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 Congress.
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