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IDRIC / Heriot-Watt University
The imperative and urgency of the message is clear. We need to act now to avert the worst effects of the very real climate crisis tragedy looming on the horizon. The effects of climate change are becoming more ubiquitous, with heatwaves, wildfires, droughts and floods becoming more frequent. Even during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis did not stop. In October 2020, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated a clear message: even in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, we should mobilise to prevent the climate crisis. The negative impacts caused by climate change could be the equivalent of a pandemic crisis every year from the middle of the 21st century.
We have known about global warming since Fourier’s work in the 1820s establishing that the Earth’s temperature was much higher than if warmed by only incoming solar radiation. And yet we have failed to manage the climate crisis this far. The message started to reach the status of a major public issue in 1988, when “Newsweek” magazine made ‘The Greenhouse Effect’ its cover story. Later on that year, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to provide scientific evidence of climate change. But it was not until the Paris Agreement in 2015 that a legally binding international treaty on climate change was put in place.