According to estimates from the UN, a mere 1 degree Celsius increase in global temperatures will make severe weather more likely in many parts of the world. The worrying thing is, at the moment, it looks like we could be headed toward a 2 degrees celsius increase in the next few decades. This begs the question — will we be able to fight climate change and slow down this current trend?
At Aspiration, we think there is hope. As an eco-conscious online platform, we’ve been following the progress that governments and communities have been making to help the planet transition to a low-carbon economy. People are taking concrete steps to lower their carbon emissions despite all the doom and gloom that’s in the news.
In this article, we’ll explore how governments and ordinary citizens are fighting climate change, and why there’s hope that we’ll win the fight against climate change.
How will climate change impact us?
Climate change will affect all of us, but maybe not in the same ways.
Where we live and what existing medical conditions we have will determine how severe the impacts of climate change will be for each of us. How wealthy we are will also affect how much protection we can seek from the potential dangers.
Here are three ways that climate change could affect our lives very soon.
The weather will become more severe
Climate change modelers have found that extreme weather will plague most parts of the United States if climate change is not mitigated. Sea levels will rise so much that by 2035, coastal cities will be flooded and slammed with hurricanes every few months or so. Homes could be destroyed by wildfires, storms, and floods and millions may get displaced.
Hot cities will get hotter
People living in urban centers may suffer from heat-related food shortages and chronic diseases. Researchers predict that rising global temperatures will cause more droughts, crop failures, and fires to happen than what we’re seeing today.
Some models show that chronic poverty will become widespread, especially in the southeastern United States where more than 570 million labor hours could be lost to the heat. Workers may lose their jobs or become unable to work because of the unbearable heat.
Health problems will increase
We’ll also probably see an increase in anxiety, depression, allergies, heatstroke, and PTSD among people who are most exposed to the extreme weather consequences of climate change.
Drier weather and wildfires will create poor air quality while floods will increase the risks of waterborne diseases. Although these scenarios are expected to happen in the next two decades or so, we’re already seeing signs of these changes in our cities and towns. This leaves us with a difficult question: Is there hope to fight climate change?
Is there hope to fight climate change?
Yes. Despite the bleak climate outlook, the world is working together to implement climate change solutions at breakneck speed.
We already have most, if not all, of the solutions we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change mitigation initiatives, from carbon trading programs to reforestation projects, are being adapted and put into action by governments, grassroots projects, and civil society organizations all over the world.
Since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, we’ve seen the price of clean energies like solar and wind power drop to become the cheapest source of electricity in history, signaling promise that we’ll be able to get rid of fossil fuels in the next few decades.
But most importantly, we’ve seen people’s attitudes toward climate change shift from ambivalence to concern. People are taking to the streets to pressure their governments to take more action on climate change. National leaders can no longer ignore the destruction climate change is causing to their economies, communities, and security.
As these trends gain more traction, we’re likely to see more individuals adopt eco-conscious habits. Several consumers are already choosing to buy socially responsible products that do not contribute to climate change, such as electric vehicles and home solar electric power systems.
5 reasons that we’ll win the fight against climate change
Bold commitments from political leaders and cheap clean energies give us hope that the tide against climate change can be stemmed. For the first time, people around the world are taking bold collective action to transform all aspects of our society to be climate-friendly.
Here are five reasons why we’ll win the fight against climate change.
Governments and communities have pledged to fight climate change
Governments both national and local have made commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The U.S., for example, has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050. It’s following in the footsteps of China, which promised in 2020 to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 despite being the world’s biggest producer of greenhouse gases.
To meet these targets, governments are working with key actors in agriculture, clean energy, and urban development to address climate issues such as emissions from vehicles and agricultural waste.
Cities, in particular, have come under scrutiny for their greenhouse gas emissions. Studies have found that cities are responsible for 75% of the world’s global carbon emissions.
As a result of these findings, mayors of cities like Lisbon, Athens, and Austin have steadily reduced their carbon emissions by enacting green building codes, building bike lanes, and installing clean energy power grids.
Consumers are becoming eco-conscious
Consumers are becoming more aware that their purchases and spending habits have a direct impact on the environment. They now prefer to buy from brands that produce long-lasting, sustainably-sourced products with a low environmental impact.
As a result, common product waste like plastic packaging and microbeads are slowly disappearing. They’re now being replaced with eco-friendly alternatives like cardboard and biodegradable plastic which are not made from fossil fuels.
And it’s not just everyday consumer items that are changing. Expensive purchases like fossil fuel vehicles are now being phased out by environmentally-friendly electric vehicles.
Even traditional car manufacturers like General Motors are taking heed of these changes. In January 2021, GM announced its plans to completely replace all of its internal combustion engine vehicles with electric vehicles by 2035. It’s part of their “all-electric future” plan that will see the company become carbon neutral at all of its facilities worldwide.
Companies are setting greenhouse gas reduction targets
Companies all over the world are switching to clean electricity and sustainable supply chains to reduce their environmental impact. It’s an ongoing trend among companies to align their business plans with the global temperature goals set in the Paris Agreement.
With help from environmental organizations like the World Resources Institute, companies are learning how to set greenhouse gas reduction targets that are science-based. If the targets are met, more than 750 million tons of carbon dioxide could be prevented from going into the atmosphere.
Walmart, for example, has pledged to reach zero carbon emissions by 2040 without relying on any carbon offsets, while Apple has promised to become carbon neutral in the manufacturing processes of its phones, tablets, and computers.
Clean energy is becoming more affordable
As companies clean up their business operations, clean energies are becoming cheaper.
According to a study by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IREA), renewable energies such as solar and wind power are now cheaper than the cheapest coal-powered electricity plants.
This is all thanks to rising consumer demand for renewables and increased production of renewable energy systems. Between 2009 and 2019, the costs of solar panels, wind turbines, and electrical parts fell by more than 50% due to advances in technology.
As a result, more than 12 million American homes are powered by solar energy today. By 2023, it’s expected that this number will double. And if this trend continues, there might no longer be a need for coal-generated electricity in the next few decades.
Low- and middle-income countries are now building their solar and wind farms as demand for electricity surges in their countries.
Individuals are taking action against climate change
The rise in climate protests around the world signal hopes that people are tired of climate inaction by governments and major corporations.
People are tired of living in cities thick with smog. They want to stay healthy and give their children a happy future where they don’t have to worry about floods, wildfires, and storms all the time.
Polling data shows that these sentiments are shared by both young and old people around the world, regardless of their ideologies and nationalities. The prevalence of social media and the internet has helped galvanize action against the injustices caused by climate change.
Now more than ever, people are buying personal carbon offsets and participating in reforestation programs to do all they can to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If these trends continue unabated, we may be able to reverse climate change before it’s too late.
Aspiration will help you fight climate change
Aspiration is a sustainable financial services company that does not invest in any fossil fuels or harmful industries. We are a B Corp certified platform that puts the health of the planet at the forefront of all our business practices.
We offer up to 1.00% APY (Annual Percentage Yield is variable and only available to Aspiration Plus members after conditions are met) on our savings, more than what most major banks provide. We also allow investments in clean, sustainable investments through our Mutual Fund, which you can join with a $10 minimum investment.
Join Aspiration today and make your money work for the planet.