Friday, December 8, 2023

“If you only talk about the negative side of climate change you will create more denial”

Extreme heat waves, extremely hot summer, temperatures above 30ºC in mid-October. These are some of the events experienced, or rather, experienced in recent weeks and months. “These are some of the signs of climate change,” answered the experts. In the goals set by the United Nations, after its review of 2020, it was noted that “2019 will be the second hottest year in history.” Perhaps, in 2024 we will say, according to all the predictions, that “2023 will be the hottest year on record.” The Paris Agreement, approved in 2015, aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping the global temperature increase this century below 2ºC relative to pre-industrial levels. Today’s calculations suggest that we will overcome them, although the director of the Basque Center for Climate Change (BC3), María José Sanz, is optimistic and “we still have time.”

-How do you see compliance with SDG 13 – Climate Action?

-This is a complex SDG, and they cannot be considered separately because they are very interconnected. This goal is limited by the mitigation goals that have been established and we are somewhat behind. The commitment is there, but the execution is different and we are not good there.

-Is everything possible done from the private and public sectors to reduce climate change or comply with the Paris Agreement?

-Depends on the country. This is a complex issue because it requires a deep examination of several pillars of our current economy. Things are being done, but, obviously, more can be done, but it is not easy. There must be a political commitment and also a social one, but, at the moment, there are other crises on a global level that distract us from these environmental commitments and that, perhaps, can’ We will be delayed more than expected.

-Not counting those crises that interrupt us, are we too late? Is there anything that can be done to prevent this from happening?

-It is possible, because if we do nothing it will be worse. We have seen what can happen and it is true that if we do nothing, the effects will be worse. The longer the delay, the more crises must be managed and the more resources must be invested in stability and addressing the impacts brought about by these changes.

-Is the society prepared for what will happen? Are we aware of these changes?

-Last year, society became more aware that we have a problem in front of us and it affects many sectors. For example, this summer we saw the growth of tourism in the Basque Country at the expense of southern Spain. We see that places that used to be very touristy are now mainly because of the weather. Society is aware of what is happening. I think that this past year society is more aware that we have a problem more than anything else, because there is one and also because it affects the sectors and even tourism and makes the tourist flows disappear, because the places that used to be very touristy because of the weather and that at the moment, it is impossible, has not been seen here in the Basque Country, there is an increase in tourism that harms southern Spain. We need to see in society that this problem is achievable and we need to provide a way for it.

-How do we achieve this?

-In communication, disaster and the negative sell more than the positive. And not just in climate change, but in general. We need to understand that society is mature and ready for the media to put on the table the necessary information so that we can make well-informed decisions, but if we only talk to them about negative things, obviously, that that information is not well known. .. This is our problem today and it is collective and that includes the private sector, public, citizens, municipalities, regions and media.

-Do you, as a scientific community, feel heard in this society?

-Yes, but I don’t think it’s a problem if we feel heard or not, it’s that many times we don’t know how to use the appropriate language. Strict scientific language is not necessarily the best for communicating with other communities, it is designed for us to communicate with each other. There we must also try to understand the point of view of those who need to listen to us, because many times we do not realize them.

-Just over a month from the start of a new climate summit. These are extraordinary political meetings, should the world of science have more weight?

-The concept of climate summits is somewhat distorted and poorly understood. These are multilateral agreements where you first understand what you are talking about and then try to reach common agreements about each other’s conditions. There are barriers to what each person wants and that should be respected. This is a very important forum to understand each other, which is already a step, but you speak very different cultures, languages ​​and ways of thinking, it is not easy. Solutions must respect the circumstances of each country and try to find solutions that best suit the circumstances. The summit is designed to reach consensus on the problem and the major solutions to address it, then it should be implemented with the law and management of each country.

-But if there is no clear mandate or channels that bind everyone, the goal may not be achieved, right?

-A multilateral process cannot force anyone to do what they do not want to do according to their established governance. What you have to do is to convince them that it will be positive for them, that this is the conversation that needs to be done in these processes. If everything goes negative, it’s bad. You will create more rejection and that is what causes rejection to rise. If you are in the middle of a crisis and on top of that they are telling you that it is getting worse, then there is nothing you can do.

-And how do you convince a naysayer that something needs to be done?

-It’s very simple. Does this society and the elements that support it work and provide well-being, inclusivity and social and economic justice to all of us? No. Well, look, this is a very good reason to start changing and use the solution of climate change as a lever for changes that will ultimately also contribute to mitigating it and giving us more resources to also address the effects we are already seeing. .. Ultimately it is a problem of distribution, inclusivity and social and economic justice.

-If we reach 2030 and we don’t achieve the goals of SDG 13. Is there a plan B? What should we do?

-The Paris Agreement is designed to achieve climate neutrality by 2050…

-Are we on our way?

-We still have time.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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