The climate movements are also proposing a lexical change to the traditional narrative on global warming, its causes and consequences. The term “climate emergency” is more and more adopted. I did not systematically use this term, which I like by the way, in this series of videos, but if you follow this series I hope that you will be convinced that we are facing one of the biggest and most pervasive crises humanity has ever had to face, and of the urgency and actions that it calls for.

In this introduction I will give you a brief overview of the course and its content. I also explain the reasons for why some of the subjects have been chosen. I anticipate that some of my conclusions, in particular that of enlarging the scope of the fight against anthropogenic global warming by looking at the need – in order to make a stable step towards a long-lasting future within the planetary boundaries – of a broader cultural and societal change, will be grounds for further discussions.

Andrea Tilche, UiT The Arctic University of Norway – Introduction

Podcast 1: Climate change and the greenhouse effect

Here I provide some of the basics that allow to understand how emissions of greenhouse gases caused by human activities, and in particular by the burning of fossil fuels during the last 250 y after the industrial revolution, are the essential physical drivers of global warming. What results from the simple analysis of how greenhouse gases – and in particular CO2 – act is that the only possible solution to halt global warming is to stop emissions.

Andrea Tilche, UiT The Arctic University of Norway – Climate change and the greenhouse effect

Podcast 2: Past climate

The climate on Earth has changed very frequently in the past, and the analysis of the past climate and of its changes is essential in order to understand what is happening today because of human activities, and what are the risks for tomorrow. The human civilization had the chance to develop thanks to several factor, but one of the most important ones was that about ten thousand years of climate stability after the last glaciation allowed the development of agriculture and the consequent establishment of human settlements. The huge increase of atmospheric CO2 concentration of the last 70 years makes us to search similar conditions in the past, and it may not be what we would like to see.

Andrea Tilche, UiT The Arctic University of Norway – Past climate

Podcast 3: Carbon emissions and the carbon budget

In 2018 the Earth was already in average about 1°C warmer than in pre-industrial times. Emissions of CO2 and of other greenhouse gases are continuously growing, and the amount of CO2 that remains possible to emit – the “carbon budget” – before passing the threshold of 1.5°C warming foreseen by the Paris Agreement is quite small. It is in the next five to ten years that major efforts have to be done in order to put emissions on the right trajectory towards zeroing them by 2050 at the latest.

Andrea Tilche, UiT The Arctic University of Norway – Carbon emissions and the carbon budget

Podcast 4: Why is it necessary to halt global warming?

The planet is warming very rapidly, is this so much of a problem? Yes, it is. The very rapid warming is already changing the geography of Earth – with its geophysical, biological, economic and social dimensions, destabilizing climate systems on which millions of people depend from. Moreover, frequency and severity of hydrometeorological extremes are increasing, sea-level is rising, oceans are acidifying. Warming is more pronounced on land, and much more pronounced in the Arctic. Global warming has to be halted at the lowest possible level, and, for this, emissions have to go to zero as soon as possible.

Decarbonisation is not an option, it is an obligation.

Andrea Tilche, UiT The Arctic University of Norway – Why is it necessary to halt global warming?

Podcast 5: Decarbonisation is possible

If decarbonisation is an obligation, the key issue is how to design it in order to make it cost-effective, just, rapid and stable. Here we explore the dimension of the challenge, its history, the current status of emissions and the gaps in order to move towards a trajectory compatible with the targets of the Paris Agreement.

Andrea Tilche, UiT The Arctic University of Norway – Decarbonisation is possible

Podcast 6: Decarbonisation challenges

Decarbonisation strategies have to analyse the sectoral challenges, but have to develop integrated solutions, thinking ahead of what will be the energy sector of tomorrow, when all the current uses of fossil fuels will have to be replaced by electric energy produced by renewable sources, and by renewable fuels that do not generate impacts on climate, and minimize pollution. All should converge into system solutions, in which digital control means will boost efficiency. However, decarbonisation also requires behavioural and lifestyle changes, for which the participation of citizens is essential.

Andrea Tilche, UiT The Arctic University of Norway – Decarbonisation challenges

Podcast 7: Climate change science and policy-making

Climate change science is a science of complexity, and it is characterised by its exploration of the future through forecast models, and by the thorough treatment of uncertainty. However, it is also because of its features that its relationship with policy-making, which should translate the scientific warning into mitigation action, has been difficult. Here we explore the role and the operation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a unique case of successful science/policy interface, and we discuss the benefits and the limitations of “evidence-based policymaking”.

Andrea Tilche, UiT The Arctic University of Norway – Climate change science and policy-making

Podcast 8: Why are we waiting?

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was established in 1990, and after 30 years we are still waiting for the operationalisation of the Paris Agreement, that at the level of ambition pledged by participating countries would today fail to ensure to keep average global warming “…well-below 2°C, pursuing efforts to stay within 1.5°C …”. What are we waiting for taking decisive steps towards these objectives, putting them at the top of political, business and civil society’s agendas?

Maybe the main question then is “why” are we waiting, and this relates to a political dimension that strongly depends on more general worldviews.

Andrea Tilche, UiT The Arctic University of Norway – Why are we waiting?

Podcast 9: Worldviews and the climate emergency

Halting global warming and keeping the planet on sustainable tracks is not something that can be obtained just through technological fixes. Technology is very important, but it cannot be the only response, and not even the most relevant. If a future zero-carbon society has to be stable and long-lasting, it is mainly a change in worldviews that has to accompany this epochal transition. As humanity at the end of the Middle Age, we face today a critical moment when a deep re-thinking of the complex root reasons that led us to the climate emergency – and to the connected social ones – has to be carried out.

I plea for a new humanism, intended as a deep faith in the capacity of humanity to critically review the incredible richness of its accumulated knowledge in an anti-dogmatic perspective and to become responsible for a democratic, peaceful, gender-equal and just future within our planetary boundaries.

Andrea Tilche, UiT The Arctic University of Norway – Worldviews and the climate emergency