© Reuters. Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds White House press briefing
By Laurie Goering
LONDON ( Thomson reuters (NYSE 🙂 Foundation) – Widespread distrust of science and disputes over fundamental facts, linked to growing political polarization and disinformation campaigns, are undermining efforts to tackle climate change in the United States. globally, warned US climate envoy John Kerry.
At a virtual summit hosted by the Nobel Foundation and leading science academies this week, Kerry said building greater public understanding and agreement on the world’s “existential” challenges was crucial to deal.
“We have to establish a basis of truth or we cannot build consensus in a democracy,” he said.
The “paid denial” of climate change by big polluters and the political disregard of some governments for scientific warnings about the risks of COVID-19 “are costing us a lot,” he added.
Kerry said meeting climate goals quickly enough was “a burst of steroids” – and called on scientists to help communicate the urgent need for swift action to the public.
“Scientists want to avoid the fray – but we are in a war on denial,” he said. “I think we have to fight back, and I think scientists have to be at the forefront of this fight.”
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, global emissions from fossil fuel use are still on an upward trajectory, even though scientists say they need to halve in just nine years to avoid the worst impacts of climate change .
The increase in emissions is happening even as renewables like solar are now the cheapest form of new energy in two-thirds of the world – and probably the cheapest almost everywhere within five years, the former said. US Vice President Al Gore.
He believes the world is “now passing the long-awaited tipping point” towards stronger action on climate change, as social movements, innovation and lower costs help generate more promises of net zero emissions and to accelerate green measures.
“We have the solutions we need and we are winning the political will to implement them,” he said.
But former Nobel laureates, scientists and activists have warned that changes are still happening far too slowly, with time to turn ambitious promises into very short actions on the ground.
Xiye Bastida, a 19-year-old climate activist who emigrated to the United States after her home in Mexico was destroyed by flooding in 2015, said scientists need to do more to ensure their understanding of climate threats reaches the decisions-makers,
“When you make the discovery of a life, it has to go into the public policy area,” she said.
Sandra Diaz, professor of ecology at the National University of Córdoba in Argentina, said making big emission reductions a reality would force governments and individuals to think much more about their behavior.
“What we choose to eat, buy, burn, support or ignore each day has impacts,” she said.
Steven Chu, Nobel laureate and professor of physics at Stanford University, said that a huge task ahead is to wean global economic systems from continued growth as the main goal, something incompatible with resources. limited from Earth.
“You have to design an economy based on no growth or even on diminishing growth,” he said, arguing that “prosperity” could be sustained even if this approach were taken.
CALL FOR COOPERATION
David Panuelo, President of the Federated States of Micronesia, told the event that some of the 607 islands in his Pacific island nation would disappear when the war ended, a reality he called “very deep and frightening” .
He urged the UN Security Council to recognize the enormous threats posed by climate change and called for much greater international empathy to tackle global issues – something often in short supply during the COVID-19 pandemic .
To build a better and more secure world, everyone must “promote peace, friendship, cooperation and love in our humanity,” he said. “Only by pursuing these ideals can we also seek peace with nature,” he added.
Johan Rockström, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, one of the organizers of the event, said global partnerships have in the past allowed nations to overcome huge obstacles, as in the aftermath of World War II .
“We are a resilient species … Cooperation is our superpower,” he said.
To tackle the common problem of a heated planet, “we need, more than ever, broad alliances for change,” he said.