The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has left no doubts on the fatal outcome of climate change if there is no decisive change of course to the current situation. Little progress has been made with regard to CO2 emissions and air quality, but unfortunately improvements will be slow, and it will take decades to see global temperatures reduced.

Our summer 2021 was full of large-scale floods and fires, with record temperatures, but the most worrying alarm comes from a rare event for Greenland: rain. For the first time, it rained on the over 3,000-meter top of the ice cap, confirming how it is difficult to turn the tide within a reasonable time.

What is Coming

Greenhouse gas emissions are the cause of the temperature increase of about 1.1 °C since the mid-19th century, and soon the planet will reach the critical threshold of 1.5 °C. Each country is facing its challenges and has its climatic differences, as global warming considers the average of all the values recorded over time in all the considered areas of the world. When we reach 1.5 °C, we will have longer warm seasons and shorter cold ones, and of course heat waves.

At 2 °C the situation becomes more complicated and we would have to face serious problems for health and agriculture, due precisely to increasingly extreme and unpredictable temperatures. This means that while on the one hand some areas will be subject to drought, others will see an intensification of storms, and in the altitudes there will be an increase in rainfall. In this context, the coastal areas will suffer from extreme events, which will be more and more frequent even 100 times, and erosion will undermine the coasts. Another problem concerning the Oceans is their acidification and the reduction of oxygen levels. Lastly, we should consider the permafrost melting, which dissolving would trigger significantly a carbon bomb.

Managing the Environmental Transition to Batten Down the Hatches

Emissions have not decreased as expected and the measures remain ineffective to date. In Switzerland tried to ask the population for sacrifices but without any success, someone else theorized to apply the lockdown and green pass logic to the situation, but the shared recession as an antidote to neoliberalism does not seem immediately applicable. And above all, they are unpopular measures.

The promotion of a virtuous model for a real ecological transition is more viable, in order to convert an old paradigm towards renewables, agroecology, biodiversity, zero-emission mobility, and therefore a circular economy. This Italian plan promoted by Draghi is an example that is being developed within the 2050 long-term strategy, which aims to achieve a climate-neutral Europe by 2050. An important signal that also wants to raise public awareness and shake other governments.

Edited by Andrea Ruffoni Semidey

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