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CLIMATE | 18.02.2020

Manuel Toharia: “Raising the alarm isn’t any use, but a warning bell is, so that we can adapt to a reality that is more harmful to us.”

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MAPFRE Global Risks interviews Manuel Toharia, expert in scientific dissemination, meteorology and climate change, and former Science Director of the Valencia City of Arts and Sciences complex.

“Human-induced warming exists, but it is not global”

Manuel Toharia’s vision on climate change is significantly nuanced. He claims that there is no relationship between climate change and the tropical cyclones that have occurred in recent years. Moreover, he argues that, based on the historical data available, not only has there not been an increase in the total number of such phenomena, but that their intensity has not increased either.

As for global warming, Toharia also has a very clear opinion: for him, warming does exist, but it is natural, and it is overlapping with anthropogenic warming, that is to say, man-made warming, but we cannot really claim it is global warming.

“Satellites have provided us with global data for just 39 years. We didn’t have any before, so we can’t be sure that it is representative,” Toharia explains.

According to him, the concern is that we have vastly more possessions now than we did before and so we have far more to lose. “Even if there are no more disasters, or they are no worse than before, the damage will be progressively greater because there are more of us and we have more stuff. Economic losses will increase,” he explains.

“It’s a little arrogant to predict what is going to happen in 50 years”

“It’s important to sound the warning bell, but not the alarm bell. It’s necessary to take action when faced with a situation that, today, could be economically more damaging,” states the expert.

Toharia is also blunt with regard to the predictions and mathematical models that are used: “They are not very reliable, although at the moment, they are the best we have,” he says.

As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) explains, it does not make predictions, it makes trend calculations, with which it estimates a margin of uncertainty.

For all of these reasons, Toharia believes that daring to predict Earth’s climate for 50 years’ time is risky.