Scientists launch plan to save civilization from climate catastrophe – the Saber


Stopping deforestation now is crucial for allowing global warming to be contained and reversed in the future, say scientists around the world in an action letter aimed at preventing irreversible damage to the planet.

The document was published Thursday (11), while the COP negotiations were still ongoing26, the UN climate conference which ended on Saturday (13) with an agreement deemed to fall short of the challenge imposed by global warming.

Perhaps already anticipating the outcome of the Glasgow (Scotland) meeting, the group, which brings together academics, economists and experts in governance and public policy, presented what it called a “Marshall Plan to Save the World.” civilization ”- a comparison with the plan put forward by the United States to rebuild Europe destroyed by World War II.

The letter details the priorities and actions that should be taken by 2026, 2030 and 2050. According to the group, scientists have decided to replace previously issued warnings with a proposal for concrete action “before there is have more road to cover ”.

Scientists issued their first warning on the “climate emergency” in 1992, the time of the conference in Rio, and a second version of the warning, published in 2016, has already passed 15,000 scientists’ signatures.

“Despite this, there have been few successful actions and the weather indicators have deteriorated, even with the Covid pandemic, which has reduced mobility.”

Climate change is the best known, but not the only proof that humans have put the planet in danger, scientists say.

They list already irreversible damage, such as rising sea levels and loss of Arctic ice, which will take at least a millennium – or 26 generations – to restore.

Other uncontrollable disasters are still unknown, as complex natural systems under stress, like the climate, do not change in gradual or predictable ways, scientists say.

In addition, despite all the promises made by countries at COP23, the world is heading towards a warming of more than 2.4 ° C compared to pre-industry, according to a recently released report by CAT, the largest climate watch body. coalition around the world.

Civilization stands at a historic crossroads, but with potentially much better results if we act now,” write the signatories of the new charter, who say cooperation between countries with different cultures and systems is essential: ” Our biggest challenges are not technical, but social, economic, political and behavioral ”.

The current levels of carbon dioxide, 48% higher than those of the pre-industrial period, require that the emissions of polluting gases be reduced at least by half by the end of this decade, according to the scientists.

Action is needed in six areas, they say: energy, pollutants, nature, food systems, population stabilization and economic goals.

For warming to reverse after this first moment of containment, “we must immediately stop the destruction and negotiation of systems that capture carbon, such as forests, pastures and wetlands,” they say.

Brazil’s role

Deforestation is the main cause of greenhouse gas emissions in Brazil: more than half (55%) comes from logging and burning, a number that has been increasing for two years.

Data released by the Deter System, from Inpe, recorded a record Amazon devastation for one month of October since the historic series began to be produced, in 2016.

O The plan of scientists in this field is to reduce until 2030 and even interrupt the destruction of natural ecosystems, including those around cities, through policies of urban densification, rezoning and reuse of areas – by planting trees in parking lots or large lawns, for example.

It also recommends removing pollutants such as pesticides, restoring degraded areas (not only plants, but large animals, insects, fungi, bacteria and other components of the original ecosystem) and to stop burning wood for energy, which the group says is more harmful than burning coal, in addition to reducing the city’s absorptive capacity.

Another point of action that directly affects Brazil is the one that refers to food production – agriculture and livestock are responsible for 15% of the country’s emissions, not counting other links in the food chain, such as transport and processing.

According to scientists, the impacts of food production “are already far beyond levels that meet planetary health goals.” The sector accounts for over a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions, around 48% of freshwater use, most of the deforestation and runoff nutrients in waterways, polluting them.

The letter states that “the reduction in demand for meat and dairy products and the shift to plant-based diets offers the greatest benefits across the board. all the environmental impacts of the food system ”, by reducing the need for land, water, pesticides, fertilizers and reducing emissions of polluting gases.

Other necessary policies include reducing food waste, increasing water use efficiency and adopting farming practices that are less degrading for the environment.

“It is still conceivable that mankind could avoid great famines during this century. But the convergence of environmental crises linked to resources and bottlenecks requires urgent action across the global food system on many fronts simultaneously. »Read the document.