Editorial: Bad News on Climate Change

A new record in global warming signals the need for urgent action to prevent more pollution

Editorial: Bad News on Climate Change
Foto: Archivo / La Opinión

Global warming is increasing faster than anticipated. The fact that 2014 and 2015 broke all records since it began to be measured 136 years ago, and that 2016 is also bound to surpass previous figures, indicate an ongoing process that has little to do with temporary climate phenomena.

El Niño, for instance, played its role in last year’s high temperatures, but it is a mistake to blame it for the anomalies and weather events that occurred in 2015. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) divulged a worrying evaluation on the unusual weather patterns that developed throughout the world, from Hurricane Sandra ‒ which passed close to the Mexican coast and turned into the strongest of its kind ever recorded ‒ to the worst rainfall and flooding seen in China in 40 years. Rain, hurricanes, heat waves, storms and wildfires occurred in unlikely places and with unexpected virulence.

The worst part of the NOAA report is that global temperatures have increased nearly one degree Celsius since pre-Industrial times. The recent international conference on climate change in Paris established a joint goal of preventing global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, citing devastating potential consequences.

The urgency to protect Planet Earth from the greenhouse effect often faces the opposition of corporations, who say that regulation to control emissions is prohibitively costly. Arguments negating the science behind global warming are financed by groups in the private sector. Some developing economies believe it is unfair to now be asked to slow down their economic growth by limiting their use of the same carbon-based energy resources that industrialized nations employed.

The situation requires the participation of every party to face this threat. Voters need to support candidates who recognize the role of human activity on creating this problem and the consequences of our actions. At the same time it is imperative that, individually, we follow recommendations to reduce gas emissions, from the way we use our cars to avoiding wasting electricity in home appliances. We need to make a sharp turn in our development and the lifestyle we have known until now in order to leave our planet in better condition for the coming generations.