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This Is Why You Should Be Worried About A Carbon Budget

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WhyOnEarth logo mobEditor’s Note: Are you bothered by the drastic changes in our climate, causing extreme weather events and calamities such as the Kerala Floods? #WhyOnEarth aims to take the truth to the people with stories, experiences, opinions and revelations about the climate change reality that you should know, and act on. Have a story to share? Click here and publish.
Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg at the 50th World Economic Forum annual meeting, Davos, on January 21, 2020.

“Let’s be clear. We don’t need a ‘low-carbon economy.’ We don’t need to ‘lower emissions.’ Our emissions have to stop to stay if we are to have a chance to stay below the 1.5 degrees target. We need real zero. Because distant net zero emission targets will mean absolutely nothing if we just continue to ignore the carbon dioxide budget, which applies for today not distant future dates. If high emissions continue like now even for a few years, that remaining budget will soon be completely used up.”
Greta Thunberg at Davos on January 21, 2020

A carbon budget is an upper limit of total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions associated with ‘remaining below a specific global average temperature.’ IPCC is stressing to stay a carbon budget within 1.5°C, i.e. the amount of carbon dioxide emissions we can emit while still having a chance of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Anthropogenic greenhouse gases, GHG, emissions have already raised global temperatures by around 1°C since pre-industrial times. We need shrinking the carbon budget to stay within 1.5°C of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The IPCC report SR15 suggests that we have only a few years left at our current rate of emissions before we blow the 1.5°C carbon budget.

Limiting warming to 1.5°C requires strictly limiting the total amount of carbon emissions between now and the end of the century. Global CO2 emissions need to fall to net-zero by 2050 to avoid 1.5°C of warming.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) special report on 1.5°C (SR15) says that there is only a 66% chance of limiting ‘global average temperature’ increase below 1.5°C, i.e. the atmosphere can absorb no more than 420 gigatonnes (Gt) of CO2 if we are to stay below the 1.5°C threshold.

Anthropogenic impacts of climate change.

IPCC’s SR15 reported that at the current rate of about 42 Gt of CO2 emissions globally every year or about 1332 tonnes per second, the carbon budget is expected to be used up in just within 8 years. In other words, if emissions continue unabated, the world is on track to exceed this budget in only about 7.11 years and exposing communities to increasingly dangerous forest fires, extreme weather, drought, flood, stronger oceanic waves, hurricanes, typhoons, tropical storms, sea ice melting, polar ice melting, rising sea levels, coral bleaching, habitat loss, shifting of habitats, migration of species, damage to the ecosystem and other climate impacts.

The MCC’s (Mercator Research Institute On Global Commons and Climate Change, Berlin) Carbon Clock shows how much CO2 can be released into the atmosphere to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5°C and 2°C, respectively. The clock keeps ticking and shows how little time is left for political decision-makers to take action.

According to the Global Carbon Project atmospheric CO2 concentration reached 407.4 parts per million in 2018 on average, and is projected to increase by 2.2 ppm in 2019 to reach 410 ppm averaged over the year. Atmospheric CO2 concentration in 2019 are 47% above pre-industrial levels.

The UN Climate Action Summit 2019 revealed that, as ice sheets and glaciers melt, the rapid sea-level rise could affect one billion people by 2050.

It looks like we are living in a world with an uncertain future for our current and next generations. We need urgent climate action by the governments and institutions to transform this world to real zero carbon emissions, as Greta Thunberg appealed in Davos on January 21, 2020 at WEF20.

We cannot change our past but can change our future. We have two primary choices at present: either to accept the conditions as they exist and wait for the end of the future or accept the responsibility to change climate change for the sake of a livable, better and more sustainable future. It is upon us, i.e. the current generation, to choose a future, for better or worse.

If we want to cherish every precious moment on earth, then we must take urgent climate action for a sustainable future. If we want to keep global average temperature increase below our 1.5°C target, then we will have to leave all (100%) of our fossil fuels in the ground and increase global forest cover equal to the land area of Canada (10 million sq km), by the year 2050.

This all will only be possible through implementing zero carbon policies and development, by our leaders with strong political will, for making a better world.

This post has been written by a YKA Climate Correspondent as part of #WhyOnEarth. Join the conversation by adding a post here.
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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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