The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, published earlier this month, notes that unprecedented climate change is being observed across every region of the globe, some of which is said to be irreversible. However, it is believed that strong and decisive action to reduce CO2 emissions could limit further damage - if taken quickly enough.
Air quality could see improvements more quickly than any other measure, but it is estimated that it would take up to 30 years to stabilise temperatures, according to the IPCC Working Group I report, Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis.
Chair of the IPCC, Hoesung Lee said: “The innovations in this report, and advances in climate science that it reflects, provide an invaluable input into climate negotiations and decision-making.”
According to the report, global warming over the next two decades which is directly linked to human behaviour is likely to reach at least 1.5°C, with the Arctic land region experiencing twice as much warming as the rest of the globe. This warming will result in more extremes of heat as well as rising sea levels as polar ice caps melt, coastal erosion, and more intense flooding, as well as drought.
IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair, Valerie Masson-Delmotte proclaims “This report is a reality check. We now have a much clearer picture of the past, present and future climate, which is essential for understanding where we are headed, what can be done, and how we can prepare.”
“It has been clear for decades that the Earth’s climate is changing, and the role of human influence on the climate system is undisputed.”
So, what can the Waste Management Industry do to positively impact climate change? The report clearly highlights that a reduction in landfill emissions can play a crucial role in limiting climate change.
Landfill emissions are set to increase with global warming, as higher temperatures lead to greater waste decomposition. It is therefore imperative that waste is diverted from landfill in order to prevent exponential growth in these emissions and the dire environmental consequences that will ensue.
Dr Adam Read, CIWM President says: “CIWM recognises the critical role of effective and sustainable waste management in helping to mitigate the climate emergency and welcomes the findings in the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report which reaffirm what we already knew: that urgent action is required to protect the future of our planet.”
“As the pre-eminent membership organisation representing and supporting resources and waste managers both in the UK and overseas, our mission is to unite, equip and mobilise our professional community to deliver the science, strategies, businesses and policies required to create a sustainable future”.