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Political will crucial to limit global warming, yet leaders not following science: Scientist – Anadolu Agency | English


Political will is fundamental to limit global warming to 1.5C by the end of century, but politicians are failing to follow the lead of science, a leading climate change scientist told Anadolu Agency.

Speaking on the sidelines of the UN climate change conference COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Lisa Schipper, a leading author at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and professor of Development Geography at the University of Bonn, said the global warming increase is already at 1.2C compared to the average from 1850 to 1900.

It is already very close to the 1.5C limit, she said.

“But we aren’t yet at 1.5C, and so that is the space where we can say there is still some hope that we can avoid 1.5C. On the other hand, we see that some are still denying science and are rolling back efforts to actually reduce emissions,” Schipper noted.

Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, limiting global warming to 1.5C is beyond reach, according to the IPCC’s latest report.

This goal requires global greenhouse gas emissions to peak before 2025 at the latest and be reduced by 43% by 2030, while methane would also need to be reduced by about a third.

However, carbon dioxide emissions, accounting for 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions, are expected to remain at record levels this year with 40.6 billion tons fueled by fossil fuel use, according to the Global Carbon Budget’s latest report unveiled at COP27 last week.

If emissions persist at current levels, there is now a 50% chance that global warming of 1.5C will be exceeded in nine years, the report found.

“We realize that the political will is absolutely the fundamental piece. We have technology, civil society. Many people are willing to do what it takes. It is just the politicians that are not acting in the way they should act and in the way the science is advising,” said Schipper.

Bringing global warming back down

Schipper also criticized the attitude that the global warming increase could hit 1.5C and then could be brought back down with a change in policies and reduction of emissions, pointing out that this means losing many people, livelihoods, critical ecosystems and food security.

“This is a conscious decision to sacrifice people, and I hope that world leaders would not want to have that on their conscience that they have made the decision to go beyond 1.5C.,” Schipper said.

“They are not willing to sacrifice their comfort at the moment and most of them think about their voters at the expense of the humanity in general,” she noted.

She said if there is not enough ambition to reduce greenhouse emissions now, how will this ambition be there after hitting 1.5C for funding adaptation, loss and damage?

Schipper warned that there are some hard limits to adaptation when the warming rise hits 1.5C, particularly on small islands where there is not fresh water at that point, and people cannot survive without fresh water.

Developed countries don’t want to be officially responsible for paying

Pointing to the importance of loss and damage on the agenda at COP27 negotiations, she said the bigger issue around compensation and liability basically is who is responsible for the problems that are happening now, and the developing countries want the developed countries to acknowledge this.

This year’s COP agenda includes loss and damage finance for the first time. The countries known as the “Global South” have demonstrated great determination in acquiring such finance, given that their losses have been much more than they can handle on their own.

Despite being a top issue on the agenda of the climate negotiations, some countries’ approaches show a reluctance in terms of structuring a loss and damage facility.

“Despite the funds being provided for developing countries and the capacity building mechanisms (by developed countries), I suspect that there will not be any acknowledgement publicly or officially, as I think that developed countries do not want to be officially responsible for paying,” Schipper said.

However, there is no question that developed countries recognize that climate impacts are becoming worse and this is a huge problem.

“Thus it becomes sort of the question of should it be on the paper or should it just be in the air,” she said.

Holding climate summits in luxury resorts ‘like a contradiction of all things’

Schipper also criticized the climate summits being held in luxury resorts like Sharm el-Sheikh and next year’s host Dubai, saying this is like a contradiction of all the things talked about in terms of climate change.

“Every five minutes, there is an airplane full of tourists from around the world. This a place where people come for a holiday, but there’s not enough water available for people,” she said.

This is just a sort of growth by exploiting the nature and people who have to work in these places, according to Schipper.

“Thus, it is very odd to me that it was that the COP27 was held here and also next year that it is going to be held in Dubai. If we do not take climate change seriously, many places will look like this. Is this the kind of future that we want to see everywhere?”

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