Throughout the entire European geography, during the last few weeks we have experienced record temperatures. And this, for bill mcguireEmeritus Professor of Geophysical and Climate Hazards at University College London, is just the beginning.
In his latest book, Hothouse Earth: An Inhabitant’s Guide (Icon Books, 2022), McGuire warns that we have ignored the warnings of scientists for too long and that our planet is “on track to become a greenhouse entirely created by us”.
For the teacher, it is now virtually impossible to stay within 1.5 degrees Celsius marked in the Paris Agreement. According to the most hopeful predictions of the emission reduction pledges made at COP26, the world is on track to warm between 2.4°C and 3°C.
The result: yes it is not possible to dodge a climatic collapse disastrous that will have catastrophic consequences for society and the global economy. The price to pay for our complacency will be storms, floods, droughts and of course deadly heat waves and temperatures above 50°C.
The summer of 2022 is just a warning of what awaits us. “A child born in 2020 will face a much more hostile world than the one his grandparents faced,” McGuire told the British newspaper. Guardian.
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Many scientists believe that there is still a temporary margin by which the situation can be improved or, at least, keep climate change at bay. However, as the Anglo-Saxon media collects, the emeritus professor does not share this optimistic vision.
“I know a lot of people who work in climate science who say one thing in public, but a very different thing in private. In confidence, everyone is much more scared of the future we facebut they won’t admit it in public,” he tells Guardian.
He added: “I call that climate appeasement and I think it only makes things worse. The world needs to know how bad things will get before we can begin to address the crisis.”
McGuire finished writing the book at the end of 2021 and included many of the record temperatures hitherto recorded across the planet, but the year 2022 has been climatically catastrophic. “That’s the problem with writing a book on climate change. When it is published, it is already out of date. That’s how fast things move”, he points out to the British newspaper.
record breaking phenomena
Among the different records broken during the summer of 2022, the 40.3 °C reached in the east of England stands out, the highest temperature ever recorded in the United Kingdom. The previous record was 38.7 °C, that is, almost 2 °C more. In Spain, we have suffered the most intense heat wave since they began to be recorded in 1973.
[La ola de calor se extiende por toda Europa: Reino Unido declara por primera vez la alerta roja]
In addition, these high temperatures are accompanied by droughts and fires, further increasing the risk to the population. According to the latest newsletter from the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO), water reserves in our country continue to decline and, at the moment, are at 41.9% of their capacity.
The forest fires of unprecedented intensity and ferocity are also sweeping across Europe, North America and Australia this year. Spain is, again, one of the most affected countries in the world by fire, which extends from Galicia to Andalusia.
The rise in global average temperature is generating extreme weather. “Look at what is already happening in a world that has only warmed a little over a degree,” McGuire warns in TheGuardian. “Soon [el mundo] will be unrecognizable for all of us,” he adds.
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Despite the evidence, the professor told the British newspaper, there is a tragically late response from the world and blames a “conspiracy of ignoranceinertia, bad government and obfuscation and lies of climate change deniers”.
The future, according to this perspective, will be extremely gloomyalthough McGuire emphasizes that if carbon emissions can be reduced substantially in the near future and if we begin to adapt to a warmer world, a dire and unsustainable future can be avoided.
“This is a call to arms”, he points out. And he concludes: “If you feel the need to hit a highway or block an oil refinery, do it. Drive an electric car, or, better yet, use public transport, walk or ride a bike. Switch to an energy tariff. Eat less meat. Stop flying.”
And above all, he explains in the British media: “Put pressure on your elected representatives at the local and national level. And use your vote wisely to put in power a government that leads by example on the climate emergency.”
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