EU – The final draft of Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2014 (IPCC), that looks at the most recent physical science of climate change, has demonstrated that climate has changed beyond historic variability and humans are the main cause.
In these months we are reading many alarming articles on the topic and the question is: climate is really changing? The truth is that the concentration of greenhouse gases, including CO2 and methane in the atmosphere has been rising since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, so it would be more correct to say that climate change is happening now and will continue over decades and centuries and it is important to understand its real impact on different levels. So we need to agree to Green Peace New Zealand saying that climate change is not on its way, it’s already here. and we need to focus now on long time horizons.
The report Climate change, impacts and vulnerability in Europe 2012 found that higher temperatures have been observed across the country as well as decreasing precipitation in southern regions and increasing precipitation in the northern Europe (various model projections show that Europe could be 2.5–4° C warmer in the later part of the 21st Century, compared to the 1961–1990 average). Climate change can increase existing vulnerabilities and deepen socio‐economic imbalances in Europe. Damage costs from natural disasters have increased and is projected to increase in the future, due to the combined impacts of socio-economic developments and climate change, such as increases in coastal and river flooding, heat waves and energy demand for cooling. In some central and western forest areas of Europe, forest growth has been reduced in the last 10 years due to storms, pests and diseases. Is a fact that snow cover has decreased, most permafrost soils have wormed and Greenland ice sheet, Artic sea ice and many glaciers are melting (Arctic is warming faster the other regions).
GHG emissions have increased, in the last decade were the highest in human history. The largest contributors are agriculture, deforestation, other land use changes or industrial processes. Energy consumption has increased due mainly to technology and changes in economic structure and population growth and changes in the structure of the economy might also affect emissions, increasing first the demand for energy services. Energy intensity has slowed the growth in energy use and has declined globally. The global rate of urbanization has increased from 13% (1900) to 36% (1970) to 52% (2011).
Climate is affecting all regions, causing a wide range of impacts on society and the environment. Are we talking about high damage costs? Definitively yes. It is already evident that is affecting ecosystems as well as human activities, but it can be reduced significantly by mitigation and adaptation actions. The question is we must choose?
“The New Climate Economy report refutes the idea that we must choose between fighting climate change or growing the world’s economy. That is a false dilemma”, said former President of Mexico Felipe Calderón, Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. Climate change is happening now and we need to choose, building better connected and more compact cities based on mass public transport, improving the life with lower emissions, restoring just 12% of the world’s degraded land that feeding so another 200 million people. We need to reduce the dependence on highly polluting coal and we need to improve the research and development in low carbon technologies driving a new wave of innovation for growth.