Dr Debra Roberts, Durban’s climate change champion and co-chairperson at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said global warming was an issue that was “on our doorsteps”, and every action counted.
She returned to the city last week from the IPCC meeting in Incheon, South Korea, where experts agreed that global warming needed to be capped at 1.5ºC to avoid drastic effects of climate change, and motivate for action to change the way the world worked.
“We have passed the era of choices. The report is clear, we have to act now, and rapidly, and at scale. These are significant changes we have to make and we’ve never had to do it at scale before. It’s an unusual challenge,” said Roberts.
The changes she refers to are energy use, land use and transportation systems, and urban infrastructure - human activities that contributed to global warming.
“Industries need to change, and we as consumers need to change to make sure we have an impact in bringing about change. We also have to make these changes rapidly because we have about 12 years to cap the temperature rise.
“We need to build our buildings differently, have more meat-free meals, look at how we move around with transportation and what energy we are using. We can no longer be complacent, it’s right here on our doorstep,” she said.