For decades, climate change was an issue shelved in the back of our minds, a problem for the future, but worrying predictions are now becoming a reality. This year will be remembered as the year the world woke up to this impending environmental catastrophe. Global leaders have known about the destructive effects of global warming for decades and failed to act. Far from being a discussion of the science, action on climate change has been bogged down by misinformation and denial.
Climate action has become part of the zeitgeist, yet global emissions keep inching up. Donald Trump digs coal, Russia has made no climate commitment at all and oil-guzzling nations such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait still question the science. Even in the UK, the push to take climate change seriously is still new. For many, the news of impending doom is a bereavement – a calamity we created without being aware of what was happening. Some feel angry, betrayed, and millions around the world are taking to the streets demanding change.
In many ways, 2019 has been the year of action. It saw the rise of Greta Thunberg, school strikes and Extinction Rebellion. Many climate scientists say they feel more hopeful now than ever before. However, time is no longer on our side. We’ve already seen sharp reductions in polar ice, strings of heatwaves and menacing wildfires. Homes have been submerged after extensive flooding in South Yorkshire, while Venice saw the highest tide in 50 years.
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