Climate crisis: time is running out

2 min

The new climate report from UN-backed scientists could not make it any clearer: from traditional caution to alarming clarity. Time is running out to curb global warming. The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions cannot be delayed any longer. The Paris Agreements are not enough and, moreover, due to the pandemic, they should have been renewed a year ago. The Glasgow summit in November - COP26 - should be decisive with the horizon of strong commitments for 2030, that is to say, immediately. This decade has to be key to decarbonise the planet. Experts say that the only way is degrowth: we are therefore faced with the need for a great collective change of mentality that includes renunciations: consume less, travel less, with all that this may entail in economic terms.

How can this be done? Decarbonisation already has a cost in itself, and another cost is the change in the economic model it entails. The rich countries, if they set their minds to it, can do it, but they will also have to help the poor countries. Therefore, the effort required is not small. On the contrary, will there be enough political will to make it happen? Will there be enough entrepreneurial will and capacity? Will there be enough popular awareness? Citizen pressure has undoubtedly increased a lot. Every catastrophic weather event, from this summer's fires in California, Siberia and the Mediterranean to the floods in Germany and Belgium, helps. It is becoming clear to everyone that no one escapes the disastrous effects of climate change: cyclones, hurricanes, high tides, heat waves, and so on. Extreme weather events are becoming commonplace. The concept of climate refugee will become more and more common: by the end of 2019, there were 79.5 million of them.

Well, it's time for action. Without delay. And we must do this from a fourfold political, scientific-technological, economic and civic perspective. The role of governments and supragovernmental institutions is key to provide courageous and clear guidelines, but at the same time the participation of the economic world is essential (not only to reduce emissions, but also to change an industrial, agricultural and service model that is too predatory of natural resources), that of the scientific world to achieve new technology that makes a more harmonious relationship with the planet viable, and that of individual citizens so that we become aware of the environmental cul-de-sac in which we find ourselves and act accordingly in our day-to-day lives. There are duties for everyone. And they are not exactly easy. Fortunately, denialist discourses have lost a lot of strength in the face of dramatic evidence. But we have already seen how denial has been transferred to the field of the coronavirus, a pandemic which, on the other hand, is also the result of animal exploitation without many limits. It is therefore urgent to move towards a new culture of respect for nature and, as a matter of urgency, to put a stop to global warming. Nothing more and nothing less than the viability of human life on planet Earth is at stake.