ed_hawkins12 karma2019-06-20 16:09:14 UTC
Thanks for the question. First, reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases (mainly carbon dioxide) will reduce the rate of warming, but while we continue to emit those gases the warming will continue. However, there are also ways of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, such as reforestation. If we wanted to reduce global temperatures then we would need to remove more greenhouse gases than we emit. Last, there are more dramatic actions which could be taken to artificially cool the planet such as putting giant mirrors in space, or by launching reflective particles into the upper atmosphere.
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ed_hawkins11 karma2019-06-20 17:40:13 UTC
Several things individuals can do:
1) Eat less meat and dairy
2) Cycle, walk and use public transport rather than cars (or use an electric car)
3) Fly less
4) Buy energy from a renewable source
5) Better insulate your house
6) Reduce waste, reuse and recycle
7) Talk about it!
ed_hawkins10 karma2019-06-20 18:18:53 UTC
Am sure we can survive for a very long time indeed - major asteroids, nuclear wars etc being the greatest risks to total extinction, in my view. But, we really should aim a bit higher than 'not extinction'!
ed_hawkins9 karma2019-06-20 20:06:46 UTC
There is no simple answer to the question about reaching no return. Simply put, the larger our emissions the more risks we face. We can reduce global temperatures by removing more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than we emit, but this is not something we can do very easily. There are probably points at which we could trigger an irreversible event, e.g. melting of Greenland, but it is very uncertain when that could happen.
We could certainly do more local food growing which would reduce emissions from transport. As for convincing people, it depends on why they believe what they believe, e.g. is it a lack of information, lack of trust, or dislike of potential policies?
ed_hawkins9 karma2019-06-20 16:19:33 UTC
I am confident that the worst impacts can be avoided. The UK has set an example by committing to 'net-zero' emissions by 2050 and this should encourage other countries to follow their example. Seeing the young people joining together in the climate strike movement is inspiring. Raising awareness of the issue is why we are launching #ShowYourStripes this week - our powerful and simple graphics can communicate our warming planet to a broad audience in as simple a way as possible. We need to talk about climate change and the potential solutions far more to our friends, family, colleagues.
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