A Change of Course. How to Build a Fair Future in a 1.5° World

The climate crisis is posing an old question with increasing urgency: What kind of world do we want? One that respects the basic needs and desires of all people for a good life in a healthy environment? One in which fair rules ensure social justice and prevent individual interests from becoming detrimental to the common good? One in which democratic involvement and social participation are possible? And one that offers all this to our children and their descendants on every continent?

Instead of coming closer to this type of world, we are constantly moving further away from it. People drown in floods triggered by extreme rainfall. Typhoons destroy their homes. Droughts force hundreds of thousands to abandon their parched fields for urban slums, and millions will lose their homes to rising sea levels. All these things are happening now and their frequency will increase dramatically if we do not address climate change before its momentum becomes unstoppable.

In December 2015 in Paris, member countries of the UN Convention on Climate Change decided that it was imperative to restrict global warming within the limit that would be “well below” 2°С, ideally no more than 1.5°С by 2100. It was reflected in the Paris Agreement, which came into effect on 4 November 2016.

The new 1.5°C limit is an unequivocal call to action. More needs to be done at once to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. By the second half of the century, the world is supposed to become “climate neutral.” The current commitments undertaken by countries to reduce emissions are not enough for success. Besides, the current development scenarios of many countries rely on questionable, risky and expensive technologies.

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