Will we stay united?
As climate crisis unfolds, we will invent more ways to divide ourselves, testing our society's resilience. Living conditions of the marginalised can only worsen under such a future. Divisions in societies and between societies represent risks for unity, especially in a context that requires a global cooperation.
Fighting Climate Change will require a level of international collaboration and social solidarity that mankind has never needed before. To avoid breaching tipping points and to keep the Earth in a safe-zone, we need to stay below 1.5°C of global warming 1. At our current rate we will have released the CO2 necessary to cross that limit in less than 10 years 2. How can we possibly achieve such a rapid decline in CO2 emissions? The answer is simple and painful: we must stop focusing on growth and make an all-out effort to reduce emissions! Yet, doing so will result in mass unrest as those at the middle and bottom of the economic scale will suffer the most. The only way to address this is through solidarity, to guarantee to billions of people the basics of housing, health care and affordable food. We need to show collaboration and solidarity while transitioning to a zero carbon economy, by providing the means for all countries and individuals to reach environmental sustainability without falling into poverty. Climate Changes and Social issues are fundamentally linked to each other and should not be addressed separately 3. A failure to address those social issues will result in catastrophic humanitarian consequences, social unrest, migration crisis, civil wars… which will jeopardize, or even halt, any progress made toward sustainability.
Global Warming is an extraordinary opportunity for societies and humans to enter an age of altruism and collaboration. We need, more than ever, social and international unity to succeed in tackling the greatest challenge our species has ever faced, but we will need to be united.
IPCC, 2014, Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland. ↩︎
Remaining Carbon Budget, updated in Dec 2018, Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), Berlin, Germany. ↩︎
Alston 2019 Climate change and poverty — Report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights — A/HRC/41/39. United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) Special Report. ↩︎