The following is an extract from our Sixth Print Issue, which will be released on 15th November. More information about this issue and the launch event can be found HERE.
In July of this year, a wildfire roughly the size of Belgium tore its way through the Siberian taiga. The smoke made its way from Eastern Russia all the way to Alaska and Western Canada, where the Arctic also burned. Researchers in Russia and elsewhere noted that climate change was making the fires worse. The Arctic, after all, is warming at double the global rate. When forests burn, massive amounts of carbon dioxide are released, strengthening the greenhouse effect. The loss of trees and vegetation destroys vital ‘carbon sinks’ which remove billions of tons of CO2 from the atmosphere.
The Arctic fires barely registered on an international news agenda dominated by the Conservative Party leadership contest, aggression in the Persian Gulf and mass shootings in America. Herein lies the first major challenge in combating climate change – a deficit in awareness.
A month later, fires engulfed the Amazon as farmers employed ‘slash and burn’ methods to make way for agriculture. This time the world paid attention, as deforestation in the Amazon had long been a global controversy. At the G7, world leaders agreed to a paultry ‘fighting fund’ of €20 million, approximately one-tenth of what it cost Disney to remake The Lion King. Herein lies the second challenge – a deficit in urgency.
The science is deadly clear.
According to the UNs Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we have about ten years to radically reduce global emissions or face catastrophe. At such a late stage, the conversation should revolve solely around the form of immediate action to be taken, yet the climate crisis is still not being treated- ed with the seriousness that it demands.
Indeed, many still insist on denying the problem altogether. The most powerful individual in the democratic world famously believes that climate change is a Chinese hoax designed to undermine American manufacturing.