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Eat carrots as long as you can do it!

Why is climate change dangerous? What are the effects of it and what can we do to avoid them? These were the main questions raised in the lecture called "Energy saving: What efforts are needed for the cooler future", which was held on 16 April.

SUSCO Budapest, University Green Circle at Budapest Technical University, HaKöSz and Antall József Knowledge Center organized this lecture as the 4th part of their green lecture series. This time Miklós Antal held the lecture who in addition to answering the questions mentioned above, shared his expectations about the Paris Climate Change Conference 2015.

 

The emergency of "climate change issues" can be best shown by its potential consequences: sea level rise, climate zone shifting, extinction of certain species and food safety problems.

 

Ice Age Reloaded

According to a U.S. survey, as a result of the irresponsible human behavior the population of lions fell to its quarter during the last fifty years. They have a population about 32 thousand lions which is more or less equivalent to the population of a smaller Hungarian town such as Cegléd.

 

However, the change does not only affect the savanna. The temperature rise - caused by global warming - goes with a dramatic change in the living conditions of several species, to which many of them is unable to adapt. Most of the species begin to search for new habitats, but many of them are unable to leave their former habitat. This new type of migration affects those who are unable to move as well. For example in Hungary, black locust displaces native beech and oak trees by moving upwards on the mountainous areas. In addition to the temperature rise, the sea level rise can have devastating effects as well; during the last fifty years one-third of the beaches used by turtles in the Caribbean disappeared, which threatens the survival of this species.

 

"Double Injustice"

The effects of climate change are much more serious in the developing countries, which are trapped in the so-called situation of "Double injustice ". Environmental degradation threatens their economic development. Their dependence on natural resources and the lack of adaptability to react to certain changes force these countries into a vulnerable position.

 

Thus developed countries are obliged to enhance their development because of ethical reasons and they also expected to solve urgent problems such as poverty, inadequate health care systems, high unemployment rates, or even gender issues. On the other hand, their interest also requires taking decisive actions, as the climate change issue calls for collective action by all representatives of the globe. In addition to improving the environmental characteristics other phenomena, such as starvation and the spread of infectious diseases could be prevented.

 

Ocean acidification causes serious food security problems, which threatens especially the African countries located on the seaside. Food safety is also a common issue, especially if we take into consideration the UN’s calculations according to which the world’s total population will exceed 9 billion by 2050.

 

Is the panacea coming in 2015?

The fight against climate change should be treated as our special issue, and we should realize that it is our responsibility to lay the foundations of a better world. As an active member of local communities you can help in the implementation of local initiatives, but the key point is to draw the attention of policy makers to the importance of the topic and force them to change their policies in an environmentally friendly manner. In the economic sphere it is essential to use economic incentives to give dynamism to the process.

 

It is a big challenge especially if we take into consideration the fact that the results shown in the climate conferences fell short of expectations from time to time. The last UN climate conference held in Warsaw did not fulfill its promise, as the participants from 190 countries were unable to reach a meaningful agreement.

 

Miklós Antal did not pin too much hope for the next conference in 2015, as too many urgent and radical reforms are needed, which are not so typical in the history of climate conferences.

 
Written and translated by Mária Vandlik