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IPCC 2021 Report: a code red for humanity

Climate change is unequivocally attributable to man. The earth is moving rapidly towards environmental catastrophe. Unprecedented measures are needed in order to limit the destructive effects of an irreversible process. The message of the latest IPCC report is summed up in this tragic and assertive sequence. Not a novelty, of course, but the study by the world's leading authority on climate change seems to put the final word on the causes, scenarios and urgent need for action.

The Intergovernmental Group on Climate Change, a scientific forum founded in 1988 by two UN organizations, has consolidated the knowledge of the nature and future of a phenomenon that does not show appreciable variations compared to the first studies, dating back to 1990. Hundreds of experts worked for six years to the improvement of the last document, dating back to 2013. Thousands amendments have been made in the long process of elaboration. An almost obsessive scientific practice, made inevitable by the skepticism of a post-factual era and by the lassitude of the great decision makers. It has only been the number and interest of those who decided to place the environmental crisis at the center of civil and political interest that changed. The global multitude fighting to reverse the route is growing, while the captains in command have so far proved deaf to every cry of alarm.

Since 1850, the global average temperature has increased by about 1C °. Each of the past four decades has been hotter than the previous one. In the next twenty years it is reasonable to expect temperatures to exceed pre-industrial temperatures by 1.5 C°, the maximum limit indicated by the 2015 Paris Agreement. From 1750 to today the only responsible is human activity, a parasitic cultural and economic paradigm, based on the exploitation of environmental resources, on the consumption of superfluous goods. Since 1901 the sea level has risen by about 0.2 m, the climatic zones have moved towards the poles in both hemispheres, more and more affected by extreme weather events and upset in the ecosystem balance.

"The IPCC report is a red code for humanity. The alarm bell is deafening, and the evidence irrefutable: greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel consumption and deforestation are suffocating our planet and putting the lives of billions of people at risk", said Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General. In anticipation of the Cop 26 in Glasgow, scheduled for November, many important voices have joined that of Guterres, from the American president Biden to the Italian premier Draghi, both aware of the need to relaunch the Paris agreement, ignored in recent years by the very champions of global production and pollution, the United States and China.

The IPCC report offers progressive scenarios, the most extreme of which sees for 2100 the Earth plagued by an increase in average temperatures of four degrees centigrade. But even if the world forum manages to limit warming to 1.5 ° C, some dynamics are already to be considered inevitable and irreversible: above all the rise in sea level, and the consequent flooding of many coastal areas, populated by millions of people. Even a drastic reduction in emissions will not be able to prevent the acidification of the oceans, the desertification of entire quadrants with devastating consequences for the most fragile economies. Millions will be forced to migrate in search of better living conditions, or even survival itself. In Glasgow, the powerful of the Earth are called to correct the past, to design a sustainable future. Or simply a future.

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