Presidential end-of-year address
The last few months have placed the issues of climate change at the center of attention of society and institutions. From the Italian Youth Climate Conference, to the G20 and COP26 in Glasgow, society is on the move, and finally we say ! A historic moment for Climate Science and for all the civil society that has believed in the work of our researchers. But are we really satisfied? The glass, as they say, can be half full or half empty, it depends on who is looking at it. Maybe it can be full if we think that all governments have recognized the need to reduce emissions by 40% by 2030, to stop deforestation and to achieve climate neutrality by mid-century. Not bad, but if we look at it through the eyes of the younger generation it is not enough at all. First of all, in 2030 we are already at the target of 1.5 – 2°C regardless of emission scenarios, climate neutrality is temporally indefinite for some countries (see India) and, above all, there is no decisive turnaround on fossil energy sources. The risk of not achieving climate stabilization for the duration of the century is high. This is why for our young people there is certainly discouragement and disappointment, as if scientific research, our models, our observations, are incapable of changing society.
However, to our young scientists, recent graduates who have committed themselves in our country and abroad, who have sacrificed their time and grown up inside the equations that describe the complexity of the Climate, of the biogeochemical cycles of the terrestrial and marine biosphere, of the cryosphere. Aboard oceanographic ships in the most remote oceans, in the tropical forests most unknown to Man and in the meanders of the most complex algorithms of the chaotic structure of the atmosphere, to our young people who are making an extraordinary contribution to the understanding of the Planet, well I say to them, don’t give up! Science goes on, we need you, like the fire of the vestals of ancient Greece we must not extinguish the spark that allows us to understand the future. In this sense we have to start again, expanding the commitment of research, both in the understanding of phenomena and in their solution. Today governments do not see the future as you do, but the time will come when humanity will need you. As Napoleon Hill said “No one is ever defeated until defeat is accepted as reality.”
A dear wish to all for a Merry Christmas and a better New Year ! But most of all I remind you to renew your membership in our Society both as individuals and as institutions. We have a lot of work still to do….
– Riccardo Valentini –