2019 – the year the world woke up to the climate emergency?
class to strike, protests
bringing city centres to a
standstill – armed with dire
warnings from scientists, people around the world dragged
the climate emergency into the
mainstream in 2019.
Spurred on by Swedish wunderkind Greta Thunberg – virtually unknown outside of her
homeland a year ago but now a
global star nominated for a
Nobel prize – millions of young
people took part in weekly demonstrations demanding climate action.
And, like harbingers of the
apocalypse, the Extinction Rebellion movement embarked on
a campaign of peaceful civil
disobedience that spread worldwide, armed with little more
than superglue and the nihilistic motto: “When hope dies, action begins.”
Although scientists have warned for decades about the risk
to humanity and Earth posed by
unfettered burning of fossil
fuels, in 2019 – set to be the second hottest year in history –
their message seems to have finally hit home.
The 2015 Paris agreement
saw nations commit to limiting
global warming to two degrees
Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above
pre-industrial levels as a way of
curbing the worst impacts of
global warming. A safer cap of
1.5C was included as a goal for
nations to work towards.
With Earth having already
warmed by one degree, the
IPCC dropped a bombshell late
last year. Its landmark report in
October 2018 laid the groundwork for the string of climate
shockwaves that rumbled
throughout 2019: The world is
way off course for 1.5C, and the
difference between 1.5C and 2C
could be catastrophic.
“The message from scientists
was that each half-degree
counts,” said Amy Dahan, a
science historian specialising in
climate at France’s National
Centre for Scientific Research.
It was a message heard around
the world. Reacting to the impending climate emergency, citizens
across the globe – in particular,
young people – are now taking
action, asking governments and
companies to step up to the plate.
Argentina is no exception – and
since the turn of the year, there
is a growing momentum that
serious steps must be taken.
Protesters grabbed column
inches with protests at the La
Rural farming show, as well a
climate strike which saw thousands of people protest outside
At least two Argentines drew
attention in New York at a UN
climate summit, with 19-yearold Bruno Rodríguez appearing
alongside Thunberg and UN Secretary General António Guterres, and Buenos Aires Province-resident Chiara Sacchi, 16,
launching legal action against
the Argentine government.
They are part of a growing
awakening. Earlier this year, the
Times reported how more than
25 civil society organisations,
based across several provinces,
have now joined forces to form a
new climate alliance.
However, despite growing
mobilisation and awareness,
COP25 – the climate summit in
Madrid this month – barely
squeezed out compromises from
countries over a global warming
battle plan that fell well short of
what science says is needed to
tackle the climate crisis