In 2018 the UN’s International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) highlighted that we have just 12 years to prevent average world temperatures rising above 1.5C.
Beyond that and we risk a future of biblical flooding, massive forest fires, daily temperatures in some cities approaching 50C as well as mass migration and species extinction.
To achieve temperature stabilisation carbon emission must be reduced by 45 per cent. It would be too easy to dismiss these warnings as fake news or even to shrug one’s shoulders and say, ‘so what?’
Where and how we live, work and travel and manage our neighbourhoods not only affects our own lives but every creature and plants we share the planet with.
Some local councils recognise this and have placed carbon neutrality at the centre of their future plans. Obviously carbon is a natural part of the atmosphere but we add to it mostly from transport, energy, farming and buildings.
Offsetting emissions with zero carbon solutions is necessary and achievable. Improving technologies such as electric cars, hydrogen-powered trains, renewable power, energy efficient homes and more sustainable farming can all make a measurable difference.
Nature itself is a formidable ally in the battle for human survival. Trees and hedges absorb CO2 and through photosynthesis re-charge the atmosphere with oxygen. Of the 150 top prescription drugs 120 are based on plants.
Two thousand square kilometres of our countryside has been lost to development in six years and Britain’s tree cover is lowest in Europe at 13 per cent against a European average of 35 per cent. The government has promised a greener future with a raft of measures over the next 25 years.
A 15-year-old Swedish schoolgirl, Greta Thunberg, addressing the world’s top business people in Davos, said: ‘We have to understand the emergency of the situation. Our leadership has failed us. Young people must hold older generations accountable for the mess they have created. We need to get angry, and transform that anger into action.’