Is it too Late to Stop Climate Change?

Personal Article

Climate change. It’s an issue that has been known for decades. But is it too late to stop it now? Or do we still have time?

by Kiersten Ngeow

2020 is a year unlike any other. From Florida to California, we see extreme weather that is devastating our environment. Extremely dry weather turned vast areas into tinderboxes, igniting even the slightest sparks into massive disasters. While storms in the east coast have occurred so frequently, that we’ve run out of names for them—and we’re not even close to the end of the hurricane season.

But why is this happening? What’s causing these drastic global weather changes?

Climate change is the abrupt increase in the Earth’s temperature through the increased release of greenhouse gasses caused by the burning of fossil fuels, which leads to the trapping of the Sun’s heat. The more heat we trap, the warmer our planet becomes. This has led to disastrous effects, from extreme heat, the rapid rise of sea levels, and the increased risk of wildfires and other natural disasters.

With these effects impending on our world, a trilemma arises: is it too late to stop climate change? Or are we able to change the course of history and stop it?

It’s too late:

According to National Geographic, climate change has been a serious issue that we’ve known about for over 30 years. Despite this, NASA reports that CO2 emissions have dangerously continued to increase by “47% above pre-industrial levels found in 1850”. To put this in perspective, the amount of CO2 in 1850 was 185 ppm (parts per million) and on September 16, 2020, stands at 414.87 ppm (parts per million).

This leads to our question: why is climate change still on the rise, if we’ve known about this for decades?

Climate change is a big issue that has drastically changed the world. To stop it, we would have to enact immense changes to have a chance at stopping climate change. These changes would fundamentally alter our way of life and the world as we know it.

But what drastic steps do we need to take?

To have a chance at stopping climate change, these are the steps Franzen says we’d need to take:

  1. The entire world would have to enact severe measures in limiting its carbon emissions. This could mean shutting down entire countries’ economies and shutting down energy and transport infrastructures.

  2. Countries must act correctly in fighting against climate change. Globally, the vast sum of money spent in hopes of stopping climate change must be precisely targeted towards projects that are the most effective, instead of being wasted in marginal measures.

  3. Every human being on Earth today would have to accept and adapt to the drastic changes required to stop climate change. This would mean adopting extreme lifestyle changes to stop climate change. Additionally, these drastic changes would have to be willingly. The issue of climate change can’t remain in the back seats of our minds, as Franzen says, “Every day, instead of thinking about breakfast, they have to think about death.”

The list of challenges we will have to confront doesn’t end there. In 2019, the UN released this startling report explaining that, these 11 (now 10) years, doesn’t mean that the world will end by 2030. However, it does mean that in order to reach the necessary goal of cu