We find ourselves struggling simultaneously with two of the biggest crises we have ever seen. Pandemic crisis and climate crisis. However, there are similarities between the epidemic and climate change. Both have been anticipated by the scientific community; Both cause severe disruptions to society and the planet; With both technological and scientific solutions based on basic sciences. It is basic science, still underfunded, that makes us realize that the changes our planet is going through are not “natural”, but are the result of human action. It is also science that gives us the resources to deal with the epidemic, from which stem a transformative principle of vaccine production, and from which come innovative ideas for using biological resources to sequester carbon. It is science that preserves all technological and innovative knowledge, but suffers, like climate change, when it is undervalued and does not play a likely role in our society.
This is the science that shows us that there is no balance between the increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere today and the concentration recorded in the past million years. Until 800,000 years ago, there was no carbon dioxide concentration greater than 300 parts per million. Today, we’ve already crossed 400 ppm. Science warns us that in 2020 we have exceeded 20 times the global temperature record of the 21st century. Show us the past and the future. It shows that in 2050, if we meet the goals of the European Environmental Pact, the Paris Agreement and the Carbon Neutrality Roadmap, we hope to contain the average increase in our planet’s temperature to 1.5°C. With an increase of only 0.8°C, we are already seeing a threefold increase in the number of extreme phenomena reported on the planet since 1980. Even worse, associated with this phenomenon, we have the disruption of society: internally and externally displaced.
There are nearly nine million people displaced by conflict and violence, but there are already 19 million people displaced by natural disasters and climate change. This occurs not only because of the severity of natural disasters, but because of the effects of climate change at the regional level in disrupting the biological cycle.
However, we neglect two big themes. First, we look at the most optimistic model for the evolution of the average global temperature increase, while the most pessimistic model fixes this increase at 4°C. Moreover, these more pessimistic scenarios are revised upward each year, as a result of better mathematical climate models, as well as the continued increase in the acceleration of global average temperature and greenhouse gas emissions. Second, we underestimate the expected consequences for the year 2050. There are inevitable consequences, and now we can only determine how serious the consequences are. The consequences of a 4°C increase in the Mediterranean region would be catastrophic for life as we know it, with sharp increases in the amount and periods of droughts.
Since capitalism is a system that favors consumption and growth, how can a reduction in emissions and resources be expected, if not through scientific and technological means? Since science is the answer, shouldn’t it be one of the pillars of this decade’s priority? The message I want to leave here is to be proactive and not reactive, because it won’t work for this global problem. It is indeed the problem of our generation. If the solutions do not pass through politics and diplomacy, then let them pass through the scientific solution. Increasing funding for science is critical to combating current crises and preventing future crises.