The world can stabilize global warming over the lifetime of today’s infants

The world can stabilize global warming within the lifetime of today’s toddlers, and Ireland must lead by example by ending its ‘fossil fuel addiction’, instead of waiting for other countries do.

the WMO annual report on the state of the climate said greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rise, ocean heat and ocean acidification set new records last year.

The past seven years have been the seven hottest years on record, the WMO has confirmed, with its secretary-general Professor Petteri Taalas saying it’s “just a matter of time” before another hottest year on record.

In addition, the data analysis wing of the European Commission Eurostat said greenhouse gases from the EU economy were above pre-pandemic levels in the last three months of 2021.

Maynooth University physical geography (climate change) professor Peter Thorne told the Irish Examiner that the results are a “stark reminder of the mess we got ourselves into”.

He said we can get through this collectively, but countries like Ireland need to pick up the slack instead of waiting for others to do the heavy lifting.

Fossil fuel addiction

Professor Thorne, who was one of the main authors of the UN report Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) previous reports of human-induced global warming, said: “The juxtaposition of reports indicating the continued deterioration of our climate system with emissions going the wrong way is indeed a stark reminder of the mess we have placed ourselves in. .

“This mess is not only geophysical but also geopolitical. Our dependence on fossil fuels goes to countries with often dubious objectives, which we would not support by choice.

The good news, as the latest IPCC report makes clear, is that we have the means to cut emissions by at least 50% by 2030 if we put our collective mind and effort into it.

It does, however, require us to consider these issues literally in every choice we make nationally, as businesses, as communities and as citizens, he said.

“The alternative to that is a climate system that continues to worsen. We can slow the change and stabilize the climate system for the lifetime of today’s infants.

“But only if all of us, as global citizens, succeed. Waiting for others to act first is a recipe for global inaction. We must be brave and make the right calls to secure the future of our children. in an energy independent, biodiverse and socially fairer Ireland.”

The invasion of Ukraine highlights the madness of fossil fuel addiction, he said.

“The war in Ukraine underscores the need to end our dependence on fossil fuels and our reliance on third parties for our energy needs. We have the potential to be energy secure using the technologies available to us at prices that the latest IPCC report makes clear are already lower than our reliance on fossil fuels, and still tend to be cheaper.

“In other words, we can in the long term put money in the pocket of every citizen by undertaking the energy transition as well as stabilizing the earth’s climate. The only thing preventing this is, literally, our collective me at this point.”

Teresa H. Sadler