President János Áder, in his latest environmental Blue Planet podcast, discussed issues around the IPCC with climate researcher Diána Ürge-Vorsatz, a member of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), who is also a professor of the Central European University. Áder said the consensus in science that climate change is man-made and the result of the use of fossil fuels was almost complete.
Ürge-Vorsatz said that in last 200 years carbon that had been stored in plants for hundreds of millions of years had been released into the atmosphere by mankind. This, she added, changed the balance central to ensuring a stable climate. Global average temperatures have risen by one degree over a few decades, leading to more and more extreme weather events such as droughts, floods, and storms, she said. Much of human civilisation, wealth, and infrastructure are concentrated on the shores of seas and oceans and other waterways that are increasingly exposed to extreme weather events, she added. Áder said a rise of 1.5-2 metres in the sea level would obliterate Florida.
Ürge-Vorsatz said that whereas humanity has woken up to the dangers, actions to combat climate change needed to be speeded up. The transition away from fossil fuels would not be easy, she said, but if it were done “skilfully” then society and the world would be cleaner, healthier and richer, she added. Áder argued that various energy production solutions were needed, and “nuclear energy also has a role”. “Regrettably, there’s no such thing as a free lunch and there’s no free energy,” he said. Ürge-Vorsatz also emphasised the importance of energy efficiency. Áder agreed, saying that by boosting energy efficiency, energy consumption could be reduced by 20-30% without harming the economy or denting living standards.
Meanwhile, Ürge-Vorsatz noted that the next IPCC report will be published in 2022. Ürge-Vorsatz also warned of the dangers of harming the living environment. She noted bees are not the only insects to pollinate crops, and flies and male mosquitoes were responsible for three-quarters of cross-fertilization. “There won’t be any food if we exterminate insects,” she said.