Global warming is a very real threat to humanity and climate change is a serious concern. “Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in modern history, primarily as a result of human activities” reads a climate report compiled by thirteen U.S. federal agencies. Global climate change has already resulted in multitudinous series of calamities and weather events across the globe and the impacts are only expected to grow in the coming decades.
However, Jennie Stephens, a professor of Sustainability Science and Policy at Northeastern University, has reason to be optimistic. She talks about the U.S. political scene and how policies of a nation can help in promoting more sustainable consumption patterns. Her assessment comes from a special report from the United Nations that describes devastating food shortages and massive die-off of coral reefs as a result of climate change by 2040.
The reports not only focus on the effects of climate change but also on the economic impact of climate change. Stephens says that the dire economic stakes make her optimistic. “This report can highlight to people that the cost of inaction is higher than the cost of investing in change”. She believes that integrating climate adaption into existing investment policies and practices will highlight a significant portion of the climate-related risk.
Alarming levels of greenhouse gas emissions due to the combustion of fossil fuels is a major reason for the accelerated climate change. We’re facing issues where powerful interests claim, “It’s too expensive to move away from fossil fuels,” when that’s not true at all. Stephens adds “It’s just a matter of political will.” We’re going to need some radical thinking and radical political change.