January 22, 2022 6:13 pm

The Glasgow pact leaves a bittersweet feeling among scientists

It has been a COP26 strange, not only because it was held in the middle of a pandemic, but because of a sense of anti-climax among the attendees. It has also been due to the increasing distance between social demand, especially by activists, the data of science, the signals that our sick planet gives, and negotiations that are perceived to be going at a snail’s pace.

It has been a strange COP26 because of the increasing distance between social demand, science data, signs of a sick planet, and negotiations that are going at a snail’s pace.

A bittersweet moment of this Climate Summit was the visit of the US pavilion. videos prepared by the best NASA scientists on for example carbon in the atmosphere, the arctic or the warming of the oceans. And the diagnosis is not good: vital signs do not look good.

Some of these “diseases” such as the rise in temperature or sea level are already Chronicles and hardly reversible. In addition, a large part of these processes and especially of inflection points of non-linear systems that are not yet known.

We asked Gavin Schmidt, NASA’s chief climate science scientist, if they could predict or anticipate these changes in the system. He replied that they still did not know. It is therefore like playing Russian roulette with our planet.

Satisfied scientists?

After COP26, scientists get a sensation bittersweet. On the one hand the sweet sensation that you see a effort much greater for reaching an agreement, but with a sour taste because in large part it has been necessary for them to feel encouraged by external pressure, in part by the accusation of “bla bla bla…”Of the young people who have had a very strong presence.

As scientists it is difficult to accept the lack of much faster advances

As scientists, we fully agree, even though we understand the complexity of these decisions, and the climate justice that underlies. But it is difficult to accept the lack of much faster progress.

Simply all indicators on the planet show us the need to act firmly in terms much shorter than 2050 or even 2060, as some countries have put on the table. That is if we do not want to live the sixth extinction our scientific mirror on biodiversity issues. There is no time.

Ironically in a shared panel in the pavilion of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) of a “Resilience Laboratory” with Stanley Lee Robinson, science fiction author of the book Ministry of the Future raised whether the endangered species law of the United States should also apply to the human being.

Intensify efforts and action times

The Gordian knot is still the emission reduction and therefore the centrality of Article 6 and the carbon markets. From a scientific point of view, several developments are positive, such as the agreement on curbing deforestation, the pact on methane, and India’s promise on coal, downgraded in the end.

Protests

Protests during the celebration of COP26 in Glasgow. / Elena López Gunn

In the voice of a young Chinese researcher Britanny Lee, “In terms of carbon markets, although these seem like a good solution to the problem and should force emitters to pay the costs of their environmental impact, in reality, if not properly established, these could represent another avenue for oppression and exploitation of the poorest countries ”.

It is imperative to ensure that emission reductions are properly tracked and reported transparently

According to Lee, regulations for the use and generation of energy are paramount, since the reduction in the use of coal and oil up to NFT regulation (Non -Fungible Token, a non-fungible token) and other blockchain technologies that increase energy consumption.

“It is imperative to ensure that emission reductions are properly tracked and reported transparently. In Glasgow, countries agreed to correct their final emission levels for the carbon credit units they authorize, but scrutiny will be required to ensure that companies do not abuse the highly technical and unclear language included in the text, “adds this scientist .

Most of all, we need to move quickly away from fossil fuels to keep the global temperature targets of the Paris Agreement alive and avoid a climate catastrophe. Thus, progress has been made by countries in groups, such as the leadership of Costa Rica or Denmark with respect to diesel.

We need to move quickly away from fossil fuels to keep the global temperature targets of the Paris Agreement alive and avoid a climate catastrophe

However, there is frustration as the window of meeting the 1.5 ° C target is closing. However, from a scientific point of view it is key to reach a good agreement on article 6, since there is no room at the climatic level for double counting thanks to a offsetting poorly designed and specifically in relation to so-called nature-based solutions for mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

Lack of urgency in decisions

But undoubtedly the greatest worry of scientists facing climate change and the policies that are being taken is the lack of urgency in decisions, and the lack of political commitment to meet funding targets. This is the key to possibly unlocking the action at strategic points.

The greatest concern of scientists in the face of climate change and the policies that are being taken is the lack of urgency in decisions

Shortly before COP26 began, the governments of the UK, Germany and Canada published a joint plan to ensure that developed nations collectively provide $ 100 billion in financing climate change to developing nations annually beginning in 2023 to accelerate decarbonization in the race to net Zero, as the ‘race for resilience’ begins.

With respect to “loss and damage”, This is a very sensitive issue that goes to the heart of the concept of climate justice, where Scotland has symbolically put a first fund as a gesture, almost. The African continent has only contributed a minimal percentage of emissions and, nevertheless, it will be one of the most impacted areas.

Polar bears

Inside COP26. / Elena López Gunn

Any message of hope?

But perhaps the greatest achievement of COP26 has been the global agreement on adaptation, led throughout the process by Spain and the Maldives. Another important advance also refers to the continuity of the process of Coronivia upon farming.

Perhaps the greatest achievement of COP26 has been the global agreement on adaptation, led throughout the process by Spain and the Maldives

As a scientist part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Adaptation Working Group II, and the Water Chapter, I felt hope when I saw for the first time a pavilion dedicated to water and climate change. A positive event was also seeing all the responsible scientists from the different countries in the science pavilion co-organized between the British Meteorological Agency and the IPCC.

While some argued about the importance of reaching the ordinary citizen, and specifically the future centrality of the social Sciences To better understand behavioral science, risk perception and especially risk response, others emphasize the enormous role of citizen science, and to restore confidence in scientific data and science in general to the general public.

At the political level, although it did not mean an advance in new actions, the reinforced commitment of the United States and China was very important. Your cooperation will be essential to effectively address the climate crisis.

Society requires rapid, urgent and sustained action and significant behavioral, socioeconomic and technological transformations.

Society requires a quick action, urgent and sustained and significant behavioral, socioeconomic and technological transformations. It is necessary to pay more attention to innovation in science and technology as a meeting point between society and science that helps us accelerate the necessary transition and transformation.

COP26

Celebration of COP26 in Glasgow. / Elena López Gunn

Elena López Gunn it is scientist who is part of the IPCC, Working Group II on Adaptation, and the Water Chapter, and director of ICATALIST. Written in collaboration with Britanny Lee PhD student at King’s College, London.

Reference-www.agenciasinc.es

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