The science is undebatable: human activity is changing the climate. And the consequences are a staggering onslaught of storms, droughts, floods, wildfires, and record-breaking temperatures more severe and less predictable than ever recorded, all of which are causing an enormous human and economic toll.
“Without urgent and dramatic action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, scientists have warned that the U.S. can expect $500 billion of damage, two billion hours of lost labor, and $160 billion in lost wages annually by 2090. That’s because we will see more frequent and intense storms and flooding, extended heat waves, deeper droughts, and larger wildfires. Dramatic sea level rise will have a major impact on our coastal communities and essential infrastructure, too – for example, South Florida won’t exist in 2100,” according to Lara Skinner, Executive Director of The Worker Institute at Cornell and Chair of the institute’s Labor Leading on Climate Initiative.
Fossil fuels – and the greenhouse gas emissions that burning them sends into the atmosphere – are the leading cause of climate change and threaten our very ability to live on the planet. That’s no exaggeration. Without urgent action, the World Bank estimates more than 100 million climate refugees by 2050.
Urgent and unprecedented changes are needed within the next ten years to reach the target, which they say is affordable and feasible although it lies at the most ambitious end of the Paris Agreement pledge to keep temperatures between 1.5C and 2C, according to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).