We are facing a climate crisis
In recent years, extreme weather events have been more frequent throughout Japan, and they are also becoming more intense. We experience a greater number of torrential rains, with hundreds of millimeters falling in just a few hours, along with river floods, landslides, and record-breaking heat waves exceeding body temperature. Global average temperatures are already about 1ºC above pre-industrial levels, and the Japan Meteorological Agency tells us that climate change is the cause of these recent extreme weather events.
Weather-related disasters like heat waves, droughts, torrential rains, and large-scale forest fires are impacting people all around the world, too.
The global average temperature has been steadily rising since industrialization began in the late 19th century, and the pace of warming has accelerated particularly since 1990. If we stay on this path, the risks of climate change will become even greater. We are at a critical moment in time that will determine whether or not humanity and other life can survive on the planet.
The biggest problem is burning of fossil fuels
Currently, the world emits 50 gigatons of greenhouse gases (CO2 equivalent) per year, mostly from the burning of fossil fuels. Without a major change in direction, we cannot stop this global temperature rise. On our current path, we may reach 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels as early as 2030, and it will continue to rise to 3ºC or 4ºC, dangerous territory that is unprecedented in human history.
To slow global warming to a level to which humans and other life can adapt, we need to limit the warming to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels.
The only way to avoid the climate crisis is to limit our use of fossil fuels and reduce atmospheric emissions of CO2.
To stop the climate crisis, systemic change is necessary
Undoubtedly, these are important and meaningful actions and should be expanded. However, the climate crisis is far beyond what any of us can do as individuals, and these actions alone are not enough to solve the problem. That’s because our lifestyles, livelihoods, and entire economies are intimately linked to energy and economic systems that depend on fossil fuels.
To tackle the climate crisis, we need to change these systems we are a part of. What we need now is a transition to a new economy.