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COP26, last chance to disarm the ticking bomb of climate change?

22.10.2021

Small numbers, as in surprisingly small increases in temperature, are the main reason behind the climate changes we’re witnessing. These numbers, strictly interlinked with the continuous use of fossil fuels, are radically changing the features of our planet. This was the main reason behind the 2015 Paris climate agreement, through which 200 countries agreed to limit the global temperature rise to below 2C, indicating 1.5C as an aspirational goal to reach. However, despite the partial decrease in the emissions in concomitance with the lockdowns all over the world, the current levels of greenhouse gas emissions have boosted up to the previous levels, dampening the hopes to reach the 1.5C limit.

But what will happen to our planet, if we don’t limit temperature rise? On one hand, as we already witnessed this past summer, a high percentage of the population will be hit by severe heat waves, with numerous implications both on people’s health and on ecosystem biodiversity. This will also imply the increasing frequency of phenomena such as the infamous “Black Summer” of 2019-2020 in Australia. Water is also a fundamental element when it comes to global warming: in the future, we will have to face both the increasing lack of it and the growing number of floods, with places such Miami becoming a marine environment. All of that will obviously have an impact on crops, causing a doubling in extreme draughts and massive famines all over the world.

By the end of this year, we will have burned through 86% out of the total that would allow us to remain within the +1.5C limit. Every decision we are going to make in the next days, months and years will be crucial to design the path our future is going to follow. Despite the rapid advance of renewable energies, countries still remain dependent from fossil fuels on a too deep level. This is the main call for the COP26 that will take place in Scotland starting from the 31st of October: it’s yet not too late.