Boosting science and renewable energies essential to tackle climate change

Gradually reducing coal consumption by 2050 and reducing methane use by 30 percent, positive agreements from COP 26. It is essential to know what we have to adapt to in the face of transformations that are already here.

Boosting science and renewable energies essential to tackle climate change
Fostering science and renewable energies, essential for tackling climate change. Photo by Gustavo Quepón / Unsplash

UNAM researchers warned that it is essential to seriously protect the environment, move from fossil fuels to renewable energies, invest in basic and applied science, and make progress in adapting to the transformations produced by climate change are public policies that the country must implement to face a global problem with important repercussions on a local scale.

A scenario of inaction could drastically reduce our nation's agricultural production capacity, with a reduction in yields of five to 20 percent in the next two decades, and up to 80 percent by the end of the century for some crops and states, said Francisco Estrada Porrúa, coordinator of the Climate Change Research Program (PINCC).

Estrada Porrúa, also a researcher at UNAM's Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Change (ICACC), said that the risks of flooding in the country are high and will increase substantially, he warned. "Currently, the expected annual damage in Mexico from river floods is seven billion dollars and from coastal floods is 130 million dollars. Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and San Luis Potosí will have the highest levels of risk from river flooding, as well as the center of the country," he commented.

During the media conference "Conclusions and agreements of COP 26, What's next to eradicate climate change?", the researcher of the Institute of Engineering (II), Ruth Cerezo Mota, considered that the Glasgow meeting had positive and negative aspects, such as advances in the rule book of the Paris Agreement that had not been achieved in previous events, although limitations in mitigation and the Loss and Damage Mechanism, which is the reparation by the countries that historically pollute more towards the nations that have done less.

Cerezo Mota recalled that the talks on deforestation and the environment, signed by 103 countries, were supported, hence improvements are expected in this sector. The specialist acknowledged that voluntary and non-binding actions still prevail in the agreements, which could affect compliance. Among the positive agreements, she highlighted two: the burning of coal in the world, concerning which COP 26 committed to gradually reduce the use of this fossil fuel and to reduce methane consumption by 30 percent by 2050.

"There was no progress on mitigation, they fell far short and in the end, the negotiations were very strong. It is part of climate justice, the debt that certain countries have in terms of pollution," she stressed.

In that the effects of this phenomenon for Mexico are numerous. It is not an acute problem, but a long-lasting and growing one; we are going to have significant damage to agricultural capacity, the possibility of new diseases appearing, through zoonosis, vector-borne diseases (transmitted by mosquitoes) reaching places where they were not before, and we will have a serious problem in labor productivity when certain levels of warming are exceeded".

The expert highlighted UNAM's work on this issue, where the PINCC offers free access software to generate models and future scenarios of climate change, which contributes to generating knowledge and awareness of the problem. They can be consulted at the site: