By Asitha Jayawardena
I was reading an article on the recently published IPCC Report 2021 when I heard footsteps. I looked in the direction and smiled.
It was none other than Mother Nature and this was my second meeting.
“How are you?” she greeted.
“I’m fine,” I said, shaking her hand.
“Reading the Report of the Time, I guess”, she sat down. “The first instalment of the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or the IPCC.”
“Yes”, I said. “It’s pretty scary. The content, I mean.”
She nodded and started to tell me a story.
“According to The Paris Agreement in 2015, the goal is to reduce CO2 emissions to well below 2C, or preferably 1.5C, when compared with pre-industrial levels,” said Mother Nature, “and it is legally binding.”
“This IPCC Report says that 1.5C warming is reached in two decades,” she revealed. “In 2040.”
“What is the warmth right now?” I asked.
“It’s 1.2C,” she replied. “Now, if the climate is behaving in this way with this temperature, it will be quite dangerous when it rises to 1.5C!”
“Yes,” I replied.
“Heat waves, wildfires, droughts,” she went on. “Floods, storms, sea-level rise.”
“Who is responsible for these effects?” I queried.
“Human being,” she smiled. “Homo sapiens.”
“Humans are responsible, for sure,” I said, “But how about natural forcing?”
“Natural forcing has a small fraction of the temperature rise,” she replied. “It is so tiny when compared with the rest.”
She smiled – the natural smile.
“Can we keep the rise of temperature to 1.5C until the end of this century?” I asked.
“Yes, we can,” she said. “But we need cutting down CO2 significantly to do that.”
“Yes. With the governments, businesses and general public are taking the issue not that seriously, reaching 1.5C in 2040 is an ideal target,” she said.
“Well. You didn’t say scientists,” I exclaimed. “The IPCC, I mean.”
“Scientists are different,” she said calmly. “They provide us with knowledge and the political leaders listen to them and take decisions that are not scientific.”
“The politicians are doing politics for 5 years, on the multiples of five,” she explained. “But the public will stay until death as the public.”
“Some politicians stay in politics for 30 to 40 years,” I said.
“Yes,” she agreed. “But it is very rare.”
“Yes, that’s true,” I said.
“So, the scientists can tell the truth but the politicians would never listen because the time they are in power is 5 or ten years,” she explained. “Climate can change gradually for 30, 50 or 100 years.”
“I see,” I said.
“Yes,” Mother Nature said. “If the politicians do not act, giving the necessary consideration to the IPCC report at COP26 in November 2021, then the courts will get busy.”
Then the alarm went off, making me wake up. I looked at the clock. It showed 6.00 am.
Mother Nature was gone.
Climate change widespread, rapid, and intensifying – IPCC
The Paris Agreement https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement
5 Big Findings from the IPCC’s 2021 Climate Report https://www.wri.org/insights/ipcc-climate-report