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The Moms Who Are Battling Climate Change

The Moms Who Are Battling Climate Change

A new initiative seeks to tap into mothers’ concern for the world their children are inheriting.

Three years ago, I had a baby. I won’t go into the details, but suffice it to say that she is extremely cute, and I enjoy being her mother. A few months after her birth, I was scrolling on my phone, and I came across news of a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It described a future world that will have experienced 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming. In this world, the oceans are acidifying, and most coral reefs have been bleached to death; hundreds of millions of people face severe drought, and even more face deadly heat waves. The kicker? This planet—the 1.5-degree-warmer one—was the best-case scenario. Scientists were using the report to argue that we should try to shoot for that. The Paris climate accord aims to limit the global-temperature increase to “below 2 degrees Celsius.” At present, both goals seem like a stretch. According to the U.N., all of the world’s current pledges would only cut carbon emissions by one per cent—a far cry from the nearly fifty per cent needed this decade in order to meet our goals. So, 1.5 degrees is coming. According to some researchers, we could get there around 2030, when my daughter will be entering middle school.

I did some further Googling: What will the world look like when she’s middle-aged? When her children are middle-aged? I found a Web site that lets you plot major events in your child’s life against the projected global-temperature increase. Even the “optimistic” scenarios show the world warming two degrees during her lifetime. The more realistic scenarios—the ones based on what countries are actually doing to reduce emissions, not what they’ve pledged—show it heating up to three degrees.

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