Are we serious about climate change? | OP-ED
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These days the summer has broken records in the world. Italy, Spain, India and the United States, just to mention a few countries, have reported historic temperatures and forest fires that cannot remain statistics and anecdotes.
As The Washington Post headlined these days, “Summer in the United States is getting hotter, longer and more dangerous”, this article confirms that the temperature in Reno has risen by 10.9 degrees Fahrenheit compared to 1970. I insist, it is not just the number, it is what it implies; it is more than just an unbearable heat.
One of the main consequences of the atypical increase or decrease in temperature in any part of the world has to do with the alteration of conditions for agriculture. It has changed the behavior of what is grown, the regularity of harvests, and the very quality of what the land yields. Food security, which is nothing more than the guarantee that hunger does not affect populations, is altered. Of course, it is not only about the environmental problems, but also the conditions of inequality in many countries of the world, like Colombia.
In the context of climate change, everything suggests that many influential leaders were paralyzed by the urgent need to take drastic measures to mitigate its consequences. This has been due to a lack of maneuvering in the face of pressure and lobbying by multinationals and private interests not to change the dynamics of production. But others, like Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro (President of Brazil), preferred to lie and assure that it was no longer a story of environmentalists.
Between summits and speeches, the reality is that since 2015 the diagnosis is far from the goals. According to the World Meteorological Organization, part of the United Nations, it is very likely that “the average annual temperature of the planet will temporarily exceed pre-industrial levels by 1.5°C, the lower limit of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change”.
This is on top of the unbridled growth of the population in large urban centers, displaced from their places of origin by the lack of opportunities to survive, by deplorable living conditions.
Today, in the midst of the Russia-Ukraine war, of the sanctions promoted by the United States on the Russian economy, the planet is still the central victim. Europe, which has been struggling for an energy transition that would put an end to the use of fossil fuels, is desperately looking for suppliers in the coal and oil market. As it cannot count on Russia’s supply, gas cannot ultimately be the main fuel in this transition, and the goal of zero carbon by 2050 seems unlikely to be met.
On the other side are the organizations and communities that work tirelessly to raise awareness and provide proposals and realities of the path we must follow to prevent us from being guilty of the end of this civilization. Local Governments are also joining in to confront illegal mining, deforestation, the dumping of garbage in seas and rivers, the abuse of single-use plastics and people’s behavior caused by contemporary consumerism.The heart of the problem lies in developed countries where industry is reluctant to make the leap towards environmental sustainability. This year, the United Nations warned that these countries continue to export “irresponsibly hazardous materials, like pesticides, plastic waste, electronic waste, used oil and discarded vehicles”. They take advantage of poor countries where environmental protection measures are weak or non-existent.
Likewise, the World Health Organization states that 99 percent of the world’s population “breathes air that exceeds the quality limits recommended by the World Health Organization and endangers their health”.