Opinion by Adam Farrell, BEST Marine Conservation Team
On October 8, 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body dedicated to providing the world with an objective and scientific view of climate change, issued a stark warning to us all. The planet is warming at a greater rate than expected, heading towards a temperature of 3C above preindustrial levels, rather than keeping below the 1.5C threshold that was pledged by many nations under the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Scientists claim we should treat this news as a final notice about the risks of rising temperatures globally. Essentially, they point to a catastrophic environmental breakdown in just 12 years if we do not act as a global community to keep levels at no higher than 1.5C. This is an historic, unprecedented moment of reckoning for mankind. We do have the power to reverse this trend. However, failure to act would mean we are condemning the survival of ecosystems on earth, and ultimately our own self-preservation.
Climate change is finally undeniable. It is real and it is happening now. The effects are already being felt globally, but the impacts will be more highly intensified in the future. For Bermuda, some of the most immediate threats will be larger and more powerful hurricanes, rising sea levels, and the destruction of our coral reefs. The loss of our reefs will also mean we have less protection from large ocean swells and more flooding associated with storm surge, not to mention the critical impact this will have on our fisheries — and therefore our food security — and tourism product.