At the current crossroads of humanity with regard to climate change, it seems that we have already missed the opportunity to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades and to recover a climate less affected by man's hand. This is what Jorge Olcina, professor of regional geographic analysis at the University of Alicante, said this week at a conference in Alcoy. "It is not a pessimistic message, but a realistic one. Without the commitments of China, the United States, India or Brazil, 60% of the world's emissions are out of control," he said.
Despite this, this expert believes that actions can still be taken to prevent us from being placed in the worst-case scenario. "We fear that rise of two degrees but we have to be aware that since 1950 in Spain we have already accumulated an increase of 0' 9 degrees of rise. That is to say, since we don't have much room," said and noted that climate change does not imply only make more heat in the summer, but that entails a whole series of transformations in the circulation of the atmosphere, accelerates phenomena that before were point and now will be every time more frequent: droughts, storms, cold drops and floods that not only cause economic losses but also deaths occur, as the most recent by the DANA in the Vega Baja.
Among the Sustainable Development Goals that Olcina believes we should strive to achieve, he highlighted sustainable land management and a commitment to a decarbonized economy. In the latter sense, he stressed that Europe does seem to be doing its homework and highlighted how among the European Union's objectives is to have eliminated 80% of our emissions by the year 2050. "There is not much time and we may not be able to fully meet these percentages but we have no other," he said. The professor also congratulated himself on the measures promoted in Spain and in the Valencian Community, such as the Climate Change Adaptation Plan or the new Climate Change Law," which will imply duties for all".
Olcina compared the Coronavirus pandemic with climate change, two global processes in which the amplification has been very prominent the human being, who at the same time has in his hands the solution. "Now we dedicate our efforts to the immediate but we must not forget the next and although the pandemic is a one-off (short-term) event and climate change is a structural process, these are two global processes in which local actions are of paramount importance. "Anyone who thinks this whole climate change thing is nonsense is wrong. We are facing a process whose beginning we have provoked humans and the smart thing is to take it as an opportunity to reflect and make things better."
In fact, he highlighted how Spain is fully involved in the warming process and how the Mediterranean area has an additional worrying factor: a very close Sea that is getting very warm. The first consequences are the loss of climate comfort: in the last 30 years tropical nights have multiplied by four or even five in some municipalities of the Valencian Community (it has gone from an average of 20 to between 80 and 100) and that warm sea (this summer has again broken records and has reached 29 degrees at some points) is also the fuel for more and more episodes of heavy rain in the months of September to November. Does that mean more rain? Not really. As Jorge Olcina explained, There is even a slight downward trend. However, rainfall is more concentrated.
It is also influenced by the accumulated heat of a much more distant territory: the Arctic, which causes the ever more frequent release of cold air masses from northern Europe to the South. A recent study by American meteorologists compares the last two decades with what happened between the 1960s and 2000 to certify that there has been an increase of between five and six average cold drops in these latitudes.
Faced with these changes, cities have to adapt, said Olcina, who advocated for investments in the improvement and redesign of sewerage or streets. "We will need to improve the guts of the cities because otherwise, they will not stand it," he said.
He also referred to droughts, which have also been transformed and although they are not so great, they will occur more frequently in periods of four, five or six months very intense, which also requires mechanisms for storage and alternative water supply in some localities.
"Climate change is no longer a topic of belief, but a process of scientific evidence. And it is not a question of causing alarm or drama, but of raising awareness to start acting now," said Olcina, who recalled that a recent study by the European Commission predicts losses of up to 3% of the GDP of countries in the southern part of Europe for purely climatic reasons in the coming years.
THE PEDESTRIAN DEBATE
Olcina's speech was included this week in the day "new mobility in the city", as part of the events of the European Mobility Week. In this session, held at the IVAM each Alcoi, the mayor of Alcoy, Toni Francés, stressed that mobility plays an essential role in combating climate change and therefore defended the need to redesign cities to make their public spaces more attractive. "This does not mean driving away vehicles, but prioritising pedestrians, public transport and new sustainable mobility systems." The governor stressed that the municipality has been in this process for years and now addresses a challenge that this week will pass through the municipal plenary: the pedestrian Ordinance of the centre," a very important step to make a space for coexistence and Commerce, thought for citizenship and to improve the quality of life". For this reason, representatives of other cities that are promoting these measures, such as Gandia or Benidorm, were invited to this day.