COP27, or the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference, was this year’s annual event in which global experts and scientists, along with more than 90 heads of state and representatives from 190 countries, gathered to discuss important and urgent topics regarding climate change. This edition of the event was held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. A key focus of COP27 was an emphasis on implementation and action as a way for humans to adapt to the impacts of climate change, given the gradual rise in droughts, storms, and floods globally. In 2022, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers directed the state's Department of Administration to establish the Office of Environmental Justice to develop a framework and strategy for environmental justice work in communities where pollution, industry shifts, and extreme weather are most prominent.
COP27 also made headlines for releasing a warning of "climate chaos." Today, we'll go over COP27's climate chaos warning and its implications for the state of Wisconsin.
What were the climate chaos warnings?
The provisional State of the Global Climate Report 2022 produced by the UN's World Meteorological Organization was described as "a chronicle of climate chaos," according to UN Secretary-General António Guterres. True to its ominous description, the report details how rising global temperatures will make 2022 the fifth or sixth hottest year on record.
Man-made greenhouse gas emissions are also predicted to rise after record highs in 2021 as well. Another record-breaker comes from sea levels growing at approximately 10% of the sea-level rise recorded since the first satellite measurements in 1993.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin has seen heavier and more frequent rains in recent years, resulting in floods, soil erosion, and changes to the coastline — affecting sewage and wastewater treatment. Moreover, these poor conditions also affect individuals intensely, triggering chronic illnesses and cardiovascular diseases, particularly in vulnerable populations.
How is the UN planning to address climate change at COP27?
The UN has long planned to find solutions against climate change, working with scientists, global experts, and world leaders to identify proper action. This is what the annual Conference of the Parties is for — starting with the first international treaty in 1992. This led to more global platforms being created to deal with climate change. Maryville University outlined how the UN's Global Humanitarian Overview began in December 2019, identifying climate change as one of the several emerging risks.
Rising temperatures are a threat to people's health, as well as water and food supplies, leading to humanitarian crises. For that reason, the UN has long advocated for climate action that can halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. One of their Sustainable Development Goals, precisely #12, focuses its targets on the environmentally sound management of all waste through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse, specifically to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
So what else can we do to support the UN's efforts?
Since 1996, WasteCap has been helping businesses transform waste into resources, hitting a 72.2% national waste diversion rate. This has saved our clients more than $36 million, helping create full-time jobs and boosting cost savings of reuse and recycling. Organizations should look into better waste management, not only for the benefits they can reap but also do their part in the fight against climate change.
To prevent the climate chaos from worsening, we must do what we can while making our voices — and the experts and scientists' — heard by those in power to make significant changes and policies.
From saving water to using energy-efficient appliances and even rethinking the impact of travel by planes, trains, and automobiles, making small but necessary changes in our daily life can help. The classic "reduce, reuse, and recycle" campaign similarly comes to mind.
Getting a better handle on waste management can also help curb the speed of climate change. Striving for a waste-free environment doesn't just reduce waste; it also cuts down your carbon footprint. When you recycle waste, the energy you generate can further reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Specially written for WasteCap.org
By: Raine Joselyn
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