IPCC Report Finds Climate Consquences To Persist For Decades, Even With Aggressive Carbon Cuts
SALISBURY, MD- A new climate report from the IPCC released this week shows that the consequences of carbon emissions are going to be sticking around even if global governments hit the agreed cap of 1.5 degrees above normal temperatures.
The report shows that with that cap, the world still has nearly 3 decades of climate change-induced weather events to bear through before the CO2 in the atmosphere can dissipate.
For Delmarva, the effects of those decades of extreme weather events are serious, especially for Delaware.
“We are the lowest laying state and we know we are going to lose about 110,000 acres by the end of this century due to climate change and rising waters,” said Emily Knearl of the Delaware Nature Society.
Knearl works with the Delaware Nature Society, tracking the impact of climate change in the first state.
She believes the report lays bare that extreme weather in the form of flooding, high heat, and rising sea levels are here to stay.
“People are going to lose their homes along the coast people are going to lose the ability to live near larger bodies of water,” she said.
While that may sound grim , steps can be taken to make sure a climate crisis doesn’t become a calamity.
“With a bit of luck we can restrict the pain damage from the climate change that’s already in a bank to a survivable level,” said Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network Mike Tidwell.
CCAN works to hold polluters in Maryland accountable in court and works to lobby congress on behalf of climate change legislation.
He says the kind of restrictions that can achieve survivable levels of climate change can only come from the government.
“The number one thing is not to change your lightbulbs– it’s to change your politician if they are not doing the right thing,” he said.
Tidwell believes that many companies that relied on fossil fuels are transitioning away, as the value of their business model shrinks as renewable energy becomes cheaper, more widespread, and government-backed.
He believes the key is to not only push for green energy infrastructure but to have existing infrastructure update, to withstand new stresses from a more extreme climate.
It’s a policy goal shared by the Maryland Department of Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles.
Grumbles told 47ABC that Maryland has been leading the way on infrastructure spending on the state level through initiatives from Gov. Larry Hogan, and supports the infrastructure bill put forth by President Joe Biden.
He believes while their can be a success on climate change, on the state level, by transitioning wetlands and agriculture from sources of pollution to areas where carbon can be sequestered by having it be stored in biological ecosystems that pull carbon from the air, more effort needs to come from the federal government on upgrading infrastructure.
“For building those infrastructure systems that are going to be less vulnerable to flooding, we need federal assistance it’s a global challenge we have local impacts we need federal leadership,” Grumles said.
Those measures while expensive, will seem cheap in comaprison to the cost inaction will force future generations to pay.
“It’s just been so clear that everything we’ve done up until this point which is not that much is not going to get us there and we are headed to serious problems,” Knearl said.