Currently, almost all the countries of the world are joining efforts so that the average temperature of the planet does not increase more than 1.5°C between now and 2100, but why?
So far, the increase caused by human activities is about 1°C compared to the period between 1850-1900. If this trend continues, the temperature is likely to increase by another 0.5°C between 2030 and 2052. And if the effects of 1.5°C are already undesirable, those of 2°C are no better. For example: in mid-latitudes, extreme hot days are projected to be up to 3°C hotter than at present, if the average global temperature rises by only 1.5°C, but if it rises by 2°C, extreme hot days will be up to 4°C hotter than current ones. Climate models also project that the number of hot days will increase in almost all terrestrial regions, and even more so in the tropics.
The second example is rainfall; in some regions, droughts will be more severe with a 2°C increase than with a 1.5°C increase; at the opposite extreme, extreme rainfall will cause, on a global scale, more land affected by flooding with a 2°C warming than with a 1.5°C warming.
And the last example is sea level rise, with model-based projections suggesting a rise of between 0.26 and 0.77 meters between now and 2100 if global warming is 1.5°C, which is 10 centimeters less than if it were 2°C. Ten centimeters may not seem much, but it makes a big difference for 10 million people who would be exposed to the risks associated with this half-degree.
We could go on and on about the consequences these changes will have on biodiversity, on our health, on food security or on local and global economies, but at this point we would rather talk about how to take action, and more specifically about climate action.
To stabilize temperature, we need to achieve climate neutrality. This refers to creating a balance between sources and sinks of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. CO2 has been given the most attention because it causes ¾ of the warming due to human activities and because more opportunities have been found to reduce it.
Climate neutrality is at all scales, from entire countries to individuals like you and me, to companies, NGOs, municipalities, etc. All these organizations are still groups of people, so it is up to us to act and extend our influence as much as we can.
To achieve climate neutrality the first thing to do is to know how much greenhouse gas emissions we generate, that is, our climate footprint or if we talk only about CO2, our carbon footprint. On the Internet you can find carbon footprint calculators, such as this one offered by 2°Much! that take into account food and transportation habits. From the moment we calculate our carbon footprint, we get an idea of the activities we can change to reduce our CO2 emissions. For emissions that we do not manage to avoid, we can resort to carbon offsetting.
Climate offsetting consists of using carbon sinks to capture carbon from the atmosphere and store it, preventing it from continuing to contribute to global warming. By supporting a climate offsetting project, such as 2°Much!, several things happen:
- You offset your CO2 emissions and can achieve climate neutrality,
- You contribute to global climate action if you offset more emissions than you generate,
- You support us in our mission to restore ecosystems (not just plant trees), which are the natural sinks par excellence,
- You favor the sustainable development of the local communities of the sites we restore, an essential aspect for the ecological, social and economic equilibrium to last, and
- You become an example to follow for the people around you.
In our project catalog, you will find many options to participate in climate action, from individual trees, gifts for couples and friends, to habitat restoration for animals such as pronghorn, aplomado falcon or black bear.
Alejandra Verde Medina