Spain heeds warnings of global warming
The United Nations Inter-governmental Panel of Experts on Climate Change has made public in Monaco its special report on “Oceans and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate”.
This report acknowledges the need for an “urgent and ambitious” reduction in emi-ssions of greenhouse gases, together with actions to adapt to the effects of climate change.
The report was commi-ssioned by the 195 signatory countries of the UN Climate Change Convention, following the adoption of the Paris Agreement, in December 2015.
Drawn up on the basis of almost 7,000 scientific articles from more than 100 experts on climate and oceans, the report represents the most exhaustive evaluation to date of the gravity of the impact of climate change on oceans and in areas of the planet with frozen surfaces. Two Spanish scientists are among the 100 authors, from 36 countries: Íñigo Losada, Director of the Institute for Environmental Hydraulics of the University of Cantabria, and Javier Arístegui, Professor at the Institute of Oceanography and Global Change, a centre attached to the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Among the effects of global warming on the oceans and the cryosphere, the report quotes massive losses of glaciers at a global scale; the reduction in permafrost and layers of snow in high mountain ranges of the Antarctic and Greenland; a higher fre-quency of marine heat-waves and phenomena such as El Niño and La Niña; and rising sea levels, which, together with higher temperatures and acidification, may exacerbate the risks for communities in coastal areas.
Similarly, they consider it necessary and urgent to act to alleviate the consequences of the loss of bio-diversity associated with changes in the oceans and the cryosphere, as well as the impact on fisheries, with a knock-on effect on income, means of livelihood and food security for those who depend on marine resources.
The conclusions of these studies are vital for Spain for several reasons. These particularly include the fact that Spain is a country with limited water resources and vulnerable to climate change; more than two thirds of the surface area is at risk of desertification; and there is close to 10,000 kilometres of coastline, with the resulting impact that rising sea levels may have, as well as extreme weather events.