22 November 2022

Climate change is no longer just a concept. It’s something that we can see all around us. Melting ice and deforestation in the Amazon have long been signs of the impact of climate change. However, these changes are becoming more evident closer to home.

Acknowledging the impact of climate change is vital to understanding why achieving net zero by 2050 matters. It is possible to turn back the tide and tackle climate change. Renewable energy is a vital component of this. We’re far from the point of no return, but we can’t continue on this path forever.

At Green Switch Capital, we’re on a mission to create a sustainable, self-sufficient renewable energy market to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. We’re sharing everything we learnt from COP27 about the real impact of climate change and why net zero matters.

2022 - A Year of Climate Devastation

Listening to speeches at COP27 this month presents a common theme. 2022 has been a year of climate devastation. We’ve seen everything from droughts across Europe to dramatic flooding in Pakistan and widespread fish deaths. The common denominator between these? Rising sea levels.

It’s clear that if sea levels continue to rise, communities and people on entire islands will have to be relocated due to the danger to life. The impact of climate change is everywhere you look.

One of the most troubling consequences of climate change is extreme weather conditions. Pakistan presents the latest example of a country facing these consequences. While Pakistan has a relatively low carbon footprint, it’s at the forefront of extreme weather events that are likely to become more common.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif, took centre stage during COP17. He said that the COP27 meeting “rings an alarm bell for humanity”. The damages and losses that occurred during Pakistan’s floods are estimated to have exceeded more than $30bn. Pakistan is proof that it is developing countries and those with the lowest carbon footprint are at the forefront of climate change’s devastation.

Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events 

Climate change comes with dozens of serious consequences, few of them as devastating as extreme weather events. Scientists predict that these extreme weather events will become more frequent and severe if we don’t act to minimise the impact of climate change.

Despite the commitments of the Paris Climate Agreement to cap the temperature rise at 1.5 degrees, it’s expected to increase by 2.4 to 2.6 degrees. This rising temperature means that we’re more likely to see extreme weather events like Hurricane Ian in Florida and the Pakistan floods regularly. 

While hurricanes aren’t a new phenomenon, climate change is deepening its impact. Storm surges during hurricanes are becoming higher due to the rising sea level that creates a greater impact when the hurricane makes land.

It’s not just hurricanes that are becoming stronger due to storm surges. Flooding is a major extreme weather event that we’re going to see more of. UNICEF has warned that an estimated 27.7 million children in dozens of countries across the world are at risk of extreme flooding caused by climate change.

The Impact of Climate Change on the UK

How much time does the UK have to prevent the worst consequences of climate change? Not too much longer. The government’s climate change advisers have said that the government’s climate response is “severely lacking” with the impact of climate change increasing in the last five years.

One threat that the UK faces from climate change is overheating in residential properties. Heat-related deaths aren’t as uncommon in the UK as you might expect. More than 4,000 people died from heat-related illnesses and reasons in England from 2018 to 2021. We don’t yet have official numbers for those who died during the record-breaking heatwave of this summer.

Scientists have warned that the number of people dying from heat-related reasons could rise to 7,000 per year by 2050. One of the major causes of this is that UK homes are not being developed with rising temperatures in mind. The last five years have seen more than half a million homes being built across the UK without enough ventilation or temperature control measures.

Another threat the UK faces from climate change is food supplies, particularly food production during the growing season. Hotter and drier summers are also leading to warmer and wetter winters, negatively impacting crop growth. These weather conditions are increasing the number of extreme weather events in the UK, including heatwaves like those we saw this summer.

While we’re likely to experience hotter summers, the UK is also at a higher risk of flash flooding due to heavier downpours. Winters in the UK are predicted to also bring higher rainfall, so we may have to say goodbye to the idea of a white Christmas.

Why Net Zero by 2050 Matters

It’s not too late to prevent this from happening. The only way to prevent the worst consequences of climate change is by achieving net zero by 2050.

Barbados’ Prime Minister used COP27 to highlight the fact that there could be more than an estimated billion climate refugees by 2050, a dramatic increase from the current 21 million. While all eyes are on 2050, we’re already living with the impact of climate change every day.

The United Nations has said that the only way we can “preserve a liveable planet” is to lower global temperatures back to a level that is only 1.5 degrees above industrial levels. We currently let set to breach the target set in the Paris Climate Agreement, meaning the UK needs to accelerate its transition to renewables.

The only way to prevent global temperatures from rising further is by reducing current carbon emissions by 45% by 2030. This short-term goal is vital to put us on the right path to net zero by 2050.

We’re proud to be leading the way with our renewable energy solutions, repurposing unused land for solar, wind, and battery storage facilities.

You can play your role in protecting the planet and preventing the worst impact of climate change by taking part in our land leasing programme. Contact our team today to find out how you can help us achieve net zero by 2050.