UCLouvain / Climatology
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The current rates of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere will not enable us to live on a sustainable Earth in the long term, as they are leading to unprecedented climate changes. Air surface temperatures have been globally rising by approximately 1 degree between the pre-industrial period and now. Heat waves, droughts and heavy precipitation events are becoming more frequent in many land regions. Global mean sea level has been rising at a rate of 3 mm per year since 1993. Glaciers and ice sheets are melting in many places. Arctic sea ice is quickly retreating and thinning. A summary of the main ongoing climate changes can be found here: https://climate.nasa.gov/vital-signs/carbon-dioxide/. If nothing ambitious is rapidly done to mitigate the current global warming, there is a high chance that many Earth ecosystems will have been profoundly modified by the end of this century.
At my personal level, beside the fact that I study sea ice and its interactions with other components of the climate system as a researcher, I have implemented a series of changes in my daily life to reduce my carbon footprint. For example, I am renovating my house by placing new triple glazed windows and isolating the roof and walls. This will allow me to considerably reduce my energy consumption, resulting in lower greenhouse gas emissions. I have also recently changed my transportation mean by taking the bus for my daily home-work trips. I am also trying to use the bike as much as possible for short distances. One of the difficulties that every biker in Brussels faces is the lack of adapted infrastructure and the high presence of cars and trucks in the streets.
The ongoing youth walks for climate in Belgium (and other places of the world) constitute a proof that the population is well aware of the current climate changes. However, more than striking in the streets, what we really need is that everyone takes action at his/her personal level to reduce his/her carbon footprint. We should not wait for a strong political action, but rather anticipate at all levels of the society (at home, at work, in the streets, with friends, etc.). A nice tool to build your own low carbon scenario for 2050 can be found here: https://www.climat.be/2050/en-be/build-your-own-scenario/webtool-my2050/.