April 22 is Earth Day, a global event dedicated to environmental activism aimed at promoting policy change, securing funding, and transforming human behaviour to combat the climate crisis.
The occasion coincides with the publication of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which underlines that we are still a long way from addressing the consequences of global warming.
The IPCC has issued a warning that despite all efforts to mitigate the impact of global warming, Earth’s climate is still on track to exceed a temperature increase of 1.5°C sometime between 2030 and 2035.
In order to prevent this from happening, there must be a reduction of greenhouse gas and CO2 emissions by at least 43% by 2030 and at least 60% by 2035, in comparison to the 2019 levels.
António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, has described the report as a clear call to urgently accelerate efforts to combat climate change, and also as a practical guide on how to prevent a climate catastrophe.
What is Earth Day?
Earth Day is an annual event celebrated globally on April 22nd to raise awareness and promote action towards environmental protection and sustainability. It aims to encourage individuals and organizations to take responsibility for preserving and protecting the natural resources of our planet. The day is celebrated by people from all walks of life, including policymakers, educators, and citizens.
History of Earth Day
Earth Day has a long and interesting history. It was held for the first time on April 22, 1970, in the United States, with the aim of drawing public attention to the issue of pollution and environmental degradation.
The event was organized by Senator Gaylord Nelson, a conservationist who wanted to build on the momentum of the antiwar movement to raise awareness about environmental concerns. He hoped that by raising awareness about the impacts of pollution and environmental destruction, he could drive a more sustainable and environmentally friendly society.
The first Earth Day was a great success, with millions of people participating in various events and rallies across the United States. It led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as the passage of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
These laws have been instrumental in protecting the environment and preserving natural resources in the United States.
Over the years, Earth Day has grown to become a global event, with more than 192 countries participating in celebrations and events aimed at raising awareness of environmental issues.
The day has become an important platform for policymakers, environmentalists and citizens to discuss and share ideas on how to protect the planet and ensure its sustainability for future generations.
Each year, Earth Day has a specific theme that highlights an environmental issue. For example, in 2021, the theme for Earth Day was “Restore our Earth,” which was intended to focus on the need for greater global action to restore the natural world and combat climate change.
Important of Earth Day
As the world celebrates Earth Day, it’s important to consider the ways we can scale up climate solutions to mitigate the impacts of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has identified several key areas where immediate action is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow the rate of global warming.
- Rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy systems: The IPCC calls for an immediate and drastic shift towards renewable energy sources like wind and solar power. Fossil fuel-based energy systems need to be phased out quickly in favor of renewable energy alternatives.
- Low-carbon transportation systems: The transportation sector is a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions. To reduce these emissions, we need to encourage the use of low-carbon transportation options like electric vehicles, mass transit, and cycling.
- Building energy efficiency: Buildings account for a significant portion of global energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Improving energy efficiency in buildings through measures like better insulation, efficient heating and cooling systems, and smart building management systems can reduce emissions significantly.
- Reducing emissions from food and land use: Agriculture, forestry, and other land use activities are responsible for around 23% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
- Carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS): CCUS technologies can remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it underground or utilize it for industrial processes.
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