Thursday, April 22, 2021

Earth Day is April 22

Thursday, April 22 marks the 51st Earth Day. The first U.S. celebration of Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970.  The Biden Administration has decided to convene a virtual global climate summit on Earth Day 2021.

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry set off to China ahead of the climate summit last week to discuss international efforts to tackle global warming. Secretary Kerry has been making the rounds to media and urging countries around the world to set ambitious targets for cutting their greenhouse gas emissions. China is the world’s largest generator of greenhouse gases.

 The United States is set to announce its own new target for emissions cuts by 2030 at the global climate summit. Global emissions of CO2 from fossil fuels and industry increased by 2.2% per year on average between 2005 and 2015 (Le Quere C 2018). In order to limit climate change to below 2 °C of warming global emissions CO2 need to peak and decline rapidly. Without China and India agreeing to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in the near term, there is no hope of achieving any meaningful action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Scientists once hoped that CO2 emissions could be held below the “tipping point,” now the plan is to quickly reach peak emissions and then reverse course reducing global net human-caused CO2 emissions by about 45 % from 2010 levels by 2030 and reaching ‘net zero’ emissions around 2050. (Forbes, 2019). Peak emissions will occur when China and India peak in their emissions.

Data for my pie is from: Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2017) - "CO₂ and Greenhouse Gas Emissions". Published online at

This year the theme given to Earth Day 2021 by the Earth Day Network, the organization that leads Earth Day worldwide, is “Restore Our Earth.“  I think we should take that to heart and begin the restoration of the earth in our homes and lives.

The U.S. EPA says “Our actions impact the environment. Each thing we do can help or hurt our planet in many ways.” Cherishing and being a good steward of the earth is how to begin, not yet another online conference.  EPA has tools to help you learn and understand the issues and help you reduce your environmental footprint. Learn more about your carbon footprint and ways you can work for a more sustainable future.  Then begin by reducing all the waste in your life and get outside to appreciate what we still have.

Carbon Footprint Calculator | Climate Change | US EPA

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