How Climate Fresk helps break down this complex yet divisive issue in simple and applicable information
Climate change: It’s happening to all of us but nobody likes talking about it.
And when nobody likes talking about it, nobody will be compelled to make changes to their habits, in order to reduce overall carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuels.
“But the reasons for not talking about it are completely valid”, says Thibaut Meurgue-Guyard, an Expert Facilitator at Climate Fresk. Along with fellow expert facilitator Rajul Priyardashi, they led the “Greater x SMU Mentoring Programme: Climate Education Through Climate Fresk” workshop for members of the Greater Club.
Thibault is an impact entrepreneur and also a founding member of the IxSA, the Innovation x Sustainability Alliance. Rajul, who has led over 50 Climate Fresk workshops is also an Expert Facilitator and a corporate lead at Climate Fresk.
“It’s a depressing yet complex topic, and overwhelming with all the different sources of information around us,” says Meurgue-Guyard. “And there is always bad news about it, which has a heavy toll when we want to talk about climate change,” he adds.
He notes that solutions to climate change are divisive. It is hard for organisations to unite on a common purpose and work together to create solutions, as climate change evokes a wide variety of opinions.
The workshop was held jointly with Singapore Management University students, accompanied with Winston Chow, Associate Professor of Urban Climate. Together, we deconstructed the intricate details of climate change and its detrimental effects in a fun, interactive setting.
Here are some standout points from the workshop:
What is Climate Fresk?
Climate Fresk is a non-government organisation founded in 2018 that works to get people and organisations on board with climate transition. It does this through its flagship 3-hour interactive and collaborative workshop, whereby participants map out a flow chart using a series of 42 cards, according to the effects of climate change.
The NGO was founded by Cédric Ringenbach, who is an engineer, lecturer and energy transition consultant. Cédric has been a climate specialist since 2009, a consulting company on climate strategy.
The workshop’s card game is a science-based activity based on the IPCC report, and was designed by Cédric to explain the causes and consequences of climate change in a fun and easily scalable way that even the ordinary layperson would understand and take action.
He created the Climate Fresk game in 2014. Since its launch, the game has reached over 1,000,000 participants worldwide, with 3,600 participants in Singapore alone. It is now active in over 40 countries, with workshop participant numbers doubling every 5 months.
What is the IPCC report?
The IPCC, or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is a United Nations body that assesses the impact of climate change. It publishes comprehensive assessment reports detailing the effects of climate change if rising temperatures are not limited to below 1.5 degrees celsius, as per the Paris Agreement.
Now in its sixth assessment, the report is the go-to source for a scientific insight into the impact of climate change on communities, biodiversity and ecosystems. It also suggests changes and solutions that organisations and individuals can make, most of which have to do with reducing their carbon footprint and reliance on fossil fuels.
While it holds a lot of vital information for the fight against climate change, the majority of people would find it hard to digest and make sense of. That’s where the Climate Fresk workshop comes in.
What will happen if the Paris Agreement targets are not met?
The Paris Agreement is a legally-binding international treaty on climate change. Signed by 106 countries in 2015, its long-term goal is to keep the mean rise in global temperatures below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and preferably limit the increase to 1.5°C, to minimise the impact on climate change.
In order to achieve such targets, carbon emissions need to be cut roughly by 50 percent in 2030, as well as reach net-zero carbon emissions by the middle of the 21st century. That means the mix of energy sources, of which more than 85 percent is made up of fossil fuels, needs to be drastically rebalanced towards cleaner sources of energy.
But what happens if these targets are missed?
The Climate Fresk Workshop reiterates that there are more nefarious consequences caused by extreme weather and rising sea levels as well as temperatures, if the Paris Agreement targets aren’t met. The consequences are:
– ocean acidification from the absorption of more carbon dioxide, which will impact aquatic life by reducing calcification. Coral life, as well as lobsters, shrimp and other organisms with shell coverings are consumed by bigger organisms, impacting food sources for both aquatic and human life directly.
– melting glaciers, which will reduce the sources of fresh water available for consumption
– extreme weather events such as intense cyclones, droughts and floods, causing decreased agricultural yields, in turn leading to widespread food shortages
– climate refugees losing their homes due to extreme weather
– impact on human nutrition and widespread hunger due to food shortages
– armed conflicts over the lack of food and fresh water.
– the triggering of feedback loops, which will lead to unprecedented damage. The melting of permafrost, which will increase carbon dioxide levels and contribute to rising sea levels, is one of them.
– coastal communities may disappear as a result of rising sea levels
How will unchecked carbon emissions impact Singapore?
Singapore has taken on the ambitious goal to become net zero by 2050 and to prepare for rising sea levels. But our daily lives will still be impacted if the nations don’t work towards the Paris Agreement targets.
For instance, sweltering days will occur more frequently, with a reduction in cool nights. Singapore will also experience more flash floods due to higher rainfall, as climate change increases monsoon activity. The Climate Fresk predicts that temperatures in Singapore will rise between 1.4°C to 4.6°C, the latter of which will occur if nothing is done at all to curb global carbon emissions.
What habits can individuals change in order to reduce impact?
Individual consumers can do their part in reducing their carbon footprint, too. Collectively, their efforts will have a significant impact in helping countries meet Paris Agreement targets.
For instance, living car free and avoiding transatlantic flights have the greatest impact in reducing your carbon footprint, as these activities generate more than 0.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person a year.
The Climate Fresk also recommends the following ways for individuals to reduce their carbon output further:
Agriculture: eat less meat, more local, more organic, less packaging, follow the seasons.
Living and working in buildings: insulate, less heating and air conditioning.
Industry: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Reclaim, reduce waste, build/buy less products and buildings.
Transportation: fly less, travel and commute by public transport and bicycle rather than by plane or car.