By Nate Stratton
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a body of the United Nations that is responsible for researching and providing scientific evidence relating to the climate crisis. In their sixth report, published on August 7, 2021, there is information about every aspect of climate change, as well as various future scenarios that will reflect how we treat the crisis moving forward. What is certain is that our climate crisis is looming. Greenhouse gas emissions, including methane and carbon dioxide, are warming the earth at an unprecedented rate. This is causing major meltdowns of the Arctic ice sheets, which, in turn, is contributing to rising sea levels and ocean acidification. The report states that it is virtually certain that we will see a 1.5C increase in temperature from the pre-industrial period by 2050. A worldwide increase in temperature to this extent will have permanent effects on our global systems, harming countless ecosystems and human lives around the world. To keep warming from surpassing 1.5C, governments need to reduce their carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050.
What is certain is that, in the next several decades, there will need to be a considerable global effort to keep the effects of climate change from getting worse than they already are. This will primarily involve a large redistribution of jobs in both the private and public sectors to address various climate-related concerns. Scientists are only one part of this process. Doctors, lawyers, and other white-collar workers will be expected to specialize in fields related to the issue. Job openings for blue-collar workers will also be especially plentiful as countries begin transferring to clean energy. For example, according to an article by Yale Climate Connections, it’s predicted that demand for wind turbine service technicians will grow faster than any U.S occupation between now and 2029. Solar photovoltaic installers are also third in the predicted growth of the top ten occupations in the U.S. These shifts in employment will not be without their downfalls though. As governments begin shifting away from fossil fuels, this will displace people from their jobs in those industries. Teachers right now have the opportunity to prepare and influence young students to make choices in their careers that will best serve them in the long term.
What the IPCC report has told us is that we are at a critical point in our response to climate change. Our actions over the course of the next few decades will become the difference preventing our earth from warming to irreversible levels. Therefore, properly educating students of younger generations on climate change will have an extraordinary impact on how we handle the issue in the coming decades.