How to Share and Understand the I.P.C.C. Climate Report

Climate change will affect your life in a negative way if it has not already. These drastic changes are described in the I.P.C.C or UN Climate report. So, how can you prevent your life from being negatively impacted? One small way forward is to understand how ideas are spread.

A good discussion about the spreading of ideas is found on Jason Kottke’s blog. His discussion is based on an article written by Seth Godin. The article covers why people “send” and “understand” ideas. These ideas have specific relevance to the fields of Science and Sustainability. Both fields depend upon the spread of ideas in an understandable and accessible way. The following excerpt is borrowed from

“People send Ideas if:

  1. They understand it
  2. They want it to spread
  3. They believe that spreading it will enhance their power (reputation, income, friendships) or their peace of mind
  4. The effort necessary to send the idea is less than the benefits

People receive and process ideas if:

  1. the first impression demands further investigation
  2. they already understand the foundation ideas necessary to understand the new idea
  3. they trust or respect the sender enough to invest the time.”

Topics about climate change science can be difficult to understand. An increase in knowledge and understanding could help increase the spread of these ideas. It is important to make information concerning climate change easily distributed through social media. One idea could be a short summary that links to the full article. This information must also be intriguing enough to grab people’s attention and warrant further investigation.

If you are under 60 you will experience extremes in heat, temperature, and sea level rise.

The biggest takeaway, from the report, is there will consequences at 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperature levels. The current levels are around 1.0 degrees Celsius. If the world reached 1.5 there will be: extremes in heat, temperature, and possibly precipitation. If you live in a coastal area this will be particularly important for you.

What needs to happen to keep the Earth within 1.5C?

There is a great summary in an article by Christopher Joyce about the stipulations needed to stay within the 1.5 degrees Celsius. He writes:

“it would require a 40-50 percent reduction in emissions by 2030… It would mean a carbon-neutral world — one with no net additional greenhouse gases in the atmosphere — by 2050.”

This is obviously very challenging but with deliberate action change is possible. Not only is an increase in awareness important, but large scale transitions towards renewable energy and sustainable policies would have to be implemented.

How does this apply to people in Pittsburgh?

The article by Bill O’Toole covers how this report will affect people in Pittsburgh. There will be more landslides and flooding in the future. The aging infrastructure is mentioned as a potential barrier to the changes needed to prepare for landslides and flooding.

One barrier is Funding

The problem with any amount of changes, at a citywide level, is always funding. According to Grant Ervin who is cited in this article, there has not been enough funding from the state and federal levels. A question that arises is, where is the funding going? Should more funding be spent preparing Pittsburgh for flooding and landslides?

How can you make a difference?

Talk about and share these issues with others. Share the parts of the UN Climate report with others and ask questions. Part of creating big change is believing that change is possible when it seems unlikely. By presenting a positive hopeful viewpoint you help others feel inspired to make changes and push for policy changes.




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