A call to a very personal climate change...


A news piece in Science Magazine really hit home this week. Reporting on the shrinkage of sea ice as a result of CO2 emissions, the article explored the observation that a metric ton of CO2 costs the Arctic 3 square meters of summer sea ice; more CO2, more ice loss a seemingly direct relationship. The power of this value, even if its a little more complex than that, is that it makes tangible the idea that if we know how much CO2 we produce individually, then we can feel a sense of responsibility and connectedness to the water and summer/winter ice cycle. And by extension to the shocking destruction of the polar ice caps and the subsequent rising of sea levels etc. etc.

When you look at the map of the nations responsible for the most CO2 production per capita, its not India, Brazil, China, or other emerging economies that we might think to point a finger at. No, its the US and Australia that stand out like sore thumbs (quickly followed by Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan). Oil and gas! At a time when political support for climate change in these nations seems to be favouring skepticism - against all reason to my mind - I think this map and its concept is what voting individuals really need to know. We the voters, exercising our voices and leaning on our elected leaders need to feel responsible for something visual, and the vision of a lone polar bear stranded or the disappearance of a major ice shelf - and thus a sense of connectedness to what we individually do to the planet - well my hope would be that this is really something tangible. If we felt individually responsible for this may be, for the sake of our collective, planetary wellbeing, the people that matter might (finally) get engaged with climate change.

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For further information contact: jake.baum@imperial.ac.uk

(c)  Baum laboratory 2019