The scientist who advises the summit of climate change: “It can be stopped, but it is urgent”

Maisa Rojas The scientist who advises the summit of climate change

Journalist: What is the role of the scientific group?

Maisa Rojas: The Ministry of Science was summoned to join the coordination to give content to the summit. It is a novelty, because it is always in charge of Environment and External Relations. They asked me to coordinate seven tables: two of them transversal, Mitigation and Adaptation, and five sectors: Water, Cities, Biodiversity, Cryosphere and Oceans.

Q: How do you evaluate Chile’s environmental performance?

MR: Improving, but we are not yet where we should be. Our Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) is rated as “highly insufficient.” Although it is being understood that science is another input in decision-making: the contribution will be updated more ambitiously, a climate change law is being discussed and adaptation plans are being made.

Q: Are the countries of the region moving forward?

MR: The region is under development, there is much to improve. Very few have a national adaptation plan and when they submitted national contributions in 2015 they also did not include scientific references in their commitments.

Q: What is the most worrying point of climate change?

MR: There are several, because it hits different parts of the world very differently. In Chile it is the drought, which has been almost 10 years and in 2015 it was called megasequía: we never had such a long and widespread in the territory. The most dramatic thing is that it happens where most people live. In Argentina it is the opposite: for years, rainfall has increased, with some positive consequences such as the extension of farmland, but causing flooding and the spread of certain diseases. Something is true: temperatures are rising across the planet.

Q: Should we focus more on adaptation?

MR: I think what made adaptation a second-line issue in the negotiations It is the strong emphasis placed on mitigation and how to reduce emissions. How we face the impacts became “the poor brother”. It also happens…

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