sexta-feira, 11 de janeiro de 2019

Global warming. The Paris Agreement. Should we get out of it?



On 04/08/2018 I published in my blog - franciscopinheirorodrigues.com.br – the article “Why is the Antarctica cooling down?”

My question – nosy headstrong - was related to the news that in the Antarctic there was a drop in temperature - the opposite of what is expected - because there was, and still is, an almost unanimous academic consensus that global warming is growing dangerously as a consequence of human activity. It was mandatory, I thought, without imagining the immense complexity of climatology, a global limitation of industrial activity, livestock, and deforestation and of everything else which would imply on an increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, even if such a restriction curbs the economic growth of countries ours included, rated among the ten most polluting countries.

Considering the rise in sea level - allegedly confirmed by the media - to be one of the serious consequences of the greenhouse effect flooding coastal areas, I concluded that the anomalous cooling, which occurred in part of the Antarctica, could be explained by the shift of the Earth's axis enabling the Sun's rays to warm certain areas while cooling others in the same continent, depending on the weight of the oceans and the Earth's rotational movement. This variation - I "deduced" - would be more noticeable near the Polar Regions in both hemispheres. Some areas, reiterating, warmer before, would become colder and vice versa, which would keep the average planetary temperature unchanged. If for example, winter is harsher in New York, probably in Siberia, on the opposite side of the planet, winter would be less severe; a phenomenon little publicized since it occurred in a sparsely inhabited region, thus not justifying headlines.

I wondered: what could explain this probable mutation of the Earth's axis tilt? Evaluating with a naked eye, the impressive mass of water of the Oceans on the globe the conclusion seemed obvious to me: with melting ice at the poles and peaks on the high mountains, millions of tons of melted ice, notably in the Antarctica, ended up in the seas and oceans, increasing its level, justifying the necessity of limitation in the human activity, given as responsible for the greenhouse effect.

I did not understand, however, why the media did not mention this explanation - of the axis shift - over the partial cooling at the south pole, an explanation that seemed to me "so obvious": if the Antarctica glaciers "visibly" melted - as suggested by the photos -, the resulting water would end up adding to the water of the oceans, increasing the flood of cities near the sea. Therefore, Brazil should remain firm in its decision to impose restrictions on its industrialists, ranchers and farmers, at the Paris Conference in 2015.
If readers want more details of my seemingly logical deduction, they can access my blog.
Now everything has changed. Or at least shuddered the technical understanding of a problem, which will affect the future of humanity, in the medium and long term.

After listening to "oceanic" and scholarly lectures and interviews by Ricardo Felício and Luiz Carlos Molion on YouTube, I am now aware and impressed by my total ignorance on this subject - Climatology - that I never imagined to have reached such a degree of sophistication and complexity.

From what I have heard from these two scientists, who are convinced that human activity does not influence the planetary climate, countries should think a little - or much more - about global treaties on reducing CO2. It is up to the academic majority - who maintains that man is the cause of the greenhouse effect and continuous global warming -, explain better the reason why they demand the signatory countries of the Paris Agreement the limitations on CO2 emissions, even if this means a decrease of GDP.

Three days ago, however, accessing YouTube, I watched the long interviews of USP professor Ricardo Felício, claiming in a calm assurance, that the human being is not responsible for the global warming, and there is no reason for Brazil to comply with the restrictions stemming from the Agreement of Paris 2015, ratified by our country on 09/12/2016.
In summary, Ricardo Felício says that a temperature variation on Earth depends only on changes in the Sun, following different periodic cycles on the surface of our star. He argues that the planet has already undergone ice ages and has withstood much higher temperature spells than today.

As for the rising sea level, Felicio says that El Nino is a natural phenomenon, even by changing the sea level by half a meter. He also reports that a famous oceanographer, Macaulay – if I’m not mistaken -, who has already died, said that "the last thing the sea has is a level", not justifying - in the words of Felício - the current global concern with an extra centimeter or even less because the seas always vary in their levels. He also claims that the melancholy images of thin bears - balancing themselves on pieces of floating ice at the North Pole - and the glaciers melting, or rather "crumbling" - in Antarctica - date back 20 years, being only false propaganda.

Felicio argues that glaciers melt and re-form in decades and centuries. He says that there are more than 160,000 glaciers and that the UN only monitors 50 or 60 of them, and cannot draw correct conclusions with such restricted research.

As for the aforementioned Luiz Carlos Molion - professor and researcher at the Federal University of Alagoas, in Meteorology, postdoctoral fellow in Hydrology of Forest, postgraduate in Physics and with numerous other distinctions -, he seemed to me, on YouTube, a live encyclopaedia when he shifts from one item to another related, with calm assurance and a courage rare in such a multifaceted subject. He also needs to say a few words about how to reconcile the "sanctity" of CO2 with the need to reduce environmental pollution. This cannot be totally unrelated to the Global Warming theme.

In order not to lengthen this text, already too long, it is convenient for the reader to watch the interviews of Felício and Molion on YouTube for a better understanding. I advise you to listen to them more than once, on different days - not to tire and give up, in frustration. This is a technical matter, with a conclusion of a very high relevance: the withdrawal of Brazil in a worldwide decision.

It's a pity - just for me, always eager and curious - that these two climate scientists have said nothing about the eventual tilt of the Earth's axis when the planet undergoes cooling in parts of the Antarctica when global warming occurs. Probably nothing has been said about the Earth's axis because the detail, if it occurred, was irrelevant. They need however to clarify how to reduce pollution, which kills people in the long run.

Global warming and environmental pollution are of course, distinct themes, but very closely related. Health should also matter heavily when discussing the economic effect of the mandatory reduction of carbon dioxide emissions in an international treaty.

Could the hasty Donald Trump exceptionally, be right when he declared that his country will withdraw from the Agreement?
The matter is especially important for Brazil since Jair Bolsonaro gives signs to follow Trump in that decision.

As long as the technical doubt about whether Brazil would walk out from the Paris Agreement, the most sensible solution would be for Bolsonaro to say he will wait for the formal black-and-white adhesion of countries with permanent seats in the Security Council prior to his decision. Felicio said that China has promised to sign but keeps winding, and has not yet signed. If the United States is the only one to leave, Brazil should continue in the Agreement. But Brazil must sign only after the super power countries, permanent members of the Security Council, besides Germany and Japan, have done so. Only then it becomes clear that the super powers would accept the restrictions required from Brazil and other smaller countries.

Molion insists with authority, in his talks on the economic interest of the rich nations in crippling the growth of developing nations. He lectures on patents, profits and losses, etc., which are behind a decision that should be solely technical.
Brazil needs to know, with more certainty, the pros and cons of variations of the Sun, the Earth and the insights of how human activities impacts, before leaving or remaining in the Paris Agreement.

(25/12/2018)

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