Dawn of the Apocalypse — A Hollywood movie or real life? Why the UN’s Climate Change Report is a frightening wake-up call for all of us

Today I am in a rather sombre mood. I have read the Climate Report published by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) this morning and their conclusions are stark and grave.

I am running out of superlatives to express the seriousness of this issue. This is the boldest warning to date from climate scientists. Within the next two decades, temperatures are likely to rise by more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, breaching the ambition of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Bringing with it, widespread devastation.

Only rapid and drastic reductions in carbon emissions in this decade, the 2020s, can prevent such climate breakdown.

Scientists have been sounding the alarm on the climate crisis for decades, and they have been ridiculed or dismissed as being melodramatic or over-exaggerating the situation.

Their warnings have been so apocalyptic. So dystopian. One can sometimes see why so many ordinary people have struggled to believe it. Surely this can’t be true? That sounds like a tomorrow problem, not a “today” problem. We have more pressing matters to deal with which are hurting our communities right now. Those need our attention first. Right…?

Meanwhile, millions of dollars have poured from the pockets of those causing the most harm to the climate, all with the goal to lobby and persuade governments to turn a blind eye so that they did not have to change their business practices, not to mention face potential financial losses. They have been incredibly successful too. That’s what is so gut-wrenching about reports like this today.

Governments have dawdled for far too long and as a consequence of their inaction, we face a devastating global emergency. One that is far worse than the recent and ongoing global health pandemic.

As we are seeing with alarming regularity, warnings from scientists about what our future holds are no longer in the distant future. It has arrived. People are experiencing the results of climate change now, with increasing floods, wildfires, heatwaves, deep freezes, and storms.

This is not a script for a Hollywood disaster movie. This is real life. If we don’t change, there will be no happy ending. We simply won’t survive. It’s that brutal a truth.

I echo the comments made by the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres who has rightly stated, this is CODE RED for humanity. He said: “If we combine forces now, we can avert climate catastrophe. But, as today’s report makes clear, there is no time for delay and no room for excuses. I count on government leaders and all stakeholders to ensure COP26 is a success.”

I for one will be watching the actions of Governments at COP26 very closely and sincerely hope we see an acceleration in urgent climate action.

I say this again. The time for talk is over. The world needs to take real and hard-hitting urgent action. Now.

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Louisa Bartoszek

Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer of Treehouse. A London-based ESG-focused fintech. Trying to reverse climate change. One tree at a time 🌳