Humanity today faces an unprecedented climate crisis, with devastating effects on virtually all of the essential factors for sustainable development, including public health, employment, safe drinking water, sufficient food, and secure shelter.
In recent years, several countries have faced periods of extreme drought, temperatures have reached historic highs across the globe and, in 2019, extreme weather events caused natural disasters at a rate of one a week. Impacts such as the massive loss of wildlife, the collapse of natural ecosystems, and the extinction of species has quickly spread to include the migration of millions of people around the world, higher levels of extreme poverty and inequality, a decline in production and food security, the destruction of jobs, and serious public health problems.
The scientific community agrees on the urgency of limiting global warming to below 1.5°C by the end of this century in order to avoid catastrophic and irreversible impacts on humanity. This implies reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 45% by 2030, which entails a profound transformation of the current economic model, still highly dependent on energy and materials.
As it turns out, we didn’t have to wait another decade or for the end of the century. The Covid-19 pandemic, the biggest humanitarian crisis of our generation, has been a wake-up call for how we interact with nature can pose a significant threat to public health worldwide. Today, more than 75% of new infectious diseases originate in animals, and climate change scenarios for Europe increase the risk of the introduction or reintroduction of different vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, dengue, leishmaniasis, European encephalitis or Lyme disease.
The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation is deeply committed to the urgency of climate action, seeking to participate in projects that promote a low-carbon society that is more resilient and more prepared for future global change.
Our priorities are to:
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