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To end global warming

Rovaniemi people respond positively to IPCC´s stiffer target

Published : 06 Nov 2018, 14:06

  DF Report by Ibukun Emmanuel

Photo Captions: Anniina Koivurova, Michael Hurd, Sanna Konola, Paksuniemi Marko.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on October 8 released a report with its key focus on the importance of achieving the tighter one of the two targets adopted by the Paris climate agreement in 2015, i.e., to arrest the warming at 1.5°C instead of 2°C or below by 2050.

The October 8 report titled ‘Global Warming of 1.5°C, an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty’ stresses that limiting the warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society and would spell clearer benefits for the people and natural ecosystems of the world.

“One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes," said IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair Panmao Zhai. But attaining that target of stopping warming at 1.5°C by 2015 would be a task of immense difficulties. According to the report, to reach that target the world would by 2050 need to eliminate all the 42 billion tonnes of carbon-dioxide in annual emissions. Renewables, including hydropower, would have at least to treble their share of electricity generation from today’s 25 per cent. Internal-combustion engines, which power 499 out of 500 cars on the road today, would have to all but vanish.

Yet, the report is a crucial one, as it will be a key scientific input at the Katowice Climate Change Conference scheduled for December in Poland, where governments would review the Paris Agreement to tackle the climate change.

No wonder that the report has became a hot topic in media and all strata of society across the world, more so in Rovaniemi, as it has just hosted the Arctic Biodiversity Congress on 9 to 12 October.

The IPCC report emits a clear message to the policymakers, President Sauli Niinistö told the inaugural session of the congress: “We urgently need to enhance and speed up our efforts to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.”

In this regard, the environment ministers of the eight Arctic council member countries at a ministerial meeting said they are committed to reducing black carbon emissions, which speed up the melting of ice and snow in the Arctic area.

The Daily Finland carried out a small-scale opinion poll with a randomly chosen small group of citizens of Rovaniemi as the respondents to get a general idea of the current public opinion about the climate change issue and the latest IPCC report. Most of the respondents were found to be well-aware of the report’s key contents.

One of the respondents, Anniina Koivurova, a university teacher, seconded the report and voiced her concern about climate change. “Yes, I have heard about the IPCC report on climate change and I am very concerned about the situation,” she said. She said she has brought a number of changes in her own lifestyle as a personal contribution to the global effort to survive the climate change.

For instance, Koivurova said, she now avoids air travels as much as possible and opts for a night journey by train to travel long distance within the country. “Our house has just one car. I also plan to reduce the consumption of meat. I try to keep energy consumption low and to be as energy efficient as possible, for example, by switching off any extra lights.”

Photo Captions: Ella Hyttinen, Jenni Sjöman, Mika Alatalo and Valtteri Koski.Michael Hurd, an American who has been living in Rovaniemi for many years with his Finnish family, said he has come to know about the IPCC report from news headlines and about global warming from some lectures he had attended. “Yes, I am worried but I do not think there is much I can do about it. As long as the Republicans control the US presidency, Congress and a large number of state governments, I don’t think we have much hope,” said Hurd, a lecturer at the University of Lapland.

He said, “I try to use my car as little as possible. If I can, I walk or ride a bike. I have geo-thermal heating in my house. I hope that creates less greenhouse gases than thermal forms of heating.”

Paksuniemi Marko, a visual designer, held people’s greediness, carelessness and lack of concern for nature responsible for global warming and its consequences, which, in his opinion, is approaching fast a point of time when it will be too late to act.

“Something must be done without delay and it is high time that we plan and act to resolve this alarming issue,” he said, adding that training, education, and public awareness-raising are of utmost importance towards this end.

Ella Hyttinen did not hear about the report, but climate change and global warming do make her worried. “I am already eating only organic food. I am trying to recycle things as much as I can. I am also making decisions in ways that are better for climate, such as choosing green electricity and trying to buy sustainable clothes,” she mentioned as examples of her adopted green actions.

“I have heard about the report and I find it somewhat worrying, if I consider the future of this planet,” said another respondent, Valtteri Koski. He, however, has not have considered bringing about any change in his own lifestyle.

Mika Alatalo said he has come to know about the report from the news media and has been aware of the global warming issue since his very school days.

Alatalo too has adopted some green actions in his day-to-day life. “I try to use bicycle or public transports instead of car, He said, adding, “I think everybody should take part in the fight against the warming, but the more populous countries like China should take measures first.”

The respondent named Sanna Konola said she has heard about the report and read a number of news reports on it. “Climate issues do worry me, and I am doing my best to decrease my carbon footprint. Occasionally, I feel a bit depressed, because the leaders, whether of Finland or of the international community, are not doing enough to prevent the degeneration.”

From her concern about the ramifications of global warming, Konola said, “Apart from trying to reduce my overall carbon footprint, I already bike to work, have been using train for years, and have decided to stop flying for private reasons. I will turn more of a vegetarian and also try to raise the awareness on this issue among the people who belong to my circles.”

In response to the poll, Jenni Sjöman said she heard about the IPCC report, especially on the effects at the national level. It worried her a lot. “The consequences of not cutting down the carbon emissions have been worrying me, at least for the last 10 years,” said Sjöman.

She said, “I have almost totally quit flying and been using train to travel inside Finland. I try to consume only that much that I really need.”

Her next statement was a startling one: “I live by nature and for nature.”

However, there are also few people who do not care for the climate issue. Two people, one private company worker and another businessperson, were also asked but they neither know about the IPCC report nor showed any interest in this regard.