The evening with former Chairman of the Danish Commission on Climate Change Policy.
And this talk was about: “Climate Change and the Societal Response- Scientific understandings of CC and role of IPCC, as well as the reflections on the outcome of the COP21”
First, the whole audience got a great laugh out of her response to people who do not believe in greenhouse gas emissions, nor Climate Change. “Some people who recognize me, would just stop me on the street and tell me that they do not even believe in the existence of greenhouse gas emissions. And I would just respond- Good for you. How do you feel about gravity?” She got my attention in two seconds. I would like to emphasize a few points of view that she brought up a few times during the talk, and I believe are pretty relevant. First one is that Climate Change issue is very often represented as a challenge of saving the Planet, but that is not what it is. It’s the challenge of saving ourselves. The Planet is going to continue its existence without us, humans. It’s us who are at risk from Climate Change!
Two main causes of Climate Change are: fossil fuels, and agricultural production. Solutions for fossil fuels extraction issue: application of green and renewable energy, improvements in technology. Solutions for agricultural production issue: consuming less meat, having less transport within the supply chain, producing less waste.
Another very important point that she brought up as a reminder is the purpose of science. Science is there to consider observations and produce facts. Science provides EXPLANATIONS, not proofs. Science will never be able to say that Climate Change is happening with a 100% certainty. But is can explain that it is happening with 95% certainty à Climate Change is a risk problem, and we are a lot more dependent than we think.
Katherine’s talk was fairly optimistic, but conscious. We need to achieve a decrease of 39% in emissions globally to keep in under 2 degrees Celsius warming in 2100. This is very ambitious goal, but not impossible to achieve. “Renewable are cheaper than coal. And Chinese, that are always bad guys, are investing in renewables more than the rest of the World combined.” Ambition levels are rising in developed countries, which means that Climate Change issue is taken seriously. We still have a long way of improvement to make though, and it is far away from enough that we managed to not increase, but stagnate with global emissions in the past three years.