UN climate report: how to limit the damage?

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change presented its latest report on Monday. According to the findings, the current global warming is undoubtedly due to human activities and is progressing even faster than many had feared. The report concludes that some consequences, including higher temperatures, droughts and a rise in sea levels are irreversible even if emissions are drastically cut. But humankind still has the power to prevent the worst, the report stresses.

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Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Setting new priorities

Saving the planet clearly has to take precedence over economics, Dagens Nyheter stresses:

“According to several economists, the best approach is to substantially increase carbon taxes, which is reasonable. But this can only be done if adapting to climate change mitigation is prioritised in conflict situations. The head of sustainability at Danske Bank, Roger Josefsson, recently said (on Swedish Radio) that we must go ahead with the transition even if it means risking a period of lower growth and higher inflation. This is exactly the kind of plain talk that is needed to get politicians and other relevant actors to commit to combating climate change, which will come at a price whether we like it or not.”

Irish Examiner (IE) /

Give climate change deniers less of a platform

The UN climate report should serve to finally put a lid on climate change deniers, The Irish Examiner finds:

“Though the great majority recognises the climate crisis and yearns for political leadership to confront it and its causes, those opposed to necessary and radical change beat their drum ever-more loudly. The time has come for governments and the EU to be far more assertive in the information wars around this crisis. ... A far less tolerant attitude to social media platforms that host climate deniers - often the same as those that host anti-vaxxers - is urgently needed too.”

Jutarnji list (HR) /

Assuming personal responsibility

Jutarnji list states that the responsibility for the fight against climate change lies with each individual:

“Changes will come. All of humankind must face the question: Do we want to confront these changes, steer them and actively influence the outcome? Or do we want to be defeatist and surrender to externally determined changes over which we have lost all control or possibility of influencing? The answer seems clear. If we want to preserve our quality of life, we must change our lifestyle. And the responsibility for this - despite any global agreements, international treaties or Vatican encyclicals - lies first and foremost with the individual. And as such cannot be passed on.”

Striblea (RO) /

Please tell children the truth

We must prepare the next generation for its future, writes journalist Cătălin Striblea in his blog:

“We owe it to them to explain what lies ahead and what they can do if we fail. It's imperative to tell the truth. The planet will no longer look like it does now, and they should know that. They should be mentally prepared for it. We need to educate them so they can hold their own and survive. ... And what is even more painful is that we'll have to tell them that, for billions of reasons, they can no longer live like we do now.”

Adevărul (RO) /

People within Europe will have to flee the heat

The warning signs must finally be taken seriously, Adevărul admonishes:

“The whole discussion should finally move from the level of scientific work to the sphere of the national security advisors of the top politicians who are to meet in Glasgow in three months' time. Because we are talking about an unprecedented accumulation of threats to our security that could destroy many of the basic premises of human civilisation. ... If the inhabited areas of southern Europe are hit with full force by a Saharan climate that destroys its agriculture, then it's no longer a question of IF, but WHEN the intra-European migrations will begin.”

Jyllands-Posten (DK) /

Time for a global CO2 tax

The single most important political task now is to create the framework for a global solution, Jyllands-Posten stresses:

“Above all, the largest producers of emissions must develop realistic plans for phasing out fossil fuels. ... A global CO2 tax is crucial to steer development in the right direction and finance projects that must be tackled at the state level. Such a tax would also provide a strong incentive for businesses and consumers to change their behaviour. However, it's also clear that commitment to the climate will have a heavy social impact.”

Habertürk (TR) /

The poor far more affected by rising temperatures

Society needs to take measures now to adapt to longer, hotter summers, Habertürk warns:

“To protect people from the effects of heat waves, experts suggest updating the healthcare infrastructure, moving high-risk groups to air-conditioned locations and including humidity levels in weather forecasts so people are aware of the risks. The poorer classes are at greater risk because there's less green space in their neighbourhoods and they tend to work more outdoors for lower wages. They can't flee the heat or live in air-conditioned premises like better-off people can.”

tagesschau.de (DE) /

Fear doesn't help

Environmental editor Werner Eckert is also optimistic on tagesschau.de:

“Our hope rests on a younger generation that is trying to mobilise the people with the call to 'Listen to science'. An even more hopeful sign is that climate protection is becoming a business model. You can earn money with renewable energies, you can see how an industry is switching to electric cars, and 'green steel' and a chemical industry without petroleum products are slowly becoming conceivable. ... That gives me hope that in the end things won't be as bad as people sometimes say they will. Fear doesn't help anyone anyway.”

O Jornal Económico (PT) /

Time for a new economic model

The neoclassical model that still dominates economic theory today is unsuited to solving problems such as climate change and environmental destruction, writes physicist and climate researcher Filipe Duarte Santos in the Jornal Económico:

“It's a mistake to think that economic models must be immutable and definitive. Just like other models before it, and just like everything that is human, the neoclassical model will eventually be adapted or replaced. There are already signs of various attempts along these lines. But this evolution is being hampered by a monopoly over the major international economic journals, which tend to reject articles that seek to free themselves from neoclassical orthodoxy.”