Yes, we can still act to stop global warming

As catastrophic as it may seem, the climate crisis is reversible — and in less time than you think

Following what is being discussed about the climate crisis, we often come across news about global warming which have a catastrophic tone — and from time to time there is even a fear of the future when we see pessimistic estimates for the coming years.

Although these narratives aim to warn people to take a more sustainable life, this alarmism can cause a feeling of defeatism and impotence. And this leads many people to think: after all, if everything is lost, what is left for us to do? 

It is possible to think otherwise, points out North American climatologist Michael E. Mann. He explains that global warming is reversible, and in less time than it seems, informs the BBC News Brazil.

Several studies prove that it is possible to turn the tide on the climate crisis, reversing the damage already caused. The issue is that, often, this material does not gain as much notoriety among the public, explains the scientist, who is the author of the book The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet (in free translation: The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet; no edition in Portuguese).

You don't need to be optimistic to see the positivity in these data: a report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, published in 2021, reveals that the immediate interruption of carbon accumulation in the atmosphere would have positive results for reducing temperatures in the near future, between three and five years.

This study debunks the old idea that, even if the emission of polluting gases now, global temperatures would continue to rise anyway for another 30 or 40 years.

How to reverse the climate issue?

Regarding the feeling of impotence, which reflects the discouragement in acting for change, Mercedes Bustamante, professor at the Department of Ecology at the University of Brasília (UnB), complements Mann's theory. “The fatalistic perspective, that is, that there is no more room for solutions, only contributes to slowing down the process of resolving the global crisis.”

In this sense, Mann states that avoiding every 0.1 ºC increase in global temperature counts for a lot. To get there, the scientist recommends adopting sustainable habits and an engaged political stance, with votes and popular pressure for change to happen.

Despite the long road ahead, the North American scientist proposes an encouraging perspective. “We need to talk about both the challenge and the opportunity. Yes, we are already seeing impacts from climate change, and the challenge of reversing further dangerous planetary warming remains. But we have the opportunity to create a better world for ourselves, our children and grandchildren. That’s our fight.”

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