If we don’t stop climate change Earth could look like it did three million years ago when giant ground sloths roomed the planet. There was very little permanent ice at the poles and sea levels were around twenty meters higher than what they are today. We have already reversed a fifty million year cooling trend in just two hundred years. And by 2030, global overage temperatures could rise another one to two degree Celsius like those seen during the Earth’s mid-Pliocene epoch. These conditions would dramatically alter the future for humans. With rising sea levels Extreme weather and a higher average temperature would make life harder for millions of people. Today climate change is among the most serious challenges facing humanity. Campaigners are calling for drastic action to rethink global CO2 emissions.
The COP-21 Paris Agreement limiting greenhouse gas emission was a major achievement on the road to meeting the threat of climate change. But as the evidence becomes increasingly unambiguous that human activity is destabilizing the Earth’s climate and biosphere, policymakers will need to do more. The inherently shared nature of the threat underlines the need for closer and more comprehensive international cooperation to preserve the habitat in which human life has thrived. 2018 has seen more intense heat waves, wildfires etc.
Meanwhile, greenhouse gas emissions keep rising potential tipping points mean that those boundaries could be breached unexpectedly, abruptly, and irreversibly. And time is the essence. The UN Inter-governmental panel on climate change warns we have very little time left to act to avert climate disaster. The risks are underscored by the latest U.S National Climate Assessment, as well as the U.K. government’s new climate projection.
In 2015 G20 leaders aims to increase the visibility of climate-related financial risks, thereby allowing markets to price those risks and financial investors to manage them. This is another way to bring environmental externalities into prices.