Byline: Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic
The major new report from the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released in Korea on October 8 (2018), is nearly 800 pages long and includes more than 6,000 scientific references. However, it can be summarized in just few sentences with absolutely horrific implications: The average global temperature is now 1.0AdegC above its pre-industrial levels. That increase is already causing more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, and is damaging untold number of land and sea ecosystems. A 1.5AdegC increase, likely by 2040, would make things worse.
A 2.0AdegC increase will be far worse than that. Only radical socio-economic and politico-diplomatic change can stop catastrophe. The world's leading climate scientists have warned that only a dozen years are left for global warming to be kept to a maximum increase of 1.5AdegC. Beyond that an irreversibility effect would be set in motion: even half a degree increase will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat, hence poverty for hundreds of millions of people. To avoid the most serious damage requires transforming the world economy within just a few years, said the authors, who estimate that the damage would come at a cost of a fantastic, and rather fracturing, $54 trillion. This transformation goes - of course - beyond what we usually label as 'economy'.
It will require a change of entire human dynamics; modes and preference of how we extract, manufacture, distribute, consume, spend, live, travel, power all that, think of and teach about it. Reactions are unfolding: "Limiting global warming to 1.5AdegC above pre-industrial levels would be a herculean task, involving rapid, dramatic changes in the way that governments, industries and societies function" - says the Nature magazine. Science Daily predicts: "Limiting global warming to 1.5AdegC would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society ... With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, limiting global warming to 1.5AdegC compared to 2AdegC could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society".
Unholy war against everything beautiful on this planet
Nevertheless, for the informed and willing, all was clear already with the Rio summit. Back then, I was quick to react: it was me being among the very first in Europe to conceptualise and introduce (and set as obligatory)...