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As news reports show Venice underwater, Russell Jones asks if the writing is on the wall for more low lying parts of the globe.

If you are lucky enough to have visited Venice, you will know how unique and amazing it is and also, how flooded with tourists it becomes.

However, it is flooding of a different kind that has hit the news recently with shocking images of people having to use specially built catwalks to get across the floodwater in St. Mark's Square during this year’s period of seasonal high water.

Amongst the many reports, National Geographic posted some amazing and horrifying images of people knee-deep in water and restaurants with all of their outside seating submerged. 

There are also reports that the saline flood water is harming the very fabric of the city’s historic buildings.

Final call

Whilst the few remaining climate change deniers can now be filed in the same category as those still advocating that the earth is flat, and everyone is acutely aware of the problem, the world is still struggling to come to terms with what needs to be done to halt and reverse the catastrophic effects on our planet.

The World Wildlife Fund has produced a very powerful video which highlights that: “We are the first generation that knows we are destroying the world and could be the last that can do anything about it.”

At the beginning of October, a landmark report from The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) effectively delivered a final call for urgent action to stop the planet from overheating.

The UN-backed research says that Governments world-wide must act to completely cut out global carbon emissions by 2050, or risk more floods, droughts, storms and mass food shortages.

Fear or fact?

So, if we don’t stop and reverse the damage of climate change, what does this mean? And why have I mentioned both Amsterdam and Florida in the title as well as Venice?

National Geographic have also produced an extraordinary series of maps showing the effect of rising sea levels as a result of climate change and this is seriously bad news for a host of significant places around the globe.

Not only all of Florida ends up under sea levels (meaning Miami disappears), New Orleans, New York, Charleston and Boston are also under threat.

In Europe, most of the Netherlands, including Amsterdam end up under the sea, but Stockholm, Helsinki and even London are also in danger of disappearing under the waves.  And as for Venice, they are going to need more than gondoliers so, as the title of this article says: “Farewell”.

In Asia and the Middle East, Baghdad, Kolkata, Bangkok, Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong are all gone, whilst Adelaide is also under threat and we could even see the development of a huge body of water in the middle of Australia. 

Complete despair?

Before you start stockpiling food and reach for a rubber dinghy, there is still hope that we can do something about this, with The Telegraph highlighting the UN Report which does conclude that we will be in with a chance if we can achieve a carbon neutral status by 2050.

However, this does call of each and every one of us to play our part in whatever ways you can, whether that is reducing your own carbon footprint at home and work, or putting pressure on both government and business to change the way they ‘do business’ to offer more sustainability and help reduce emissions.

Tomorrow is too late

It’s easy to think that the problem is too big for one person to solve on their own but collectively, every little thing we each choose to do to reduce energy use and lower our own carbon footprint will make a difference.

None of us can afford to sit around and wait for others to change things for us, so as an individual, what can you do?

Well, in addition to the ‘usual’ advice on turning off unnecessary lights and appliance and dropping the heating by 1 degree, going meat-free for one day a week can also make a difference as meat production is a major cause of carbon emissions (as my vegan daughter delights in telling me!).

It’s also worth looking at the future of heating for your home and seeing whether you can upgrade your system from carbon-intensive gas or oil, to renewable air source heat pumps.

And for businesses, there is so much that they can do, whether that is a simple look at the control systems for their existing heating, cooling and ventilation systems to see where energy is being wasted, through to upgrading aging equipment to modern, super-efficient systems.

Then we all need to do what we can to put pressure on business and government to make sure they are doing  all they can.  As a consumer for example, it annoys me that recycling is not as easy and straightforward as it should be, as my colleague Ellina Webb explores here.

Not all doom and gloom

I’ve written before on The Hub about President Trump’s rejection of the Paris Climate Change Agreement and how actually, businesses and individual states in the US are ignoring the President’s direction and sticking to the plans to put in place measures which help address climate change.

And as Jim McClelland writes elsewhere on The Hub, there are positive moves aplenty.

Jim focuses on the SBTi (Science Based Targets Initiative) which already has almost 500 companies talking part, ranging from AXA and Chanel, to Wal-Mart and Yamaha, 149 of whom have approved targets in place.

Earlier this year, investors managing over $1tr in assets worldwide openly threw their weight behind the push for science, banding together as the Investor Decarbonisation Initiative and sending letters to chief executives of major companies.

So, it's not all doom and gloom ... but there is a lot that needs to be done and it is down to all of us to play our part.

Russell Jones is content and communications manager for Mitsubishi Electric