A Planet for tomorrow
A Planet for Tomorrow
This year our ‘Day for Tomorrow’ is September 16th, the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. This event celebrates the agreement of the groundbreaking Montreal Protocol on this date in 1987.
When scientists in the 1970s found that chemicals used in common household products were contributing to the depletion of the ozone layer, the world acted to prevent further damage. Every country from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe signed a treaty to ban the production of ozone-depleting chemicals. Thanks to this treaty (The Montreal Protocol) being signed, the ozone layer is expected to return to normal levels by 2050.
As much as a solution to the hole in the ozone layer, what the Montreal Protocol offers us is hope: we came together as a planet once to successfully combat global warming – can we do it again to prevent further damage now that 97% of scientists agree that climate change is a reality?
We must. We are already experiencing the impact of changing weather patterns, rising sea levels and extreme weather events. According to NASA, 2016 was the hottest year on record. The second hottest? 2017. The third? 2015. And what’s driving climate change? The greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activity, which are at their highest levels since human history. Yet we are doing nothing to stop this. A report by the Global Carbon Project presented at the 2017 United Nations Climate Summit predicted that emissions from fossil fuels and industrial uses were projected to increase by 2% in 2017 and rise further in 2018. Last yearcarbon dioxide exceeded 410 parts per million, the highest levels in millions of years.
You can find the sources for all these facts and more at https://climate.nasa.gov
The evidence is undeniable: climate change is man-made, and therefore it‘s our responsibility to stop it.
To do this, we need to channel the spirit of the Montreal Protocol and call on governments, councils, communities, NGOs, scientists, businesses, unions, and individuals to unite for a planet for tomorrow.
Barack Obama: "We are the first generation to feel the effect of climate change, and the last generation who can do something about it."
The Paris Agreement.
The Paris Agreement of 2015 calls for concerted action to hold the increase in global average temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial levels.
However global warming is accelerating at such a pace that this is no longer enough. To ensure a planet for tomorrow we must restrict warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius or lower.
If we are to do this, we have to make sure the whole world makes a firm commitment to achieving this target. While this is hugely positive, two main obstacles stand in the way of further progress.
First, unlike the Montreal Protocol, not every country has yet signed up to the Paris agreement. You can find all the countries that have signed here: http://unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/9444.php
Second, unlike the Montreal Protocol, the nationally determined contributions set out in the Paris Agreement are not legally binding, nor there are any penalties for not meeting targets. As the USA has shown, it is therefore possible to withdraw from the agreement without facing any consequences.
While it was a blow to the Paris Agreement, the reaction to the USA’s withdrawal also offers us hope. The rest of the world agreed to honour the agreement with or without the USA, and individual American states, businesses and people have shown their determination to adhere to the agreement and reduce the impact on environment.
There is also the recent example of the Kigali Amendment in 2016, as agreed by all parties to the Montreal protocol. This legally binding amendment phases out the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which were introduced as substitutes for ozone-depleting refrigerants as outlawed by the Montreal Protocol. HFCs, as used in air conditioning units and refrigerants can be 1000 to 9000 times more powerful in warming the environment than C02. Therefore getting rid of HFCs will prevent up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of warming by the end of the century, a significant achievement.
The Montreal Protocol and Kigali Amendment illustrate the level of international collaboration and decisive action necessary if we are to survive the challenges of climate change. Every individual and institution on earth has a role if we are to enjoy a planet for tomorrow – and we want you to encourage them all to act.
Emmanuel Macron: “Make our planet great again.”
Global warming can be tackled on two levels: institutional and individual. Therefore this year we have not one, but two briefs. You can make posters for both briefs, but no more than three posters in total.
1) PARIS JE T’AIME
Governments are accountable to the people they represent. Make a poster telling your government that the only way we will have a planet for tomorrow is if every country in the world makes a firm, legally binding, commitment to the Paris Agreement.
You may choose to make a poster relevant to your own country or community (in your own language) or to the international community (in English or French).
Message: Commit to the Paris Agreement Now!
2) The Sustainable Development Goals
Strangely enough, the environment is never specifically mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were launched by the United Nations in 2015, the urgency of global warming is reflected in the fact that of the 17 goals, 13 directly relate to climate change, and 1 is focused on urgent action towards climate change.
Everyone from institutions to individuals can work towards achieving these goals. As the strength of poster for tomorrow is communal action, we invite you to pick one of the SDGs and make a poster to: 1) raise awareness of a sustainable development goals; 2) show how people or institutions can help achieve a SDG and contribute to a planet for tomorrow.
You may choose to make a poster relevant to your own country or community (in your own language) or the international community (in English or French).
Message: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals is essential for a planet for tomorrow – this is how you can contribute to achieving one of the SDGs.