Climate Change: Impacts and Mitigation/Adaptation Perspectives

H.E. Petteri Taalas, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization of the United Nations

The Colloquia on Science Diplomacy organized by the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and the International Organizations and Foreign Diplomatic Missions in Italy, promotes the values of Diplomacy and Science in international relations as fundamental principles to be pursued in the modus operandi and the modus vivendi of modern society. In the Colloquia the most important personalities of world institutions and the presidents of the most prestigious academies will discuss various topics and future developments of interest for the international community.

The Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei is pleased to announce the Special Event “Climate Change: Impacts and Mitigation/Adaptation Perspectives” by H.E. Petteri Taalas, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization of the United Nations, which has taken place at the Colloquia on April 11th, 2022, at 4 pm CEST.

WMO is the UN specialized agency for weather, climate and water. It is the founding and host organization of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). WMO and IPCC are publishing scientific reports on the status of climate.

Climate change is already very visible everywhere on our planet. This has led to growing amount of disasters: flooding, drought, heat waves, tropical storms, forest fires and coastal flooding. They last longer and are more powerful than before. The economic losses have more than tripled during the last three decades. Melting of all mountain glaciers and Arctic sea ice are speeding up year by year, which is threatening availability of freshwater to main rivers in all continents and is contributing to sea level rise. The sea level rise is expected to continue for the coming centuries anyhow due to already high concentration of carbon dioxide. Oceans have absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat and warmed, as well as become more acid due to CO2 intake.

The concentrations of main greenhouse gases, CO2, CH4 and N2O have been steadily growing for the past three decades and are now highest in 800,000 years. 66% of the warming is caused by CO2, which has a lifetime of hundreds of years. Second important is CH4 with lifetime of 11 years. So has 32 developed countries have reduced their emissions during the past 15 years. Emissions have been growing in especially Asian big countries and non-OECD countries.

There is a need to dramatically reduce the consumption of coal, oil and natural gas as well to stop deforestation especially in Latin America, Africa and Southern Asia. Energy should be produced by using nuclear, hydro, wind and solar energy. Transportation should be based on electric cars, biofuels and hydrogen.

So far not enough emission reductions have been made to stay at the 1.5-2.0 °C warming track of Paris Agreement. Climate change is threatening the implementation of the 2030 SDG goals with impacts on agriculture, infrastructures, employment, economies, health and biosphere. Growing amount of means for climate mitigation exists and their costs have been dropping considerably.

The welcome speech has been delivered by Prof. Roberto Antonelli, President of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei.

The Lectio Magistralis of H.E. Petteri Taalas has been introduced by H.E. Plen. Min. Giampaolo Cutillo, Vice Director General for Global Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and has been followed by a Round Table, moderated by Prof. Wolfango Plastino, Chair of the Colloquia on Science Diplomacy, which has been attended by Prof. John Shine, President of the Australian Academy of Science and Prof. Giorgio Parisi, past President of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei and Physics Nobel Laureate.