This isn't your average climate change report. This is a comprehensive study of climate impacts sponsored by 20 of the world's most vulnerable nations. As expected, the report finds that things are bad. Really bad. Here's the breakdown:
As if 100 million people dying by 2030 wasn't bad enough, we're also set to lose trillions of dollars if we do nothing about climate change:
Bu there's a silver lining to all this doom and gloom. This report should finally put to rest three of the most egregious arguments against climate action brought up time and again by those working to block progress.
Top three arguments debunked
Global warming is a hoax. 400,000 people die each year from climate change and another 4.5 million from carbon intensive industry. To suggest climate change is a hoax is not only wrong, but dangerous. Lives are already being lost.
Taking action is too expensive. A favourite line among obstructionist politicians. The truth of the matter is that it's too expensive not to act. Climate change and the carbon industry cost $1.2 trillion in 2010 and may cut global GDP by 3.2% a year by 2030, whereas only 0.5% of GDP is needed to reduce emissions.
Climate change is a long way off. Nope, it's here. Climate change can now be considered one of the leading causes of death in the world. The impacts are happening and are only going to get worse. It's past time to act.
So what now?
There's another common argument that deserves debunking: that "we can't solve this thing". True, we might be a long way from everything that's needed, but we're getting closer every day. Here are four important stories from the past year that the media mostly missed:
The deployment of renewable energy is booming. Already renewable energy accounts for nearly 20% of the world's electricity. This is huge.
The Montreal Protocol, one of the great success stories of international politics, might soon be used to eliminate extremely potent greenhouse gases. So far 108 countries have signed up in support.
Countries have a unique opportunity to develop a new legally binding climate treaty by 2015. This is an important step for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which has struggled since Copenhagen to find its footing.
Finally, and most importantly, the movement is growing in big ways. Earlier this year over 1 million people stood up to industry interests, demanding an end to fossil fuel subsidies. And in the past few weeks over 500,000 Avaaz members joined together to help stop a renewable energy trade war, a fight that's still ongoing. People all over the world are taking action – and forcing results.
Sources: United Nations, Daraint, AFP, Common Dreams, Bloomberg, Reuters, New York Times, Guardian, Huffington Post, Avaaz