Twelve years is precisely how long last year’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ground-breaking report said we have to limit global warming to 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels and prevent the catastrophic, potentially world ending, destruction that further warming would cause.
Yet, twelve years in the future is not where we should be focusing our attention. Climate change is here and it is already producing damage and destruction throughout the world on a scale never before seen. Record breaking wildfires in North America. Unprecedented flooding in Asia.
Extreme losses in biodiversity. Mass extinctions. Never before seen migration flows. Rising inequality between rich and poor, north and south, west and east. Climate change has been and will continue to adversely affect every facet of the human experience.
Climate change is THE defining issue of our generation. The stakes are as high as they can possibly be and the time to act is rapidly passing us by. Inspiring young leaders such as Greta Thunberg, Jamie Margolin, and Xiye Bastida are choosing to take up the mantle of leadership on this matter in the absence of concerted efforts in the upper echelons of our national governments and international institutions.
Now, Sciences Po and the HDRI must join this global movement to
steer the conversation, give climate change the attention and rigorous review it deserve, and push our global leaders to take immediate action.
Our planet depends on it.
Jared Forman is our Environment and Climate Change Research Coordinator for 2019-2020.