Why?

Climate change is real, dangerous, happening now, and could be averted if we woke up and used our ingenuity and persistence to do something. The Catalyst Project is finding some of those people and helping them to act.

By now most of us have seen graphs showing the rise in carbon emissions since the industrial revolution, and the rise in temperature over the same time. Most of us have heard various cases for how they link. Most of us see pictures of melting glaciers, read about destructive storms, droughts, fires and hurricanes. Most of us donít think about it much more than that. But there is a link, and that link is deadly.

We have already experienced 1°C of climate change. In most parts of the world, we already see a much higher incidence of severe weather events, and there are already an estimated 25 million environmental refugees resulting from changing rain patterns, floods, storms and rising tides.

Our current trajectory will lead to between 4°C - 6°C of global warming. This is unthinkable, as just 2°C warming is considered the threshold for catastrophic climate change.

If we allow global temperatures to rise by 2°C, we face water shortages for up to two billion people, up to 30% of plant and animal species becoming extinct, tropical forests becoming savannah, coral reef ecosystems being irreversibly damaged, and a wide range of other terrible impacts.

A change of more than 2°C will lead to agricultural yields falling on a huge scale, leave millions of people at risk of drought and hunger, and create millions more environmental refugees. Beyond 2°C, between 3,000 and 5,000 people will die heat-related deaths a year in Australia and New Zealand alone.

Were this not enough, one terrible fear is that even if we do everything right, stopping at 2°C warming will be very difficult. There is now increasing evidence that, once we reach 2°C warming, significant feedback mechanisms will be triggered which will rapidly accelerate us past 2°C - resulting in even more dreadful consequences for humanity and the planet.

We have no time to waste. The United Nationsí Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has recently stated that it is now "very unlikely" (only a 1 - 10% chance) that we will be able to avoid a rise of 2°C in global temperatures. But "unlikely" doesnít mean "impossible".

There are ways of changing our current trajectory.

We have to try.