Inside global warming

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By LEONARDO BOFF*

This year, the dire consequences of the change in climate regime have already been noted.

We are no longer facing global warming. We are already inside it, possibly irreversibly. At COP 15 in Paris in 2015, an agreement was signed to invest one billion dollars a year to contain warming and help countries that do not have sufficient means to do so. The perspective was to prevent the climate from growing by 1,5oC until 2030, taking the beginning of the industrial era as a reference.

The fact is that almost no one kept what they promised. As warming grows day by day, we have reached the point where the latest IPCC report for 2023 and other official sources reveal that this warming will arrive early between 2025 and 2027. It could reach two degrees Celsius.

In this year of 2023, we have seen a frightening increase in warming reaching practically the entire world, reaching many places above 40oC or more. We can no longer simply talk about global warming, but about changing the Earth's climate regime. We have opened a new era, with climate levels varying depending on the region, but possibly stabilizing globally around 38-40oC.

This year, the disastrous consequences of this change in climate regime have already been noted: the great melting of the polar ice caps, devastating fires in many regions of the world, such as in Canada and the Philippines, which incinerated an entire island with houses, cars and everything that goes with it. a city. In the south of Brazil, there was a devastating cyclone and floods in many cities, some of them practically destroyed.

Walking around those places at the end of September and reflecting in various centers with numerous groups about this phenomenon, the question always arose again: why is this devastation occurring, with deaths and thousands of people left homeless? I tried as hard as I could to make them aware that these phenomena are not natural, even with the confluence of two factors: the child and global warming. These phenomena are unnatural. They obey the new logic of changes in the climate regime. We must all prepare ourselves because such devastations will become more frequent and more damaging.

Many of the most notable climatologists attest that we are late with our science and technique. Under current research conditions, they can only do little to warn of the arrival of cyclones, typhoons and storms and mitigate their damaging effects. But they will inevitably come. Whether the deniers, the leaders of large planetary corporations and entire governments like it or not, the undeniable fact is that we have entered a new stage in Earth's history. Many, especially children and the elderly, will have difficulty adapting and will die. The same devastation will occur in nature itself, including fauna and flora.

With regard to floods, I have explained that each river has two beds: the normal one through which it normally flows and the second, expanded one, which is that space that belongs to it and that receives the flood waters. In this expanded bed space we cannot build and elevate entire neighborhoods. We have to respect what belongs to it and reinforce the riparian forest that borders its main bed. Otherwise, we will face momentous destruction with many victims of people and animals that belong to our community of life.

We learn through ecology, not merely green and environmental, but through integral ecology (urban, social, political, cultural and spiritual) what is the fundamental thesis of quantum physics and all ecological discourse: all beings are interconnected. Everything is relationship and nothing exists outside the relationship. This leads us to incorporate an understanding that identifies the connections of all phenomena. The earthquake in Morocco, the flood in Libya, the fires in Canada and the almost unbearable heat wave that took over Europe and almost all of our country, have to do with the floods in the south of the country. Because the problem is systemic, it affects the entire planet.

Most public hearings organized by federal and state government bodies are generally dominated by the speech of scientists. They are not the best advisors because they work with technical means, suggest measures within the system in which we are enclosed, but do not ask themselves the question of ends.

The discourse is about ends and not means: what kind of Earth do we want? What changes should we make in the mode of production and consumption? How to reduce the shameful global social inequality? Most fall into the illusion that within the current productivist system, whether capitalist or socialist, which is notoriously devastating to nature's goods and resources, solutions can be reached that result from the reduction of greenhouse gases. I'm mistaken. Within this bubble that has occupied the entire planet, there is no solution against changing the climate regime. Because they are exactly the ones who suck up nature's scarce resources, which consequently produce millions of tons of CO per year.2 and methane (28 times more harmful than CO2) released into the atmosphere.

It is urgent, if we still want to remain on this planet, to make a “fundamental ecological conversion” as the Pope’s encyclical says. How to take care of the Common Home.

The large conglomerates and that very small portion of people who control the production system and the financial flows from which they derive their fabulous profits, will never accept such a change. They would lose their earnings, privileges, economic and political power. However, following this path will make the Earth increasingly uninhabitable, with millions of climate refugees and migrants no longer able to live in their beloved places. We will join the procession of those heading towards their own grave. If we want to avoid this fate, we must change.

What alternative is needed? This is not the space to detail this complex answer. But I mention just two keywords: passing from the human being, today dominant, as “dominus”, lord and owner of nature and not feeling part of it, exploring it without limits for the human being as “frater“brother and sister among all humans and also with other beings of nature of which it is the conscious part, because we have the same biological basis with them and we take care of it. We are in fact brothers and sisters, by a fact of science more than by the cosmic mysticism of Saint Francis. The fact is that we don't treat each other like brothers and sisters. We are rather insensitive and even cruel. On this topic, I refer to my own writings that try to detail this new direction.

*Leonardo Boff is an eco-theologian, philosopher and writer. Author, among other books, of The painful birth of Mother Earth: a society of fraternity without borders and social friendship (Vozes). [https://amzn.to/46emqDM]


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