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Kofi Annan, nos acaba de hacer el mejor texto introductorio que hubiesemos querido para nuestro cortometraje ELS TRES ULTIMS REFUGIS…

November 24, 2013


Climate Crisis: Who Will Act?

Geneva — The last-minute deal at the United Nations Climate Conference
in Warsaw keeps hopes for a comprehensive successor agreement to the
1997 Kyoto protocol alive. But let us be clear: Much more decisive
action will be needed if we are to stand any chance at fending off the
dangers of climate change.
We now have just one more shot, next year in Peru, to make more
substantive progress toward a successor agreement before the crucial
2015 Paris conference. Even before then, it will be crucial for
governments to put aside narrow national interests in order to ensure
that the pledges made at the 2009 Copenhagen conference — to limit
global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, compared
to pre-industrial levels — are met.
The unprecedented walkouts at the Warsaw climate talks — first, by
representatives of most developing countries on Wednesday, and then by
green groups and N.G.O.’s on Thursday — reveal a growing level of
frustration with what many perceive as a lack of political leadership at
a time when it is needed most. It was clear before this latest round of
talks in the Polish capital that the world’s governments must make real
progress toward an ambitious, universal and legally binding climate agreement to be adopted in 2015.
It is essential that governments start phasing out fossil fuel
subsidies, which currently account for about $485 billion a year, and
are far greater than the global investment in renewable energy. While
cutting subsidies is an issue for developed and developing countries
alike, it remains true that the Group of 20 countries accounted for 78
percent of global carbon emissions from fuel combustion in 2010.
What now? If governments are unwilling to lead when leadership is
required, people must. We need a global grass-roots movement that
tackles climate change and its fallout. In Australia, one initiative
aims at getting one million women to take small steps in their everyday
lives to cut emissions. In India, there is a project to bring solar energy
to slums, which also creates green jobs. In Guatemala, women farmers
are planting trees to sequester carbon and improve cultivation
techniques. In Mexico, the “ecocasa” program is unlocking funds to build
energy-efficient housing.
Despite these encouraging initiatives, citizens need to press their
governments to come up with ambitious sustainable solutions, not just
makeshift ones. Climate change must inform any new policy, whether in
the development or the energy sector. It must determine the way we build
our houses and the way we structure our economy. Green thinking cannot
be the sole responsibility of a few environmentally minded activists,
while the rest of us go on living as if there were no tomorrow.
The science behind climate change, after all, is clear. As the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the leading global body for
the assessment of climate change, has unequivocally stated: “Warming of
the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the
observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The
atmosphere and oceans have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice
diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse
gases have increased.”
To those who argue that global warming is just the way of nature and not
in any way related to human activity, the panel responds, “It is
extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the
observed warming since the mid-20th century.” The dominant cause. Not
just one among many.
As a consequence, we will witness more extreme weather patterns such as
droughts, storms, floods and heat waves. As we saw, just days before the
Warsaw conference, with the devastating effects of Typhoon Haiyan in
the Philippines, those who bear the brunt are the poorest and most
vulnerable. We should also expect to witness a dramatic increase of
various infectious diseases, especially vector-borne diseases such as
malaria or dengue fever.
Eventually, all of us, whether from the industrialized or developing
world, will feel the consequences. In fact, this has already started, as
those who experienced recent wildfires in Australia and California and
this year’s floods in Europe can attest. Climate change will threaten
our security, exacerbating tensions that lead to violent conflicts as
the scramble for resources escalates out of control.
But let me conclude on a note of cautious optimism: If science tells us
that human activity is the main driver of global warming, then human
action can also reverse it. But this must happen before the climate
consequences become irreversible. Failing to act will be nothing short
of catastrophic.

Kofi Annan was secretary general of the United Nations from 1997 to 2006.

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