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Simpler route to global warming management being missed

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source: greenoptimistic.com

A scientific report has stated that while the world is looking at carbon dioxide as the major concern with respect to climate change, other possibly easier ways of bringing down global warming are being missed out on.

The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) set up by the Arctic Council produced the said report, which claimed that the temperature on earth could be brought down by earth by approximately 0.2 degrees Celsius between now and 2050 by putting down a heavier hand on the other pollutants except carbon dioxide, such as methane, black carbon and atmospheric ozone.

Methane is a greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide, but is 20 times more dangerous in its potential for global warming. However, it is much easier to deal with, as it is a short-lived pollutant. An even shorter life-span is carried by black carbon, which is produced from incomplete burning of fossil fuels.

The accumulation of greenhouse gases, which might even remain hanging in the atmosphere for over a century, is the main cause behind global warming.

“Actions to reduce methane emissions could slow the global warming expected by 2050 by approximately 0.2 degree Celsius. A reduction of about 0.25 degree Celsius in the Arctic could be achieved through global actions to reduce emissions of black carbon and co-emitted air pollutants,” the report, released during the Paris conference, says, according to a statement by the AMAP.

“Unlike carbon dioxide, short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) have a relatively short residence time in the atmosphere (of a few days to about a decade). The shorter the lifetime, the more quickly atmospheric concentrations can be reduced by lowering emissions. This means that action on SLCPs has the potential to slow the rate of climate warming on a comparatively shorter time scale,” said the statement.

The statement additionally said that this step should not be seen as a replacement to the actions being taken on carbon dioxide and harsher greenhouse gases.

“Action on black carbon and ozone has added benefits since these pollutants are also harmful to human health,” it said.

The research also showed that if black carbon and methane were aggressively curbed, the temperature rise since the industrial age could easily be stalled at the 2 degrees Celsius mark.

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EU Countries Consume Earth’s Resources Faster than they can be Renewed: Report

Some 100 Greenpeace activists and students from several European countries marched through Sibiu carrying a huge banner saying "Broken Climate Broken Future"

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earth's resources
France's President Emmanuel Macron, right, and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker speak during the informal meeting of European Union leaders in Sibiu, Romania, May 9, 2019. VOA

The European Union’s 28 countries consume the Earth’s resources faster than they can be renewed and none of them has sustainable consumption policies, a report released Thursday said, as EU leaders met to discuss priorities for the next five years.

“All EU countries are living beyond the means of our planet. The EU and its citizens are currently using twice more than the EU ecosystems can renew,” the report by the World Wide Fund (WWF) and Global Footprint Network said. It was issued as leaders met in the Romanian city of Sibiu to set the course for the bloc after Britain’s planned departure from the EU.

Climate change key priority

French President Emmanuel Macron said before the summit that climate change was among his key priorities and it was included in the bloc’s 10 “commitments” for the future until 2024, agreed by all the 27 leaders meeting in Sibiu.

earth's resources
The European Union’s 28 countries consume the Earth’s resources faster than they can be renewed and none of them has sustainable consumption policies. Pixabay

But the bloc is divided on how to achieve any ambitious climate goals and it remains far from clear how the Sibiu declaration would be implemented. Some 100 Greenpeace activists and students from several European countries marched through Sibiu carrying a huge banner saying “Broken Climate Broken Future.”

“We cannot talk about a prosperous future without a healthy climate,” Greenpeace climate activist Alin Tanase told Reuters. Views on concrete action to be taken to combat climate change differ between EU countries, influenced greatly by their dominant industries, such as carmakers in Germany or the coal industry in Poland.

Tusk sensitive to climate change

The chairman of the summit, President of the European Council Donald Tusk, said there was no future for politicians who were not sensitive to climate change and environment protection issues.

“The young generation is much more united on this than the member states. The truth is that nothing has changed when it comes to this divide and different opinions about this. What is new is this very fresh and energetic pressure,” he told a news conference after the summit.

climate change, earth's resources
Some 100 Greenpeace activists and students from several European countries marched through Sibiu carrying a huge banner saying “Broken Climate Broken Future.” VOA

Climate protection and sustainable development is also an important topic in the election campaign for the May 23-26 European Parliament elections, which will influence the leadership of European institutions and their programs.

The European Commission has been pushing for the EU to become climate neutral by 2050 through reducing carbon emissions that will otherwise boost the Earth’s average temperatures with devastating consequences.

“The EU uses up almost 20 percent of the Earth’s bio-capacity although it comprises only 7 percent of the world population,” the WWF report said. “In other words, 2.8 planets would be needed if everyone consumed at the rate of the average EU resident,” it said.

climate change, earth's resources
FILE – Climate change demonstrators hold banners in front of the Winston Churchill Statue during a protest near Parliament in London, April 12, 2019. VOA

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Luxembourg smallest but fastest

It said the EU’s smallest and richest country, Luxembourg, was also the one which used up renewable resources the fastest last year. Just 46 days into the year, it had consumed its full share of the Earth’s resources, it said.

The EU’s poorest nation, Romania, took the longest to arrive at that point, on July 12th. But that was still earlier than the world’s average of Aug. 1, called Earth overshoot day. (VOA)