While the whole world is currently overwhelmed by the COVID-19 global pandemic that seems like a never-ending battle, unfortunately the world is concurrently in another battle against climate change. When speaking of climate change, it is undeniable that the general awareness of it is there in our society – especially among the younger generation. A study showed that only 0.3% of Malaysian youth believe that climate change does not exist. It goes without saying that the younger generation do believe that climate change is happening.
On September 17, 2020; the Climate Clock was installed in New York – a clock that showed how many more time we had remaining to avert an all-out climate catastrophe. Scientists concluded that it is crucial to limit global warming to 1.5°C if we want to avoid some of the most impacts of climate change, including unsustainable rising sea levels, flooding, loss of coral reefs, wildfires and other disasters. As of today, Friday December 11th; we have 7 years & 21 days left before climate change becomes irreversible.
McKinsey & Company has come up with the 1.5°C challenge derived from their research that models three different scenarios and conclusively outlined the major shifts that need to happen in order to achieve limiting global warming to 1.5°C – comprising business, economic and societal shifts. 5 critical shifts were identified and here is the summary:
- Reforming food through adopting new alternatives to production methods that reduces meat consumption as well as curbing food waste and reforming forestry through halting deforestation through decarbonizing economic sectors.
- Electrifying daily lives routine which are our modes of transportations and buildings as a way to shift to zero-carbon alternatives.
- Reshaping industrial operations through tackling fugitive methane emissions, increasing industrial efficiency and electrifying industrial processes.
- Decarbonizing power and fuel by shifting to renewable, hydrogen or bioenergy as sources of energy.
- Ramp up carbon management and markets through carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS) and reforestation.
As daunting as it sounds, there is still hope if everyone plays their role in saving our Mother Earth – and we need to do it fast. Let’s all take decisive actions to keep warming under the 1.5°C threshold – as individuals and as industries, before it’s too late.
Nur Syafiqah Izzati Binti Zukaffli
PUTRA Centre for Social Studies