Editorial | The environment requires action now

Any outcome of the COP26 conference that opens this Sunday in Glasgow that does not include the adoption of concrete measures of almost immediate application should be considered disappointing for fight climate change. The certainty that the degradation of the climate, of the environment, is advancing at a rate and with a greater intensity than anticipated does not admit of delays or half measures, much less paying attention to the denialist demagoguery and granting it the same credibility as the reasoned conclusions of the scientific community, which has repeatedly warned that, except for peremptory action, the future of the planet will be put in an irreversible situation in terms of quality of life for present and future generations.

The climate emergency is an unavoidable reality whose most obvious translation is the proliferation of natural disasters of all kinds: torrential rains, devastating fires, endless droughts, degradation of water systems and unstoppable air pollution. To correct and limit the effects of such a situation there is no other than to change the economic and consumption model. It is unavoidable to decarbonise production processes, unreservedly bet on renewable energy sources, set a date for the sharp reduction in the use of fossil fuels, de-escalate the production of waste and rigorously manage its storage or destruction. It is also inescapable to help countries that lack the resources to face the transition to the green economy and to establish action programs in this regard.

Those who resist accepting the change of model in the name of economic growth ignore what the reality will be in the medium term if the increase in the average temperature of the Earth exceeds 1.5 degrees: if this happens, world GDP will suffer a ruinous contraction for the whole world, including the most prosperous countries. When instances as little suspicious of radicalism as the World Bank or the European Commission warn that action must be taken without delay, it is because the severity of the patient worsens day by day and it is necessary to intervene with determination and promptness.

However, these requirements are currently insufficient to overcome some resistance to change. For example, in the United States, where several multinationals oppose the president’s plans for purely fiscal reasons Joe Biden to clean the environment. For example, in China, which avoids making an unequivocal commitment to the elimination of coal in energy production. For example, in several regions of Eastern Europe – Poland, Russia – where coal mining is fundamental in their economies. For example, in emerging countries such as India and South Africa, which are requesting financial help from the North to sign up for the change in the development model.

It would be absurd not to recognize the difficulties to solving the puzzle, but the only thing that should not happen in Glasgow is that the session is adjourned in two weeks without specific commitments. The application of the Paris Agreement of 2015 specifies them without subterfuge and it must be said that the main actors of the international community, in turn major polluters, are already lagging behind in view of the dimensions that the crisis has acquired.

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All EL PERIÓDICO articles on the Glasgow Climate Summit

The world has one last chance to avoid climate catastrophe and this is the Glasgow Climate Summit (COP26). Between October 31 and November 12, governments around the world will discuss how to stop the advance of the climate crisis. Here you can find all the articles in EL PERIÓDICO on COP26.


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