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News Article

UN: It Is Now or Never to Hold Back Climate Change

By Cas Biekmann | Thu, 08/12/2021 - 09:31

‘Code red for humanity’, says the United Nations (UN) report warning about the effects of climate change induced by humanity. The 234 scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), famous for their lengthy compendiums on climate change, warn that the situation could get much worse if no further action is taken. Countries like Mexico could be even more adversely affected.

There is no doubt about humanity’s blame in regards to the rapid climate change, which has led to floods, heat waves, massive fires and other extremes. By taking swift action, further damage can be prevented, but some effects are already definite, the IPCC reports. The breaking point will be reached soon: if harmful emissions are halved by the end of this decade, catastrophic temperature changes can still be averted.

If humanity continues its current path of climate destruction, the dangerous temperature increases of 1,5C could happen in two decades. By the end of the century, the temperature would be 5,7C higher than before 1900. So far, temperature has already increased by 1,1C. Though this does may not seem much on paper, it has already caused plenty of damage by warming oceans and eroding glaciers. Notably, 2021’s report is far more pressing its concerns than the one from 2013.

"The alarm bells are deafening. This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet," said António Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN.

“We cannot wait to tackle the climate crisis. The signs are unmistakable. The science is undeniable. And the cost of inaction keeps mounting,” agreed US President Joe Biden in a tweet.

For Mexico, the challenge to combat climate change might even be greater than in the US.“Mexico and Latin America have a strong inequality and are more exposed to the effects of climate change and air pollution. Rapid urbanization, a lack of clean water, deforestation and resource scarcity are other issues we need to deal with,” said Mariuz Calvet, Director of Sustainability and Responsible Investment at Grupo Financiero Banorte to MBN. Nonetheless, this does not mean that nothing can be done. “We should motivate individuals and the public and private sectors to push for a stronger commitment and deeper understanding of sustainability,” Calvet continued.

The government’s focus on the “rescue” of state-owned companies PEMEX and CFE is not optimally aligned with the needs to combat climate change, warn experts. By focusing on the public sector, private clean energy development has all but faded out as the previous driver of Mexico’s clean energy transition. “Unfortunately, I believe that all the decisions the government has made are not favorable toward renewable energy development,” said José Estandia, Energy Partner at Jones Day. “The government has defended its position strongly. It is, therefore, difficult to change its mind toward a more flexible standpoint.”

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
UN, Reuters, Het Parool
Cas Biekmann Cas Biekmann Journalist and Industry Analyst