Seattle, in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, embodies the ideal of an environmentally conscious city. Surrounded by evergreen forests, parks and lakes, it bears the titles of Emerald City and “Mecca of nature”. Due to its invigorating summers, it is the town with the fewest air conditioning installations in the country. In 2014, a report by The New York Times, recommended the region, preserved by its geography from excessive heat, for future geoclimatic displacements. The choice followed the logic of a relatively predictable operation in climatic changes. A rise of two degrees will turn some regions of the planet into an “uninhabitable hell” (sic United Nations), while the North will become a temperate Eden: Alaska turned into a polar Florida, the North Sea, a new Mediterranean. Seattleites had reason to feel confident. Until the heat dome, At the end of june. On consecutive days, the record of maximum temperatures was exceeded three times. Not far away, Canada reached 49.6ºC. Thousands of kilometers away, the Russian Arctic Circle, broke historical records.
Suddenly, the paradigm that preserved the North and harassed the South has been broken. British Columbia bears the usual temperatures in the Sahara or Arabia. Saint Petersburg, Madrid in summer. The prevailing order is subverted. The chaos of unpredictability emerges. The situation forces us to ask ourselves whether we are acting quickly enough to mitigate global warming.
Spencer Dale, chief economist at the oil company BP, is not optimistic, reports the Financial times. Reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement – keeping global warming between 1.5ºC and 2ºC – would require reducing CO2 emissions to the 2020 level, forced by the pandemic, during “each and every one of the next 30 years”. It doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen; “There is a significant risk that the decline in carbon emissions from last year will be reversed,” he adds. It will not be for lack of science and knowledge. The measures to be adopted are formulated and summarized in the beginning, to accelerate and extend the transition towards a decarbonized economy. In practice obstacles abound; disputes of an economic – industrial and social nature; remember the revolt of the yellow vests in France for the ecological tax—; Political dissidents that push to postpone what is important for the urgent, when not, directly deny it (What would have happened to that cousin of Rajoy who advised him not to worry about a non-existent problem? the left in coming decades); and at the last link in the chain, wild consumers who do not want to take responsibility or feel guilty.
The commitment is from us all. The challenges are important and urgent. Because, as they have verified in Seattle, there is no escape the North. Earth does not know of deadlines. Nature does not negotiate.