The last decade has shown that climatechange is already happening and causing irreversible damages, loss of human life and species forever.
As a result, heatwaves are starting earlier and earlier and becoming more frequent and severe due to record concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.
Some European countries have recently suffered an intense and prolonged heatwave, with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius before summer had even arrived. Now Spain, like Portugal, is exposed to a severe drought situation affecting 97% of the territory. Several cities in northern Italy have announced water rationing and the Lombardy region is considering declaring a state of emergency as harvests are threatened by a record drought. A series of major forest fires spread across the continent, forcing the evacuation of many populations.
A year ago, the European Commission launched a series of legislative proposals, the so-called ‘Fit For 55’ package, to bring EU legislation up to date with new climate neutrality targets for 2050 and to reduce the EU’s net emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 (previously 40%). But today, more than half of Europe’s countries do not have a climate change law!
The UNFCCC member countries have committed in the Paris Agreement to limit the global temperature increase to well below 2°C (preferably 1.5°C) above the pre-industrial level. But the only way to achieve this is through a drastic reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions.
According to NASA, recent global temperatures are the warmest in the past 2000-plus years. The scientists point to carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions as the sources of continued global warming. Hotter temperatures rapidly escalated the occasional rare disasters onto a recurrent violent pace of natural disasters as the world finally confronted the realities of climate change. These include more extreme weather events, such as flooding, melting ice, rising sea levels and more acidic oceans.
Measured last month, the global average concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO₂) was about 418 parts per million (ppm) due to human activities such as burning fossil fuels and changes in land use. It represents an increase of about 50% since 1750.
The latest scientific findings leave no doubt that conditions are worsening at a rate that requires urgent action to reduce emissions. The clock is ticking!