Climate alarm bells are ringing: what’s in the new WMO report

Greenhouse gases, sea-level rise, ocean heat and acidification are at all-time highs. The time for action using DeFi is now.

WMO report, released May 2022

2021, a year of passing limits

Four important climate indicators are ringing their alarms. Greenhouse gas concentrations, sea-level rise, ocean heat, and ocean acidification are at an all-time high. At the end of May 2022, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released its State of the Global Climate 2021 report, documenting how far the boundaries of our planet are being pushed. This report uses the same high standards of measurements and baseline data as the IPCC report to track global climate patterns and changes.

This report is something to be concerned about; it means that the consequences of human activities are getting ever closer to the limit of the Earth becoming unlivable. Deadly heatwaves in India and Pakistan, drought in Yemen, and rain instead of snow in the arctic circle are just the beginning of global weather crises if we don’t get a handle on emissions management now.

Temperature measured in April and May 2022

Water resources in peril

Greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide are not only found in excess in the atmosphere but also in the ocean. This adds volume and energy to the ocean; the energy heats the water and causes it to expand, driving sea-level rise. While more oceans may not be a huge problem in itself, warmer and more acidic oceans are a huge threat to life underwater. A higher concentration of CO2 in oceans lowers the pH of the water, increasing the acidification of the oceans. Increasing water temperatures and ocean acidification are largely responsible for the die-off of the planet’s coral reefs.

Carbon dioxide molecules in the atmosphere react with water molecules to form carbonic acid. Graphic developed the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF).

Not only is ocean acidification a climate indicator that helps scientists track global climate change, but it is also considered one of the 9 planetary boundaries. These boundaries were defined by the Stockholm Resilience Centre and track the natural boundaries at which life as we know it can live safely. At present, 5 of the 9 boundaries have been transgressed¹. At present, 5 of the 9 boundaries have been transgressed. Ocean acidification is on track to be the 6th boundary transgressed.

Another boundary, freshwater resources are at risk of reaching their limits, as suggested by a recent study published by Nature. The study claims that human activities have taxed and polluted the world’s existing “green water” or fresh water found in terrestrial ecosystems resources past their limits.² The study claims that the only reason the limit has not been passed on the Stockholm Resilience Centre boundaries charts is because “blue water,” or freshwater currently existing as ice (in Antarctica for example) balances out the chart. The current rate of ice melt in the poles could tip this limit soon anyways.

The nine planetary boundaries. Image courtesy of J. Lokrantz/Azote based on Steffen et al. 2015 (via Stockholm Resilience Centre).

Counteracting emissions

Carbon dioxide is not the only threat to the planet when it comes to global climate change. Other gases are also responsible for deregulating the climate. One big offender is methane. The WMO report accords increased methane emissions to sources in the tropics (wetland and peatland destruction) and anthropogenic activities (agriculture)³. These emissions need to be drastically reduced as fast as possible to avoid an unlivable future.

Cutting emissions, switching from fossil fuels to renewals, and reducing intensive agriculture is not going to be enough to save us. What has already been emitted will continue wreaking havoc on the planet for decades to come. We also need to rapidly remove carbon and other harmful gases from the atmosphere and oceans.

DeFi, a tool to restore nature

Despite these big challenges, at CarbonABLE we are optimistic and pragmatic. If we can leverage just a small fraction of the capital available through blockchain and DeFi, we could finance hundreds, even thousands of carbon sink restoration projects.

We know that’s not going to fix climate change alone. But we also know the fight to keep our planet fit for life is going to be a collective fight. Just like the communal power of DeFi and blockchain, we believe in the communal power of rising to humanity’s biggest challenge ever: reversing climate change. We hope you will join us.

Sources

(1)https://www.nature.com/articles/s43017-022-00287-8.epdf?sharing_token=hier2n7O_tPClC8-r06bmdRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0P2KmS6Qajbkp2nZuUVCQ0Vp_P0L_fySeHBsRgAquqylOp9LnWtWwctu_gtf2IN3rQca4cpkK1yn9HaZMp0U7_CeAUSZHD1Xu5KL__3KimuwqoA5hdvBx21Dt1POSVkJdo%3D(2)https://scitechdaily.com/earths-safe-planetary-boundary-for-pollutants-including-plastics-exceeded/(3)https://mcusercontent.com/e35fa2254c2a4394f75d43308/files/3d2f5b01-11a6-dee2-a42a-13ad5002dc33/1290_Statement_2021_en_1_.pdf

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