Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium / Physicist, +10 years working on climate related topics
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For over 10 years I have been working on data sets that are used for climate studies. As such I am well aware of the outcome of all combined efforts: the atmosphere and ocean system is warming up and this is extremely likely caused by human activity. The consequences are dramatic for everything living on earth. Moreover, climate change is but one way in which we humans have a negative impact on our environment. Pollution and destruction of ecosystems in various ways are other examples. Most of those are driven by our everlasting hunger for (economic) growth and the (over)consumption associated with that.
Confronted with this, my family has implemented a variety of measures to limit our impact on the environment. We live in a big city close to everything, and use public transport, bike and our feet to get around. We don’t own a car and don’t fly. We almost always eat vegetarian, local and in season, and limit the amount of new things we buy. As a scientist, I limit the amount of conferences I go to and take the train if possible (and yes that means a 10 hour trip sometimes). I am aware that this is nothing but a drop in the ocean and that real change has to come from those who lead the world. But ultimately that’s you and me: voters, consumers, activists, critical voices,…
If climate change is our only concern then we can choose any solution that reduces greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere to pre-industrial levels. The most obvious solution would be to increase the price of C02 and methane release. The price should be high enough to prevent releasing these greenhouse gasses. Ideally, capturing them from the atmosphere should become profitable.
If we are more ambitious we could aim to limit the further impact we humans have on our planet. To do so we need to embrace the solutions proposed numerous times before. It always boils down to this: we have to stabilise or decrease the human ecological footprint and we need to do that as soon as possible. And yes, this means we’ll have (a bit) less comfort and luxury than we have now. But my family and I think it is worth it!
Originally posted 2018-04-25 21:50:11.