A third graphic for your fridge

April 9, 2019

Where we are, where we need to go

I get that your fridge may becoming a bit crowded by now – but here’s a third graphic worth printing and contemplating: where global greenhouse gas emissions currently stand, and where they need to go.

GHG Emissions

A special report issued last October by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that, if we are to limit global warming to 1.5°C, we need to:

  • Reduce emissions globally by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 (just 11 years from now); and then
  • Achieve net zero emissions by 100% by 2050, just 20 years after that

The IPCC’s conclusion is represented by the dotted red line above.  (The solid red line represents continuing with ‘business as usual’.)

A few takeaways:

  • A 45% reduction in just 11 years is a daunting goal by any measure; it won’t be achieved if we fall into the trap of thinking we can wait 10 years and then just do it all in the 11th, so we need to act quickly
  • A 45% reduction is not just a minor tweak; it will require deep, fundamental changes to where we get our energy and how we use it
  • A 45% reduction for all translates into a 45% reduction for each of us, so here’s the big question: what can you (or I) do to reduce our carbon footprint by 45%? (To help, why not revisit this graphic of the sources of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions by sector, from March 27’s Green Ideas.)

True, you or I can’t do it alone.  But it’ll never get done without us.

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