OPINION

Climate and survival

climate-and-survival

Even the most skeptical among us can no longer deny that the climate crisis is everyone’s problem.

In the last few days, even the temperate, well-off Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada, as well as towns in Siberia, have been registering record high temperatures. These have caused hundreds of deaths over and above the usual rate in the US and Canada; in Siberia, the melting permafrost is damaging buildings and infrastructure. Scientists are concerned that the loss of the Arctic ice cap might be irreversible. As it melts, it reflects less heat, and as the ground and water keep warming, they hinder the formation of new ice caps.

Human recklessness has brought us to the point where we do not know whether it is already too late to prevent the worst.

Markus Rex, head of a team of 200 scientists who studied the region for all of last year, noted, “Only evaluation in the coming years will allow us to determine if we can still save the year-round Arctic sea ice through forceful climate protection or whether we have already passed this important tipping point in the climate system.”

In other words, it might be too late for the measures adopted by the Paris Agreement.

Now the human survival instinct demands solutions. More and more governments, organizations and individuals understand the need to protect the environment and the climate. Of the huge amounts of money that will go toward supporting economies because of the pandemic (which, even before Joe Biden’s election, were estimated at 12 trillion dollars globally), a substantial portion will go toward new sources of energy. We will see great disruption in all sectors of the economy and society.

Just as the consequences of the climate crisis are everyone’s business, so are we responsible for our choices: from how much each contributes to the solution, to how we judge governments, parties and international organizations on the basis of their ideas and actions on an issue that concerns the survival of our species.