Sorry to say, also because from 2019 onwards it seems like a continuous battle, but things continue to get worse in terms of the climate. Two new reports released this week (one su Science it's one of the WMO, the World Meteorological Organization) show us by now that we are practically on the turning point that will bring us disasters that are unthinkable today.
Bad, bad news from the reports
Let's start with the findings of the WMO report, which involved experts from several agencies including the UN and the Urban Climate Change Research Network. The goal was to see where the planet is heading in the coming years. And the results are disheartening.
In summary (then look at the reports, I linked them both): the last 7 years have been the hottest ever recorded by man. The Paris climate agreements, which ran in 2017 and it seems like a century has passed, have been outclassed. The greats of the Earth have promised to do their utmost to prevent the planet from overheating by another 1,5 ° C. In fact we are crossing this threshold already now, more than 20 years ahead of schedule. And it gets worse: the new report found that we are unlikely to return below this 1,5 degree increase given current climate commitments and the international situation. And this brings us to the second report.
Climate, the points of no return
The report in Science focuses on the four major ecological events which, if they were to occur, would render all our efforts useless and set off a catastrophic chain reaction. Spoiler: overshooting these 1,5 ° C could be one of them.
The others? The complete collapse of the ice sheets off the coast of Greenland and West Antarctica, the complete loss of coral reefs and the widespread thawing of the permafrost all over the world.
Not all four of these events will occur immediately, but we would still reach the point of no return should one or more of these occur: we would have pushed these ecosystems to the brink of the abyss, and they would not return as before. Nature will adapt, but us?
Don't worry, it's even worse than that
Both reports conclude that, in spite of political chatter, we are likely to continue weighing the scales with our greenhouse gas emissions far beyond other pain points:
we are on track to see between two and three degrees of overheating.
The scientists behind the study offer a tipping point that we should actually be aiming for: a social tipping point that pushes the public to prioritize reducing greenhouse gases and transitioning to a clean energy future. At this point, the kind of pressure that a massive social movement can create may be the only thing that can tip the scales back in the direction needed to avoid these catastrophic outcomes.
Let's put aside (nothing personal) the schoolgirls in raincoats who black out the school. They are useful, they are important, they need to be involved, but (metaphorically speaking) it's time to put the foil aside. Swords are needed.