Global warming: How you can help the environment right now

Scientists say climate change is getting worse and there could be "life-or-death" consequences for our planet in the next 20 years. The new report from the U.N. predicts that at the current warming rate, millions more people will die from extreme heat by the year 2040. 

There will also be substantial loss of coral reefs and a rise of sea levels that could wipe out small island nations like the Bahamas and the Maldives. More than 90 scientists from 40 countries in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change wrote the 728-page report.

So are there practical ways we can help limit the warming? According to New York Times international climate reporter Somini Sengupta, the answer is yes:

  • Drive less, try to carpool or use public transit instead
  • Buy less clothing, as apparel and footwear industries contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, or buy vintage and clothes made from recycled fabric  
  • Replace air conditioners and refrigerators with ones that save energy and reduce hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
  • Have less demand for products that lead to deforestation including meat, timber, soy, and palm oil

The report highlights how the world needs "rapid and far-reaching" changes in energy systems, land use, city and industrial design, transportation and building use. It also suggests shifting away from fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas.