Science knocks on COP26’s door with another barrage of evidence
Madrid, October 28 (EFE). The international community is back at the Climate Negotiating Council – in Glasgow starting Sunday – with another barrage of scientific evidence knocking on the door to warn of the effects, catastrophic and in many cases already irreversible, that climate change will have on the planet.
It will be in the Scottish city of Glasgow, where the 26th United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP26) meets to resume negotiations stalled last year by the pandemic and nearly two years after the last conference held in Madrid in December. 2019.
Two years during which new scientific reports have been piling up warning of the consequences of climate change, which should largely guide negotiations in the Scottish city, a date considered by many to be the most important since the 2015 Paris Agreement because it should serve to advance some of the points expected in that agreement that have been stuck in Madrid.
Just a week before COP26 opened, it was the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) who knocked on his door, warning that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – the main driver of climate change – last year set a new record and that numbers had soared despite from the pandemic and the global slowdown in the economy.
Among the reports from the past two years stand out the reports published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, better known by its English acronym -IPCC- which has advised the United Nations for more than 30 years with assessment reports. . , based on scientific evidence about climate change, its impacts, risks, adaptation and mitigation options.
The latest IPCC report, released last August, warns that climate change is “undoubtedly” caused by human activity and has driven the world into its warmest period in 2,000 years, but also that many of its consequences will now be irreversible. , since then for example. Glaciers and mountain poles will continue to melt for decades or centuries, even if emissions are reduced.
Unprecedented climatic changes in history
The current changes in climate are unprecedented in recent centuries and even millennia, scientists emphasized in the report, and calculated that if the current rate of greenhouse gas emissions was maintained, the global temperature would rise by 2.7 degrees until the end of the century with respect to the average epoch Pre-industrial (1850-1900), an increase that will lead to more extreme weather events (droughts, floods or heat waves).
This report identifies five possible scenarios, the most pessimistic of which indicates that greenhouse gas emissions could double by mid-century, and then the effects would be catastrophic because the temperature would rise 4 degrees, far from the targets set in Paris. …to limit the increase to two degrees specified by the Paris Agreement, preferably 1.5.
The IPCC data just four weeks later were backed up by a new report, in this case from the World Meteorological Organization, with the latest data on global climate, a study that confirmed that the planet is on a path of accelerated warming and that increasing temperatures are already on the way to 3 degrees.
This report indicated that it is very likely that already in the next five years, temperatures will temporarily exceed the 1.5 °C threshold in relation to those recorded in the pre-industrial era, given the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The effect continues to break records.
Or that the average temperatures between 2017 and 2021 are the highest recorded in a five-year period (more than one degree higher than those averaged 150 years ago), and that what happened in the climate during the past century is a clear anomaly if compared to estimates the past 100,000 years, with the consequent impact on human health.
300 million people affected by floods
Among the studies published in recent months stands out the study by the US Central Climate Organization, which includes several scientists from around the world researching climate change and its impacts on populations to help policy makers make and agree on the text they published in the prestigious journal Nature .
Their conclusions were strong, too, tripling (to 300 million) the number of people worldwide who would be regularly exposed to sea-level rise and coastal flooding that would be recorded as a result of climate change.
The computation model they used, unlike the systems that had been used before, allowed them to distinguish between treetops and rooftops, making coastlines appear less vulnerable than they really were.
The scientists also created an interactive map that provides an accurate prediction of how sea-level rise and flooding will affect thousands of places around the world under different scenarios: from continued emissions with virtually no restrictions to emissions.
The research provided individual data from a total of 135 countries and indicated that six Asian countries (China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand) with an estimated 237 million people would face such floods at least once a year if it weren’t enough. Coastal defenses were built.
Recovery plans inconsistent with climate goals
The scientific reports of the past two years have joined the report just published by an international team of researchers in The Lancet, where they warn that many plans designed to revitalize the economy after the serious crisis caused by the pandemic, and which contemplate an infusion of trillions of dollars, are incompatible with climate goals.
Scientists have estimated that less than one in five dollars invested in the economic recovery after the coronavirus outbreak will be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and that the overall impact will be very negative on public health. And his conclusion: “We are recovering from a health crisis in a way that puts our health at risk.”
The culmination of all scientific reporting arrived exactly a few days before COP26 itself with the publication of working conclusions in which the results of nearly 90,000 previous studies (between 2012 and 2020) were analyzed showing the overall consensus. Found among researchers: 99.9 percent of scientific articles conclude that climate change is human-caused. EFE
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