There is no time to waste (and all must do their part)

Stefano Caserini, Professor of Mitigation of Climatic Changes at Milan Polytechnics and coordinator of a blogsite Climalteranti
Stefano Caserini, Professor of Mitigation of Climatic Changes at Milan Polytechnics and coordinator of a blogsite Climalteranti

Let us start from a necessary clarification on the meaning of a word: sustainability. There are many acceptations in which this word is understood, but in this article we are proposing a very simple and linear explanation: sustainability is to bear immediately the costs that our behaviours will imply in the short-, medium- and especially long-term.
Why especially “long”? Because until today the calculation of the economic benefit has been often oriented on a short time scale, with impressive consequences indeed. The most fitting example concerns precisely the climate-changing gases belonging to the category of fluorinated gases. Used due to their simple usability in the short term, the refrigerant gases privileged until now, with their content of components that can increase the natural greenhouse effect of the planet, besides producing damages when they are released, have permanence times in the atmosphere in the order of hundreds and even thousands of years.
Therefore, their dangerousness does not reside just in the fact of generating damage today but in the permanence of this damage in time and then in determining a global warming that lasts for a long time. The emission reduction pursued today to achieve zero net emissions in 2050, according to Paris Agreements signed on a world scale; the Agreement was ratified almost unanimously in Parliament in our Country, too. Acting in this direction is not then a “good action”, a virtuous behaviour, but an irremissible requirement to hinder (as far as human behaviour is concerned) the global warming.
The actions required to fight this situation must take place at all levels, listing the order of priorities and acting in structured manner on all climate-changing substances, from carbon dioxide to methane, but bearing in mind how much forests’ absorption capacities can – more and more scarcely – counterbalance the phenomenon. We have to stop thinking the problem is “elsewhere” or concerns “someone else”.
Farsighted people’s laudable initiatives are not enough, we need a systematic plan that promotes actions in all sectors, for instance also the elimination of climate-changing gases from new appliances, and the quickest possible replacement of equipment still using refrigerants with significant impact with new machines. Besides, the correct severe disposal of climate-changing gases contained in the refrigerating circuits disposed.
Acting sooner or later is the main dilemma; acting sooner means having a competitive edge, according to a business point of view, because all prices paid for temporary solutions add to those that will be unavoidably paid when the regulation will also strictly prohibit the use of transitional formulas.
We clearly need incentives and disincentives, coordinated. At “cultural” level as well, it is useful the choice of establishing with the Ministry of Ecologic Transition a meeting place for the environment protection and the economic development, and likewise it is necessary to overcome the contraposition between economic development and ecosystem conservation. However, apart from the evaluation, or better the positive hope with which we look at this initiative, it is worth repeating once more that we are all involved, we and future generations. The global warming decrease is a battle we cannot afford to lose.