Grandparents in numerous countries (Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, France, The United States, the United Kingdom and others) are concerned about the impact that global warming will have on their grandchildren. They have formed organizations to investigate the risks, monitor the response of politicians, keep the public informed as to the continuing increase in world temperatures and engage with other environmental groups to put political pressure on their national government.
Switzerland is a relatively small, neutral country, responsible for 6.34 Metric Tons of CO2e Per capita, which represents .11% of the world’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The European Environmental Agency (EEA) has researched how Switzerland could be affected by climate change. For example, an unchecked rise in global GHG emissions could increase temperatures at the end of the 21st century by over 6°C compared to pre-industrial times – a threatening future even to a resourceful and business savvy country like Switzerland !
The EEA included these observations in its analysis:
“Switzerland could be severely affected by climate change, as the negative impacts clearly outweigh the positive in the long term. But Switzerland’s robust economy can be effectively used to properly adapt to climate change and counteract its consequences for society. At the same time, due to its global business network, resource dependence and sense of ethical responsibility, Switzerland cannot disregard global developments.”
This optimism was not shared by participants in a recent symposium sponsored by Swiss Grandparents for the Climate featuring scientists from the Universities of Lauzanne and Neuchatel. The conference was also attended by numerous student groups who have been urging the Swiss Government to take action against climate change.
The shared sentiment of the meeting is best represented by this observation which appeared in the summary of the conference:
Le réchauffement climatique– plus rapide que prévu –les mesures… trop lentes à venir/ Global Warming – more rapid than expected – the measures -too slow in coming (4RG’s translation)
Compare the climate situation in Switzerland with Canada.
Canada is the eleventh largest emitter, the source representing 1.63% of the world’s total emissions. Canada’s per capita emissions are 20.64 (Metric Tons of CO2e which put it in seventh place among countries. Canada’s emissions profile is similar to that of most industrialized countries. In general terms the sources of its emissions are: Energy Sector (consisting of Stationary Combustion Sources, Transport, and Fugitive Sources = 8%) Agriculture (8%) Industrial Processes and Product Use (7%) the Waste Sector (3%).
There is one development shared by the Canadian Arctic and Switzerland: these areas are warming almost twice as rapidly as the global average. In Switzerland this means a negative impact on the health of the population and rapidly shrinking glaciers – which will effect tourism – In Canada this warming may cause serious harm to Inuit culture.
We have written this blog to assist grandparents the world over to recognize that there are actions that they should take and news of events that they should share.