On 20th February 2023, the University of Geneva and the Centre d’études juridiques européennes hosted Prof. Petteri Taalas, Finish meteorologist and Secretary-General of World Meteorological Organization who gave a conference on “Climate change, its impact and mitigation perspectives”.
In his intervention, Prof. Taalas welcomed the outcome of the 27th United Nations Climate Change conference, held from 6th until 20th November 2022 in Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt). He explained that the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) will pursue its incitive “Early Warning for All” to provide for universal access to early warning mechanisms to reach everyone on Earth with early warnings against increasingly extreme and dangerous weather. In addition, to provide support to mitigation action taken by the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement conditions, he announced that the WMO is currently working to develop Global Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Infrastructure.
During his presentation, Prof. Taalas referred multiple times to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports showing the impact of climate change on the environment causing an increase in heat waves, heavy precipitation, sea levels; concentrations of greenhouse gas; changes in global precipitation and destabilization in the food security system. He also recalled the potential of increasing the use of wind and solar energy to divert current trends, while aiming at progressively replacing fossil fuels (oil, coal, natural gas) with renewable energies.
By making reference to the European Green Deal, Prof. Taalas emphasized that the EU is a leader in the fight against climate change. In particular, the EU’s recent practice of concluding a new generation of free-trade agreements is a good example of how sustainable development objectives can be successfully incorporated into trade policy.
Lastly, Prof. Taalas ended his intervention on a positive note recalling possible concrete steps to mitigate the negative effects of climate change. Those actions include: privileging the use of electric vehicles or public transport; avoiding products produced by using fossil energy; and, at the political level, keeping a balance between climate, nature, economy and employment in the policy-making process.
Mateusz Milek, Climate change, its impact and mitigation perspectives, actualité du CEJE n° 6/2023, 21.02.2023, disponible sur www.ceje.ch.