My Expressions

Date : 20 April 2020

  • Young Voice
  • Ananthu Krishna S

Why is climate change, as a big challenge?

Climate change is expected to have unprecedented implications on where people can settle, grow food, build cities, and rely on functioning ecosystems for the services they provide. In many places, temperature changes and sea-level rise are already putting ecosystems under stress and affecting human well-being. We are facing an existential threat and rapid prioritization of attention and action is necessary. If we continue along our current path, scientists say that the consequences will be devastating, having implications on where we live, how we grow food and other services vital to our well-being.

A 2°C increase could mean more heatwaves, a ten-fold increase in Arctic ice-free summers and a complete wipe-out of the world’s coral reefs, home to millions of species.

What is the impact of coronavirus?

The impact of the coronavirus crisis on climate could depend ultimately on choices made regarding how governments want their economies to look when they recover and in particular, how much they will continue to rely on fossil fuels.

Meeting the Paris Agreement’s central goal of limiting global warming will require reducing this reliance.

How is climate change impacting the world?

According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), there is no country that is not experiencing the drastic effects of climate change.

Greenhouse gas emissions are more than 50 percent higher than in 1990. Global warming is causing long-lasting changes to our climate system, which threatens irreversible consequences if we do not act. The annual average economic losses from climate-related disasters are in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

This is not to mention the human impact of geophysical disasters, which are 91 percent climate-related, and which between 1998 and 2017 killed 1.3 million people, and left 4.4 billion injured.

Climate change is adversely affecting human health and that health risks are projected to increase.

Solutions are within reach and much can be done by acting on present knowledge, but this requires political will. With current trends in greenhouse gas emissions, a global average temperature increase of over 3°C above pre-industrial levels is projected by the end of the century. The increase will be higher over land than the oceans, exposing the world population to unprecedented rates of climate change and contributing to the burden of disease and premature mortality.

Health risks will increase due to climate change which includes:

  • Increased exposure to high temperatures and extreme events such as floods and droughts, air pollution and allergens.
  • The weakening of food and nutrition security.
  • Increased incidence and changing distribution of some infectious diseases (including mosquito-borne, food-borne and water-borne diseases).

Is there a growing risk of forced migration?

What can be done?


Climate action means stepped-up efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-induced impacts, including climate-related hazards in all countries; integrating climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning; and improving education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity with respect to climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning.

If we don’t act now everything will get out of control. UNDP’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 is Climate Action.

Goals of SDG 13: Climate Action

  • Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries
  • Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning
  • Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning
  • Implement the commitment undertaken by developed-country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to a goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion annually by 2020 from all sources to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund through its capitalization as soon as possible
  • Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries and small island developing States, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities

What are the solutions to accomplish SDG 13?

Limiting climate change requires a major shift in investment patterns towards low-carbon, climate-resilient development, including infrastructure estimated to cost US$4 trillion a year until 2030.

The solutions listed below provide a wide range of finance options to significantly increase resources that can help halt and adapt to climate change:

  • Carbon markets
  • Carbon credit mechanisms
  • Crowdfunding
  • Environmental trust funds
  • Lotteries
  • Payment for ecosystem services
  • Public guarantees
  • Taxes on fuel
  • Taxes on renewable natural capital

The effective implementation of Climate Action can:

  • Avoid an estimated 2.4 million premature deaths from outdoor air pollution annually by 2030
  • Prevent as much as 52 million tonnes of crop losses per year
  • Slow the increase in near-term global warming by as much as 0.6°C by 2050
  • Prevent climate tipping points that can exacerbate long-term climate impacts and make adapting to climate change harder, especially for the poor and most vulnerable.

Fighting climate change gives us a chance to put the wellbeing of people first by ensuring a right to a healthy environment. This will give us an opportunity to enhance human rights, for example by enabling more people to access cleaner and cheaper energy resources and create job opportunities in new sectors.


Ananthu Krishna S

BBA (2019-2022), Amity Global Business School, Kochi, Kerala

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