According to the UN, for the Earth to remain habitable "the change must be now"

According to the UN, for the Earth to remain habitable “the change must be now”

A rapid transition to renewable energies, changing consumption habits and applying new technologies These are some of the drastic changes to mitigate climate change that scientists around the world have analyzed in the latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), while warning that we can still “ensure a livable future”.

“The IPCC report is powerful evidence that we have great potential to mitigate climate change. Now is the time to act. We have the tools and knowledge to limit global warming and ensure a livable future,” the organization’s president, Hoesung Lee, said today during a virtual press conference.

After a lengthy negotiation that lasted two days longer than expected, the panel in the final hours approved the Summary for Policymakers which warns that by 2050 we must abandon coal, reduce the use of oil by at least 60%and 70% of the gas so as not to exceed +1.5 ºC of heating.

For the first time in the history of the IPCC, the document includes chapters on the social aspects of mitigation, consumption patterns and technological developmentdid they explain to telam Argentinian researchers Gabriel Blanco and Walter Pengue, who participated as authors. “A very interesting analysis is made of the cultural aspects, individual and social behaviors that make it not so easy to change things,” said Blanco, engineer and professor at the National University of the Center of the province. of Buenos Aires (Unicen). .

“There is a large part of the planet that lives below poverty linesbut there is another large part that consumes superfluous things, ”explained the researcher, lead author and coordinator of the report, who in recent weeks has participated in marathon sessions to review the document line by line.

According to the United Nations, if the the world’s population continues to grow as expected and reaches 9.6 billion in 2050, we could need the equivalent of almost three planets to have the natural resources that would be necessary to sustain the current way of life. This new report is the third part of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report and complements the documents already published in August 2021 and February 2022, in which the physical bases and impacts of climate change were discussed.

With regard to solutions to mitigate global warming, the document reviews different actions and instruments, among which the need to quickly replace fossil fuels with renewable energies, such as wind or solar power, and it is proposed that the greatest possible amount of consumption is electric. “The way to produce this electricity can be with large photosolar power plants, but also with small or medium ones. The electricity can be produced in the house itself,” Blanco said in dialogue with Phone.

However, experts warn that there are still countries struggling to access electricity, so they warn of gaps that need to be filled“Developing countries and those we call the least developed obviously need financial support first, in technology, and in strengthening their technical and institutional capacities”, assured the engineer .

The report also analyzes the role of new technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it is stated that they are unable to counter the ever-increasing production and consumption of goods and services. Likewise, experimental technological developments have been considered, such as the capture of carbon from the air, although “it is not yet known whether they can generate other problems and they do not end up addressing sustainable development. “, pointed out Blanco.

At the same time, the paper “reviews the role of technology in human development, and we agree that not everything is innovation in technology,” he said. telam Walter Pengue, agricultural engineer and doctor in agroecology, sociology and sustainable rural development.

The text emphasizes the importance of social innovation that proposes new forms of management aimed at improving living conditions of the population and also mentions the role of agroecology and self-production of food as an alternative to deal with food crises. “Countries do not need to invest so much, but to generate a change in human behavior in the use of energy. This would save a lot, both at the level of domestic consumption, and at the social level and even at the industrial level,” said the National University professor General Sarmiento who participated in the report as lead author.

Regarding the possibilities of achieving the objectives set by the Paris Agreement, in particular keeping the temperature below 1.5 ºC of warming, the report puts forward a shocking figure: if all the installations linked to the exploitation of oil , natural gas and coal continue to be used until their useful life, without new incorporations, the 1.5ºC threshold will be exceeded. “What is projected is complicated,” said Blanco, who assured that it was a challenge to think about “all the positive things that the necessary transformations would bring”.

“Generating energy with other resources can create jobs, improve air quality, water quality, and improve the technological development of countries and food production,” the scientist said.

Meanwhile, Pengue warned that “the change has to be now. If we stop the ball rolling and start implementing all that is available in technological science knowledge, there is a strong possibility that we could swerve.”

The IPCC Assessment Cycle will conclude in October this year with a Synthesis Report that will compile the contributions of the three working groups and will be the most up-to-date document from the global scientific community that will serve to frame the next United Conference on Climate Change (COP 27), to be held in Egypt in November, as published Phone.

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