Maintaining the global warming under 1.5°C will be almost impossible. Antonio Navarra, president of the Euro-Mediterranean Centre on Climate Change, explains why.
What are the latest data which show the entity of the emergency?
This year, we have exceeded the 400 parts per million symbolic threshold, which identifies the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. This is the highest level ever reached in the last 800 thousand years. Starting from 50 years ago, we have witnessed an exponential acceleration which have caused an increase in the concentration of 80 parts per million, an oscillation which usually occurs only between an interglacial phase and a glacial peak.
What are the plausible outcomes we are going to see?
It is hard to identify the most probable scenario inasmuch it will depend on the next energetic choices we will make, both at national and international level, in the next 50 years. Models reveal that climate change effects on the ecosystem are in a direct relation with the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, so the more emission, the more visible such effects will be. Global imbalance in the distribution of rainfall and in temperature are the two most famous effects, but such effects are, in truth, neither linear nor predictable.
According to the latest data presented by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), between January and September, temperatures have exceeded the usual average by 1.2°C. In this light, we should wonder if speaking about the 1.5°C threshold does still make sense. There is a difference of some decimates of degree between the moment in which the CO2 reaches the atmosphere, and the one in which it maximizes its warming potential. Therefore, even if we manage to maintain the actual concentration level, a partial warming will still occur. Maintaining the global warming under the 1.2°C threshold is hard, while getting the target of 2°C, as stated in the Paris Agreement, is a challenge. Both the goals need immediate, drastic measures. What we can do right now is financing adaptation plans aimed at reducing the negative impacts of global warming.
Are negotiations working in this sense? What role is Italy playing in such a process?
I do believe that the problem is evident and that a reaction is necessary. It represents a huge change, because it involves industrial processes, but there are tools for reacting. Italy is on the first raw in the fight against climate changes and is an important actor among the European group of countries. Italy is ready to draft policies for reducing the emissions, which also represents an opportunity for economic and technological development.
Reducing the emissions means creating more efficient, more competitive and less expansive industrial processes.