THE HISTORIC IPCC LEAKS AND UNCHECKED CAPITALISM

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I'm here to tell you one of those stories that from the inside seems like something out of a movie.

A bit by chance and because I was working in the right place at the right time, I have been one of the journalists who has exclusively leaked the contents of one of the most important reports in recent years. That of Group III of the UN body - the IPCC - which is responsible for designing proposals to mitigate the effects of climate chaos. Both those already caused and those yet to come. The conclusions drawn from what has happened so far and from the report itself are not easy to digest. And precisely because of this, much less is being done than is essential.

Let's start by remembering that there was a leak, prior to ours, of the report of group II - the one in charge of measuring the impacts - made by Agence France-Presse (AFP) in June of this year. I do not know where the leak came from and its content, but the headline: "Life on Earth can recover from major climate change. Humanity cannot"., went around the world and We at Fastlove have already analysed this here.

This leak already conveyed that there was some nervousness in the scientific community, and desire to skip the step of review and modification by governments of the summaries of the reports, (yes, incredible as it may seemgovernments can propose changes to scientists and must unanimously approve the final summary of each group). In addition, these summaries are what the absolute majority of journalists read, and are the basis of the subsequent information that is disseminated, as the reports are several thousand pages each. Although the scientific work is unimpeachable, this makes it even more difficult for the more daring positions to appear.

Then, a month and a half after the first leak -on August 6th-, just 3 days before the first part of the report was officially published (Group I - science), we received a very special content from the Extinction Rebellion Spain movement, of which I am a member. The leakage of the Group III summary, the mitigation proposals.

Obviously this part of the report is very juicy, as it has to dive into proposing pathways that are passable to avoid the worst outcomes of the climate chaos we have already unleashed.

And although sometimes they are not - even with the summer of extreme events we are experiencing - as bold as the situation requires, this time there are parts of the report that have defied the usual somewhat tepid logic of previous reports.

So, in summary, what does the scientific community propose? Based on the previous work of over 14,000 different studies, very briefly their conclusions are clear:

- "Coal and gas plants need to be shut down within 9 to 12 years."

-Total emissions must peak in 2025 and then fall rapidly from there to net zero between 2050 and 2075.

-All these plans are based on technologies (Carbon capture and sequestration and Carbon dioxide removal -CCS and CDR) that are not even close to being developed. Then there is the continued reliance on some sort of "technological miracle". Which is not very scientific, The truth is.

-In scenarios that contemplate a reduction in energy demand, the mitigation challenges are significantly reduced, with less reliance on CO2 removal (CDR), less pressure on land and lower carbon prices. These scenarios do not imply a decrease in welfare, but a provision of better services." This is literally an adaptation scenario to the economic theory that advocates that it is possible to live well with less. Degrowth.

-Different scenarios are foreseen: Global warming associated with these different emission scenarios ranges from less than 1.5ºC to more than 5ºC by 2100. compared to pre-industrial levels. We are at 1'1º and we are already seeing increasingly catastrophic consequences of climate destabilization. Avoiding exceeding 1.5ºC is almost impossible to achieve. But every tenth of a degree counts.

-It is not incompatible to fight against energy poverty and climate change. This is because the biggest emitters are the richest: the richest 10% emit ten times more than the poorest 10%.

For all of the above, the content of the exclusive has gone around the world.

We first published it in the Spanish magazine CTXTmagazine, from there it reached The Guardian in the UK, to the Spiegel in Germany, to CNBC in the US and to Yale Universitythrough to India, China, Indonesia o Brazil and many other countries.

As if this were not enough, the source of the leak (a group of scientist-activists, Scientist Rebellion) was so happy with the work that they passed us more material (the whole chapter 1 of the report) and with it we were able to do another article in CTXT, co-written with some of the best experts in our country on the issue. another article in CTXT, co-written with some of the best experts in our country on the issueand which has even been translated into English in the prestigious Monthly Review.. Well, once the maelstrom ofwork and unleashed emotions has passed, and the content has settled down, I am going to try to summarise how complex I see this issue.

Assuming degrowth can be key in the management of climate chaos, and capitalism as we understand it is unsustainable.

These are the two main conclusions. And that they are reflected in a report that tends to err more on the side of conservatism than daring, says a lot about the seriousness of the situation.

The first thing I would like to do is to thank the enormous team effort that has made it possible for this to get this far. The second thing to note is that there are so many barriers in the media. Some - most of the television channels - have not even deigned to mention the leak. They do not dare to speak clearly about the enormous problem and how little is being done to solve it. And this barrier is key. If it is not counted, it does not exist. And it is impossible to do what needs to be done.

Someone may ask: how huge is the climate problem? Well, I remember the headline of the first leak:

"Life on Earth can recover from major climate change by evolving into new species and creating new ecosystems. Humanity cannot.

Extinctions seem to us to be a thing of the past and could never affect us, the all-powerful and omnipotent being that calls itself "Sapiens", while destroying its own life support. But there are many data that come to confirm that this is not so. The current rate of species extinction is tens to hundreds of times higher than the average of the last ten million years. And it is accelerating. Getting dangerously close to the rate of the previous 5 great mass extinctions. Add to this runaway climate change that may take on irreversible inertia for humans. It's not serious. It's a matter of life and death.

Extinctions are usually caused by an abrupt change in some factor that destabilizes the quasi-magical balance of life on Earth. In the past they have been caused by a series of mega volcanic eruptions or a meteorite impact. And this sixth mass extinction is happening because of us. Yes, us. We We're the meteorite now. At least the unchecked economic system we have built.

About the Author

Juan Bordera

Journalist and content creator.

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