1.5-degree-Celsius mark, this route sounds pretty appealing. There’s just one problem: We still have to invent and conventionalize some of these tools before we can actually put them into use, Joyce reports.
Currently, a few experimental methods exist that can snatch carbon dioxide directly out of the air, but at up to $1,000 per ton of carbon dioxide, the price tag of such carbon capture is staggering—and billions of tons await extraction.
“The best way to remove carbon dioxide from the air,” explains MIT engineer Howard Herzog in his book Carbon Capture, is “to not release it into the air in the first place,” Joyce reports.
Read the full article about climate change realities by Katherine J. Wu at Smithsonian Magazine.
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