As of 2021, the Earth is over 1°C warmer than it was before worldwide industrialisation.
While Earth’s climate has altered many times over the past 4.5 billion years, the current climate crisis is different. A change in global temperature of this magnitude usually takes place over thousands of years. By burning fossil fuels and producing greenhouses gases – examples of anthropogenic (manmade) changes to our atmosphere – we have accomplished the feat in just 150 years. This massively accelerated change has destabilised the global climate, threatening not just humanity, but all life on Earth.
For much of the last century and a half we have been unaware of the impact our actions have had on the planet. Thankfully, years of cutting-edge science from various fields has now opened our eyes to reality and shown us a path towards recovery. This same science continues to validate the impactful work done by WLT and our Carbon Balanced programme.
We know also that in order to save the planet, mitigating climate change and biodiversity loss at the same time is not only possible, but essential. The carbon sinks of the tropics are home to many of the world’s most endangered species, and these are the areas secured by WLT through our Carbon Balanced programme. By investing in these crucial spots of land, you’ll be funding important nature-based solutions to the climate crisis.
Image: Smoke billows from a wildfire in Patagonia, an increasingly regular threat in today’s climate emergency. ©Leandro-Legarreta
Under the 2016 Paris Agreement, more than 190 countries agreed to limit the increase in global average temperature to well below 2ºC compared to pre-industrial levels, while working towards a preferred figure of 1.5ºC.
The 1°C increase is already affecting the natural world in a multitude of severe and subtle ways. 2020 alone saw horrific bushfires spread across Australia, while Central America endured a record-breaking hurricane season and Arctic sea ice reached its lowest ever extent after average ocean temperatures climbed to 5°C above average. No part of our planet is safe from the effects of climate change.
Climate change increases the frequency of extreme weather events and is upsetting the natural equilibrium of our planet at a much faster rate than many scientists anticipated. Short- and long-term changes include food and water shortages, malnutrition, rising sea levels, population displacement, species extinctions, and the spread of contagious diseases.
The latest research tells us that to avoid the worst climate impacts, global greenhouse gas emissions will need to drop by half by 2030. If we are to meet the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals, the world would then need to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Failing to take appropriate action could result in a global temperature change of as much as 5°C by the end of the century – a truly catastrophic and irreversible outcome. Our planet can only thrive if businesses embed sustainability and the environment into the heart of their activities.
WLT’s Carbon Balanced programme helps companies offset their unavoidable emissions to achieve strategies to Carbon Neutral, Net Zero and Carbon Positive/Negative.