With the fireworks soaring up into the sky, lights illuminating the blue, deserted places that once used to be thronged, the world is welcoming a new year, 2021. The appeasement of the end of 2020, the year that pushed everyone to the verge of their limit.
2020 in the rereview mirror
Corona, a virus that emerged from a tiny animal and spread, mushrooming from one place to the entire world, has infected more than 83 million people and cost millions of lives. 2020 has been a tragic year, one that all and sundry would like to erase from their reminiscence.
By the end of this year, it has taught us the importance of solidarity, global superpowers working hand in hand to tackle the micro-virus. At the beginning of 2021, we have more than one vaccine for the virus in a record time of just one year, with the cumulative work. Together, the world drenched in disputes and divisions is on the verge of defeating the global health emergency. So, isn’t the same togetherness enough for tackling the climate crisis?
Along with being ruinous for health and bringing major economies to their knees; 2020, have also been a destructive year for the environment. Record-breaking wildfires in the west, thunderous storms, deleterious floods, scorching hot weather, and whatnot. The health and climate crisis overlapping each other, each making the other more grievous.
The link between pandemics and climate calamities
The bad part of all is that both the natural calamities and the pandemic were not random events, they have been smearing from a long time; and the worst part is they are not just it, there are more such calamities with more intensity to come if we keep on heading the direction we are now. Industrial farming is opening a wide path for the viral pandoras that holds the potential to unbridle pandemics worse than the present one.
Researchers worldwide are working their fingers to the bone to develop a vaccine more resilient to the virus; on the other hand, industries are clearing up the forest, displacing wildlife, surging the risk of the abutting virus. We are sweeping the room but not shutting the door to obstruct the dirt from getting in.
Fortunately, we have vaccines that hold the potential to end the pandemic; but there is no single solution we can pin our hope to for the climate crisis. Reforms need to be made everywhere, and everybody has a part to play, to reach the cumulative goal of a more sustainable planet.
Despite the economic shutting down, the planet-heating gases didn’t decline but stroked a new record. This shows that climate crisis cannot be dealt with just small steps, going back to the way to extract most of our energy is not an option anymore; we have long hit the threshold and now what is facing are consequences.
2021, the turning point
Time is running by; the world needs to act if it wants to fend off climate changes’ prevailing effects. Hopefully, researchers and thinkers belief that 2021 might be the turning point in our outlook towards climate catastrophes.
In November of 2021, leaders worldwide will be gathering in Glasgow to discuss over the Paris Climate Agreement, 2015. Paris Agreement was the first-ever accord in which almost entire world’s leaders came together to control the increasing global temperature. The agreement aims to limit the global temperature to 2-degree Celsius above the pre-industrial age.
The meeting was planned to happen in 2020, but the global pandemic pushed it to 2021. The forum can help put the decline in the greenhouse gas emissions, and the carbon cuts can be ratcheted up.
Countries have already been signing to cut their carbon emission to zero in the coming decades. In the UN General Assembly, Xi Jinping, president of China make public that it aims to go carbon neutral by 2060. In the past, the country’s fear that cutting down carbon could end their economies in great debt.
Previously in 2019, the UK pledged to cut its carbon emission to zero, followed by the European Union in 2020. According to the UN, many economies since have joined the quest, about 110 countries worldwide, are ready to attain carbon neutrality by the end of 2050. Altogether, these countries make up 65% of the global emission and 70% of the world economy.
2021: New year, new hopes, same old goal
According to the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Changes, a UN body; we have to cut down our emission to half to stand a chance of hitting the 1.5-degree Celsius challenge. The hurdle is though more than 100 countries have the lofty ambition of reaching carbon neutrality, only a few have plans to reach that goal.
The world is pinning hope with the starting of 2021. But if we want to change the future from crisis-ravaged disarray, then tackling the climate emergency needs to be head-on and it should not be seen as a burden but an opportunity of better tomorrow.