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UNAM experts warn of lack of attention to the climate crisis on presidential candidates' agendas

UNAM experts warn of lack of attention to the climate crisis on presidential candidates' agendas

UNAM experts denounced the omission of public policy proposals to confront the climate crisis on the agendas of Mexican presidential candidates. “Global warming of the Earth is the most urgent problem that humanity has to solve in terms of its survival; but there is a lack of intersection between politics and science,” warned Carlos J. García, researcher and head of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at ICAyCC, UNAM, during the press conference. .The state of the global climate and in Mexico, March breaks the record.'

Global warming continues its unstoppable advance, marked by record-breaking emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. In 2023, March set a new temperature record, and the upward trend continues in 2024. According to specialists from the Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Change of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), there is still a man-made upward trend. Extensive use of fossil fuels, polluting energy generation, industrial activity and lifestyles that seriously harm our environment.

“These records will continue because nothing has been done to prevent the temperature from continuing to increase the concentration of these gases,” said Graciela Benimeles de Raga, a researcher in the Micro and Mesoscale Reaction Group at ICAyCC. According to figures from Copernicus, the European Union's climate monitoring service, last March was the hottest month on record. “As we have seen, not only the oceans but also the Earth’s surface and air temperatures continue to rise due to greenhouse gas emissions.”

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Not only do emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), continue, but their concentrations in the atmosphere continue to increase, Graciela Benemelis de Raja noted. The scientist explained that the planet's temperature is governed by the balance between the energy it receives from the sun and that which it radiates back into space. He added: “Since the beginning of the industrial era, the increasing concentration of these gases, which are a product of human activities, has led to an imbalance.” He explained that this imbalance leads to the emergence of a phenomenon known as “radiative forcing,” which affects various components such as gases, aerosol particles, clouds, and changes on the Earth’s surface.

Benemelis de Raja confirmed that this radiative effect leads to an increase in the average temperature of the Earth's surface globally. “While emissions continue, the planet is still warming,” he concluded.

Climate changes in Mexico: increasing temperatures and changes in precipitation

In Mexico, the annual air temperature until the end of 2021 has risen by 1.69 degrees Celsius compared to records recorded at the beginning of the 20th century. According to Graciela Benimeles de Raja, “the rate of increase in average annual temperature varies significantly, and is more pronounced in the north and southeast of the country compared to global indicators.”

UNAM experts warned that temperature change is not constant throughout the year, with larger increases observed in autumn and spring, while increases are less pronounced in winter and summer.

Regarding rainfall, Benemelis de Raja points out that average annual rainfall in Mexico has increased by 3.1 mm per month per century since the 20th century. He added, “The pattern of change in precipitation is also very variable, with a decrease in the northern regions and an increase in the center and south of the country.”

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Benjamin Martinez Lopez, of ICAyCC's Climate Change and Solar Radiation Group, predicts that by 2100, Mexico City will see a roughly 25% reduction in precipitation. In addition, he highlighted that El Niño conditions are currently not observed, anticipating a transition towards a neutral phase between April and June, with an increasing likelihood of developing towards El Niño conditions from June to August.

For his part, Jay Garcia highlighted that scientific evidence has become more convincing regarding the phenomenon of global warming and rising ocean temperatures. He highlighted the 1.4 degree increase in temperature rise recorded by NASA, the carbon dioxide concentration of 425 parts per million that continues to increase, and the significant melting of more than 12% every decade since 1979. Garcia concluded that “the temperature is… “A ‘leading indicator’ that helps us understand how other phenomena that depend on it are affected, such as rainfall, which has been particularly noted by the recent decline in rainfall in our country.”