The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP 21, is being held in Paris, France, from the 30th of November to 11th of December. Earlier, from the 18th to 21st of November, the XII International media forum on the protection of nature took place in Rieti, Italy. According to what was presented in Rieti, it is important to understand that what is really at stake in Paris is the future of humanity and that the issue of climate change is a complex scientific, political and economic situation.
Much of the discussion in Paris is expected to centre on an agreement to limit global warming to 2oC (3.6F). However, assessments of the more than 180 national climate action plans submitted by countries to the summit suggest that if they are implemented, the world will see a rise of nearer to 3oC.
The human influence on the climate system is clear and nowadays people are starting to pay attention about climate change because this issue is communicated by science, by related images etc, but is not enough. In particular the warming of the earth and the water problems (too little, too much and too dirty) are the main issues of climate change.
Agriculture and livestock contribution to climate change
Agriculture is by far the largest water user, given that irrigation is responsible for about 70% of global water withdrawal. The global irrigated area has been increasing over decades at a rate of approximately 2% per annum. But it is well known that crop production would be substantially lower if there was no irrigation.
The productivity of agricultural, forestry and fisheries systems depends critically on the temporal and spatial distribution of precipitation and evaporation and availability of freshwater resources.
Moreover the livestock sector contributes to global warming through deforestation caused by expansion of pastureland and arable land used to grow feed crops. Overall, according to FAO animal agriculture is responsible for about 9% of human-caused carbon dioxide emissions globally.
Unsustainable land use practices will continue to be one of the main factors driving desertification. Desertification, that is transformation of fertile land into desert is a major risk related to water deficit. Now, dry lands occupy about 40% of Earth’s land area and over 20% of mankind live there, with only 2% of the water resources of the planet. Total global sewage, which flows every day into surface waters, has volume of discharge of ten greatest world’s rivers.
Furthermore sea level rise will extend areas of salinization of groundwater and estuaries, resulting in a decrease of freshwater availability causing greater stresses in dry lands and ultimately a worsening of desertification.
Climate change affects food availability, stability and access
Observational records and climate projections provide abundant evidence that freshwater resources are vulnerable and have the potential to be strongly impacted by climate change, with wide-ranging consequences for human societies and ecosystems. So, increased precipitation intensity and variability are projected to increase the risks of floods and droughts in many areas. Therefore the climate change affects food availability, stability and access. Unless we change the way we manage our land, in the next 30 years we may leave a billion or more vulnerable poor people with little choice but to fight or flee.
How Climate Change and Terrorism are linked
The conclusions of the XII International media forum in Rieti is that climate change is not just an accident on the way in the triumphal march of consumer capitalism, and that terrorism is not a sociological deviation produced by an archaic, pseudo religious and sectarian ideology. Terrorists are not monsters, are people, are young people who despise other’s people life and also their own, hitting ordinary people, who want to kill the dream of a more just, peaceful and united world.
Inequality and poverty are not born by the incorrect application of the model, but are unexpected and unwanted products of a system of values that underpin the most recent phase of modern civilization, in which commercial values take precedence over human values. An economy based on competitive accumulation of wealth, has not in its logic the distribution and the share of well-being. Indeed, more it goes closer to the physical limits of the planet, the more it needs to produce poverty on the one hand to continue to create wealth on the other.
So it must start from everybody, journalists, scientists, administrators and citizens of the city of Rieti, an appeal that even politicians take it in account at the COP21 in Paris, shouldering their responsibilities. In Paris it is not going to solve the political balance of individual states, to decide the fate of some governments or orient future elections; in Paris will be decided, as 260 years ago, the future of humanity.