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  • Writer's pictureEllen Worrell

#Write52 week 46: Carbon Literacy training part 3

The Future

Impersonates voiceover artist on Gogglebox "In the week the English government decided Covid-19 is no longer a thing and Putin invaded Ukraine, Ellen enjoyed lots of great TV."

Nope, that's a lie. I don't think I've managed to watch any TV this week apart from the news, but I did enjoy the third instalment of my Carbon Literacy training. In this session, we were looking at the future and I'm not going to lie, some of the potential outcomes were bleak.

For example, the IPCC's Worlds Apart Report looks at three possible warmer worlds:

  • Late, uncoordinated action resulting in a 2100 world that is unrecognisable by today's standards

  • Delayed, decisive action resulting in food production being prioritised over the protection of ecosystems

  • Early, effective action resulting in a warmer world than today, but generally considered survivable

Credit: IPCC Worlds Apart

But is "survivable" really the best we can hope for? In summing up the COP26 summit in Glasgow, the representative from New Zealand said the agreements reached were "the least worst outcome". After all, we've now got 98 months to halve global emissions. So for us here in the UK, we need to be cutting our average carbon footprint from 9 tonnes closer to 2.5 tonnes – all because our initial figure is much higher than that of people in the global south.

And this infographic from the WWF really hits hard when it comes to climate risks. Even if we keep global warming to 1.5 °C, we will still see a 100% increase in flood risk...

Credit: WWF

But... WE CAN FIX IT! The 2015 Paris Agreement is legally-binding and aims to achieve a climate-neutral world by mid-century. Changes are being made everywhere, and while many people often lament at the things they have to forego in a bid to be greener (i.e. not flying to Paris just for the day), I believe there are numerous co-benefits we need to celebrate and champion. A greener, more sustainable world doesn't mean an infinitely more miserable world.

During our session, we looked at 4 different postcards from the future, examining what the world could look like in 2030 in terms of food, transport, buildings and energy. The postcards were inspired by the climate emergency work undertaken by the Centre for Alternative Technology and are a really rather upbeat way of viewing our future.

Credit: Jen Gale, Sustainable(ish)

I am a firm believer that improving all these areas from a climate point of view will provide countless co-benefits – perhaps the most obvious is health-related. By being more active and living a cleaner, greener lifestyle, people's health will improve and by extension, the world's health services won't be under quite so much pressure either. Surely that's a win-win?

So, what will your world look like in 2030? For Team Worrell, we'll still be firmly in love with our electric cars – living in rural Northamptonshire means life without a car is virtually unimaginable – but by driving an EV that is charged on 100% renewable electricity, that's got to be better, right? We're already big fans of oat milk, so I'm hopeful oat milk delivered in reusable glass bottles will soon become a financially viable option. I can still see us eating meat, but only a couple of times a week and I'll still only be buying it from the local butcher where I know the animals have been reared sensibly and sustainably. I'm excited to see what developments are around the corner in terms of clean energy and more efficient buildings, and feeling energised about the difference communities can make when they all work together to leave a lasting legacy.

Who's with me? Will you join me to actively move towards this more positive world that offers us a wealth of co-benefits? That sounds waaaay more appealing than merely surviving!

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