The awareness of the problems posed by climate change to each of us is growing as fast as the peak temperatures outside our windows. According to a recent Eurobarometer poll, the vast majority of Europeans – 93% – consider climate change to be a serious global problem. Nearly a third of Europeans feel directly threatened by the environment and climate in their daily lives.
Moreover, more than half of those concerned about global warming live in 7 EU member states: mostly in Southern Europe, but also in Poland and Hungary. In general, 84% of Europeans believe that environmental issues should be a priority for governments, and it should be added that European officials have been actively working on this issue for several years in a row.
In early 2023, climate scientists at Stanford University used AI to estimate that the world would reach a warming peak in 10-12 years. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that the Earth will exceed 1.5°C between 2033 and 2035. And these data coincide with a number of other forecasts. In particular, back in 2015, the Paris Climate Agreement called for minimizing the most harmful effects of climate change by predicting a 1.5°C warming. So far, the world has already warmed by about 1.2°C compared to pre-industrial times in the mid-nineteenth century.
The sad news is that, according to study co-author Noah Diffenbaugh, the planet will be on the verge of reaching the 1.5°C mark under “any realistic emissions reduction scenario.” After that, warming will not slow down, but will continue to move steadily toward the 2°C mark.
According to AI forecasts, the world will reach this mark by 2050, and if people partially reduce emissions, global warming of 2°C will occur in 2054.
The researcher believes that the only realistic way to stop this process is for all countries on the planet to reach zero emissions by the middle of this century.
Countries across the world are looking for ways to restructure their economies to make them socially inclusive, growth-oriented, and climate-neutral. This is also the declared goal of the European Green Deal, which has been implemented in the European Union for several years.
The European Climate Law has legally enshrined the obligation for EU governments to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. An interim target is set for 2030, when the reduction of net greenhouse gas emissions should reach 55% compared to 1990 levels. The EU is actively working on other related laws to promote climate neutrality including the Nature Restoration Law, the Deforestation Regulation, and initiatives to promote environmentally friendly products and reduce packaging waste, which, among other things, are intended to stop the loss of biodiversity and the transition to a circular economy in the European Union.
Almost nine out of ten EU citizens (88%) agree that greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced to a minimum while offsetting the remaining emissions to achieve EU climate neutrality by 2050.
The transition to a green economy is irreversible but complex. “The green economic model invites companies, markets and investors to generate sustainably growing profits through processes that bring economic, social and environmental benefits. The concept aims to achieve social well-being while reducing environmental risks and threats. At the same time, green companies earn money by acting with respect for nature and creating so-called green jobs, while at the same time being characterized by low carbon emissions.
Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the outright energy blackmail that the Kremlin has been putting on European countries, threatening EU citizens with “death by cold winter,” have strengthened Europeans’ confidence in the need to implement alternative solutions. Today, more than half of EU citizens (58%) believe the transition to a green economy should be accelerated urgently, given the spike in energy prices and concerns about gas supplies following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Seven out of ten respondents (70%) agree that reducing non-EU fossil fuel imports could increase energy security and bring economic benefits to the EU: 27% strongly agree, 43% tend to agree. Almost eight out of ten (78%) agree that more public financial support should be allocated to the transition to clean energy, even if it means reducing fossil fuel subsidies: 36% strongly agree, 42% tend to agree. At the same time, a quarter of EU citizens believe that the pace of transition should be maintained without acceleration.
As for the solutions that are currently being discussed as capable of mitigating the economic pressure caused by the energy crisis, the most popular are the accelerated deployment of renewable energy and the application of cost-saving measures, followed by direct financial support and investment in energy efficiency measures.
Every day, humanity causes enormous damage to the planet. We are consuming natural and energy resources at an accelerated rate, causing unprecedented greenhouse gas emissions and thus global warming and climate change. We are still driving cars that burn fossil fuels; heating our homes with gas and coal; uncontrollably deforesting; throwing away hundreds of millions of tons of garbage, most of which cannot be recycled; and causing man-made disasters and senseless, destructive wars on the planet.
And while humanity is on the path to switching to clean energy sources, everyone can contribute to the fight against climate change, e.g. by replacing conventional transport with eco-friendly vehicles, refusing to consume excessive energy, or reducing energy costs by insulating your home or installing a solar panel.
These steps may seem insignificant, but they can have a lasting impact.
The vast majority of EU citizens reported that they consciously make green choices in their daily lives. However, only 35% of respondents consider themselves responsible for combating climate change, with the vast majority placing this responsibility on the European Union (56%), national governments (56%) and business and industry (53%).
Climate change is considered to be one of the most serious challenges facing the modern world. On the European continent, global warming is of greatest concern to residents of Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands.
From an economic perspective, the vast majority of Europeans (73%) agree that the price humanity pays for the damage caused by climate change is much higher than the investments needed for a “green transition.”
A global green transition seems to be the only chance for salvation. And although such an upgrade will require enormous resources, including financial ones, it will ultimately lead to innovations the world has never seen before.
Source: The Gaze