Culture 3 min read

Forget 12 Years! We May Have Only 18 Months to Save the Climate

Nicole Glass Photography /

Nicole Glass Photography /

Climate change. A phrase that has cemented itself in our vocabulary and it doesn’t look like it’ll be out of use anytime soon.

And while we’re at it, let’s discuss a point.

It’s often said that we must work quickly to “prevent” climate change like it’s a future event that may or may not happen! This is at least a misleading word choice since we’re already living in it.

Climate change is happening!

Despite the mounting scientific literature, past and present evidence, and all the alarming signs of climate disruption, some dismiss it as nothing more than a human-made problem.

Even worse, many of the world leaders who believe it is a global natural disorder induced by human activities, don’t take it very seriously.

Organizations, scientists, activists, and many people have been calling for action before it’s too late.

But, just when exactly it would be “too late” to act?

Can we Agree on a Number Please!

According to the BBC, humanity has only 18 months left to save Earth from our own misdeeds. The writer quoted Britain’s Prince Charles and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Potsdam Climate Institute founder and director emeritus.

“The climate math is brutally clear,” says Schellnhuber. “While the world can’t be healed within the next few years, it may be fatally wounded by negligence until 2020.” 

Prince Charles is “firmly of the view that the next 18 months will decide our ability to keep climate change to survivable levels and to restore nature to the equilibrium we need for our survival.”

Held last December in Poland, the COP24 Climate Change Conference was the right occasion for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to emphasize that we’re wasting too much time talking about the problem instead of really solving it.

IPCC hosted its own pavilion at the conference for the first time to stress the gravity of the situation. It took the opportunity to present its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C.

This is where things get a bit confusing because many jumped into the conclusion that we have a 12-year ultimatum before.

But, before what exactly?

Myles Allen, one of the scientists who wrote the IPCC report, explained:

“… whether they mean climate chaos will happen after 12 years, or if we have 12 years to avert it. But both are misleading… We might already be at 1.2°C, and warming at 0.25°C per decade – well within the range of uncertainty. That would indeed get us to 1.5°C by 2030: 12 years from 2018. But an additional quarter of a degree of warming, more-or-less what has happened since the 1990s, is not going to feel like Armageddon to the vast majority of today’s striking teenagers…”

We can keep talking semantics and figures all night. But the real question is — whether it’s 18 months or 12 years, are we just going to keep an eye on the countdown?

Read More: What Happened at the December UN Climate Conference?

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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    Gordon Pettipas August 04 at 2:25 pm GMT

    The Truth About Climate Change – Dr. Patrick Moore – Greenpeace Co-Founder

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