The existential threat of climate change

By Sabiha Malik

Founder of The World Bee Project CIC

It is essential to cut production of fossil fuels to avoid the most severe impacts of climate breakdown and the social and economic mayhem that is bound to ensue.



As the climate emergency escalates, so does the global movement for climate justice. This month, progressive lawmakers and climate activists endorsed by 400 scientists and 500 organisations held inter-generational and cross-societal marches and rallies to demand an end to fossil fuel usage now. More than 650 marches occurred in countries including Bolivia, Pakistan, Ethiopia and Austria, culminating with the ‘March to End Fossil Fuels’ in New York City on 17 September, the largest climate march in the US in five years.

Burning oil, gas and coal to generate electricity emits carbon dioxide, the primary driver of climate change. Fossil fuels also release pollutants that make extreme weather more violent and fill the air with toxins that take a grievous toll, killing between 1 and 10 million people every year.

This summer has been the hottest on record since records began in 1880. Across the world, from the Americas to Africa, Europe to Asia, climate change has caused deaths, record-breaking floods and drought, wildfires, and exceptionally extreme temperatures. An interim independent climate resilience report for London has found the capital could experience multiple 45C days “in the foreseeable future”, literally disabling various essential functions of the city. For example, London’s ‘Underground’ (train system) would no longer be fit for purpose.



The intricate, intertwined relationships between climate change, the food system, and biodiversity loss place immense burdens on our planet, subjecting pollinating species to relentless stress while creating conditions that wither their natural habitats. Increased droughts and floods make it more challenging to maintain crops and produce adequate food in some regions. Food production  is one of the biggest threats to species extinction and ecological degradation. Agriculture is responsible for 90% of global deforestation and accounts for 70% of the planet’s freshwater use, devastating the species that inhabit those ecosystems.

In the face of our terrible predicament, can we expect the fossil fuel industry to heed the evidence? So far, the evidence is not reassuring. As per an IMF analysis, the year  2022 bore witness to the collective inaction of the wealthy G20 economies jointly responsible for 80% of global carbon emissions, as they doled out a staggering $7 trillion in subsidies to the very oil, gas and coal sectors that perpetuate the climate emergency. The World Bank reported in June this year that combined fossil fuel and agricultural subsidies could amount to $12tn (£9.5tn) a year and were causing “environmental havoc”. The International Energy Agency made it clear that the world must cease building new fossil fuel infrastructure to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Why aren’t the G20 listening to these sobering revelations?

Humanity faces an existential threat, but it isn’t too late. Given half a chance, human ingenuity, technology, innovation, and market dynamics could help us avoid the climate breakdown disasters confronting us.


A study published in the journal Joule found that the rapid reduction in fossil fuels, essential to avoid devastating climate breakdown, would have minimal financial impact on most people. In high-income countries, two-thirds of the financial losses would be borne by the most affluent 10%. In contrast, governments could easily compensate for the minimal impact on those on middle and lower levels of wealth.


Sabiha Malik founded The World Bee Project CIC in 2014 to utilise AI and novel technologies to initiate a global perspective, addressing pollinator and biodiversity decline, food insecurity, climate change and threats to human wellbeing as a single interactive, interconnected challenge confronting humanity. Sabiha believes that bees lie at the heart of the relationships that bind the natural and human worlds, and in safeguarding bees lies the means to safeguard life itself.