Climate change is certainly the biggest challenge facing humanity, yet there is still time to fix it.
The first thing to do is make clear that climate change is a consequence of human interference. This fact has been confirmed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Nobel Foundation in Sweden, who is in charge of awarding the Nobel prizes.
If you don’t believe us yet, check out the following to see if you’re convinced.
Each year we release almost 30 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, as a result of the burning of fossil fuels like oil, natural gas and coal.
The main sectors responsible for fossil fuel consumption and CO2 pollution in the atmosphere are:
• Electric power generation
This means we need political decision for change to happen. An important step to take action will occur when the current Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.
We need to ask our leaders for an agreement more ambitious than the Kyoto Protocol, which targets reduction of 80% of CO2 emissions by the middle of this century.
However, not only politicians and world leaders must commit; everything we do in our everyday lives to tackle climate change, matters.
2. How effective the Kyoto Protocol has been, and how a new agreement could help to halt climate change?
First of all, we should review some recent history. In 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was established. To date it has been ratified by 189 countries which recognized it as a national priority. Years later, in 1997 the Kyoto Protocol was created.
This well-known protocol is the main mechanism of the UNFCCC that aims to achieving its goal: to stabilize the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at a level that prevents dangerous human interference with the climate system.
In other words, the Kyoto Protocol seeks to minimize human impact on climate change. It came into force in 2005, and it was the only global legal mandate bound by a treaty aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Some countries such as the United States did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol mechanisms, and demand more effective mechanisms, but they have not proposed other environmentally effective and economically viable options
The governments of developing countries that ratified the protocol are regarded as Annex I countries. They have a special agreement to reduce their collective greenhouse gas emissions by 5% in order to reach levels before 1990.
Developing countries, known as non-annex I Parties, are not required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
However, in order to keep global temperature rise below 2 °C, much more drastic cuts in CO2 emissions are required.
3. If climate change doesn’t stop, would we be able to adapt?
WWF's top priority is to mitigate climate change.
We are optimistic and believe that we can stop CO2 emissions in order to minimize the effects of global warming and avoid the dangerous increase of 2 °C.
We believe that we are able to maintain the impact of climate change within tolerance levels.
The truth is that climate change is a reality we are already living, and that it is affecting nature and humanity all over the world. Extreme weather, torrential rains and tsunamis harm biodiversity by threatening valuable ecosystems.
Therefore, we have many decades of hard work, risks and great amounts of investment for nature conservation and development of a sustainable future ahead.
Most of the poor suffer because they live in exposed regions where they have no way to protect themselves or face up to the challenges produced by natural disasters.
Thus, rather than just strengthen prevention abilities to anticipate future negative scenarios, WWF also promotes recovery based on conservation.
WWF concentrates its efforts on understanding the impact of climate change on tropical forests, the Arctic glaciers and coral reefs in order to develop conservation strategies for the recovery of threatened ecosystems and communities.
WWF designs recovery based on conservation by means of tools that help control pollution, prevent loss of habitats and establish protected natural areas.
Only quick action to reduce CO2 emissions will bring a long-term solution to the problem of climate change.
4. How much does offsetting carbon emission contribute to solving climate change?
Offsetting carbon emissions is the second option; the best thing to do will always be avoiding all emissions.
Offsetting carbon emissions by funding renewable energy projects is becoming increasingly popular and gaining supporters among small and large companies
A company can avoid the carbon emissions chain by applying the following steps.
1. Assessing current emissions from production, air conditioners, lighting and trips.
2. Avoiding CO2 emissions by identifying activities that are not necessary; for example, replacing business trips with video conferencing.
3. Improving energy rationing by calculating and ensuring the efficiency of its use in order to stop unnecessary expenses.
4. Offsetting emissions that cannot be avoided by investing in clean energy projects certified by WWF with the Gold Standard
5. Reviewing the strategies used to prevent emissions every year, in order to improve them as to be more efficient. The goal should be to reduce compensations to zero in the medium term.
5. What can you do together with WWF, companies and communities?
We can help you in every possible way to address this global problem. Here you can find some ideas that can help you do something.
As an organization, WWF works to keep global warming in its current state and prevent global temperature from increasing by 2 °C. This would be very dangerous because climate change would reach uncontrollable proportions.
WWF offers solutions to climate change. We suggest a vision of energy use which, by 2050, allows us to reduce global CO2 emissions by 80%, and therefore avoid that dreaded increase of 2 °C in global temperature
6 points have been identified to address the challenge of meeting energy demand so as not to damage global climate.
• Improve energy efficiency.
• Halting deforestation.
• Accelerating the development of clean technologies.
• Developing flexible fuels.
• Replacing coal with natural gas.
• Equipping fossil fuel plants with carbon capture technology.