Action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and to tackle climate change can be organised more rapidly and have greater impact when it’s taken at the local level. Communities are urging their elected officials on municipal councils to introduce and implement measures to transition to renewable sources of energy, curb emissions of greenhouse gases, reduce waste, and improve energy efficiency in buildings.
The latest reports from the United Nations released in 2018 have confirmed that the world is still on course for catastrophic climate change caused by the continuing emissions of greenhouse gases. Already this year, several international agencies have confirmed that average global temperatures in 2018 were the fourth highest ever recorded. The years from 2014 to 2018 rank as the warmest 5 years on record, and 9 of the 10 warmest years in the last century have occurred since 2005.
Although over 190 governments committed to reducing their emissions in order to meet the 2015 Paris Agreement target of keeping global warming below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, last year’s Emissions Gap Report clearly shows that these commitments are inadequate. It’s anyone’s guess where global temperatures will be at the end of the century: probably at least 3°C higher, but even 6°C higher is within the realm of possibility.
It’s therefore perhaps not surprising that more people, especially younger people, are taking more direct and confrontational action. A group called Extinction Rebellion in the UK has disrupted London’s parliament and draped dramatic messages on bridges across the Thames; school children in Europe have taken to going on strike; and protests against pipelines are growing in intensity across the US and Canada. Getting arrested for protesting against what many people believe is an existential threat is increasingly seen as a legitimate and moral course of action.
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