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Is climate change the new apocalypse?

The world now has a ticking clock of just about 12 years left to get a hold of climate change before it gets a hold of us, according to a United Nations climate change report.

But, what if people simply don’t care enough?

Issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the report described a grim reality of a world plagued by worsening food shortages, extreme storms, threatened ecosystems, wildfires and the displacement of millions of people. They also predicted a mass die-off of coral reefs.

A team of nearly 100 scientists warned the world to implement “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” because they are required to ward off the worst impacts of global warming, which could be felt as soon as 2040.

By that time, most of the current students at Georgia State will be in their 30s, and in the worst possible scenario, that generation could experience what could be considered an apocalyptic-like crisis.

“From rising sea levels to more devastating droughts to more damaging storms, the report makes brutally clear that warming will make the world worse for us in the forms of famine, disease, economic tolls, and refugee crisis,” Vox reporter Umair Irfan said in an article on climate change.

Despite the depressing future foreshadowed by this report, the scientists did say that we still have time to catch up before the earth overheats, and halting global warming can save many people from suffering from water scarcity. If climate change is slowed down, there would be fewer deaths and illnesses from heat, smog and infectious diseases, according to the report.

“The world’s economies must quickly reduce fossil fuel use while at the same time dramatically increasing the use of clean, efficient energy. These transitions must start now and be well underway in the next 20 years,” the report stated.

Mitigating climate change would significantly reduce the risk of some potential severe impacts such as water scarcity, extreme heat, floods, droughts, tropical cyclones, biodiversity loss and rising sea levels.

This report shows that the longer we wait, “the more difficult, the more expensive and the more dangerous it will be,” said Bill Hare, a physicist with the nonprofit group Climate Analytics.

But, with President Donald Trump’s recent decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate agreement, it’s unlikely the U.S. will move in a more environmentally conscious direction.

The Paris Agreement is an agreement adopted on Dec. 12, 2015, within the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, and its central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature below 2 degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels. It even is pursuing long-term efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Today, 181 countries are currently part of the agreement as they aim to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change.

“Although the government policies and initiatives do shape the direction of how the world responds to this issue, individuals can help combat this problem with just altering their daily lives to better suit the environment,” Georgia State student Antonio Contreras-Muñoz said.

He made the decision to go vegan around a year ago to better himself and the environment.

In a 2006 report, the U.N. said raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gases than all cars and trucks in the world combined. According to downtoearth.org, the single most important step an individual can take to reduce global warming faster than any other means is to adopt a vegetarian diet.

“The reason I went vegan is not only because of the horrible way animals are treated in the food industry, but also because of how much our meat-based diets contribute to the worsening of the environment,” Contreras-Muñoz said.

“We can’t depend on the government to care enough. If you care about the effects of climate change, do something,” Contreras-Muñoz said.

For senior Chauncey Carter, convenience is the most prominent factor that hinders his willpower to change his environmentally unfriendly habits. He said he knows there are a lot of things he can change about his lifestyle, like turning off the water while brushing his teeth or turning the lights off, but nothing has shocked him enough into changing.

“I would definitely consider making some changes in my lifestyle habits to help save the planet, but I think the biggest reason it’s so hard for me and a lot of other people is because we always search for the easiest way to do things,” Carter said. “We live in a microwavable society where we want everything to be ready in 5 minutes.”

Although Carter knows he lacks the willpower to truly implement these changes, he said he still plans to try.

“I’m going to try to eat better and be more conscious of the little things I do everyday that [are] adding to the destruction of the environment,” Carter said.

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