Time for Action

Jose Luis Gallego, environmental communicator (@ecogallego)

Just like the winter vineyard work ensures the success of the next harvest, the actions we take today are crucial to preventing the worst-case climate scenarios of tomorrow.


During the first few months of the year, while the vines lie dormant, the winegrowers continue their work in the vineyard. This is the time for very important and delicate tasks in European vineyards (in the southern hemisphere this happens in July). These tasks include pruning, and getting it right will determine not only the quality of the next harvest, but also the health of the entire vineyard. It is time for action.


In their latest report, the experts of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have called for immediate action to contain global warming and prevent the most adverse future scenarios—those that would occur if the planet's average temperature rose by more than 2ºC.




The average temperature has risen by 1ºC over the past century. At first glance, this might not seem like much, but we are already starting to feel the consequences.  



Wildfires in California in 2018 (Source: bbc); Time-lapse del área helada en el Ártico, between 1984 and 2016 (Source: NASA)



Extreme weather phenomena, sweeping wildfires devastating enormous areas across the globe, rising sea levels or the rapid melting of polar ice caps.


These are the first effects brought on by the warming of the Earth's atmosphere.  Predictions indicate that the situation would worsen if the average temperature went up by 1.5ºC and even more so if that increase reached 2ºC.


According to the latest IPCC report, sea levels would rise by 10 cm less if the increase in global temperature were 1.5ºC instead of 2ºC. The number might seem small, but once you consider that, on average, the sea moves one meter beyond the shoreline for every one-centimeter increase, this difference would result in the disappearance of many low-lying island nations and the displacement of their people.   


The differences for the Arctic would also be significant. At 1.5ºC global warming, the potential for an ice-free Arctic is estimated at once every hundred years, whereas at 2ºC this drops to every ten years. Coral reefs could shrink by more than half at 1.5ºC warming, but would disappear completely and irreversibly at 2ºC.  



The IPCC experts were emphatic in presenting their conclusions to world leaders: if we continue at the current rate of greenhouse gas emissions, we will reach 1.5ºC warming by 2040 and 2ºC by 2065.  


At that point, we would face a situation of runaway climate change, which would push us into scenarios of extreme uncertainty that are impossible to predict.


In order to prevent such uncertainty and ensure that global warming does not exceed 1.5ºC, we must see a 45% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 (compared to 1990, the point of reference) and reach zero emissions by 2050. In Spain, carbon emissions are 17% above 1990 levels, which means we must double our efforts to meet this goal. We all have to do our part in meeting this challenge, from governments and companies to the actions of ordinary citizens.



Thirty years ago, Familia Torres launched its Torres & Earth program, which implements active measures to protect the environment and combat global warming. These efforts have allowed the winery to adapt its activity to climate change and reduce its carbon emissions. The goal was a 30% reduction per bottle before 2020. Since achieving this goal, the company is working toward becoming a carbon neutral winery—an indispensable commitment and contribution to keeping global warming below 1.5ºC and ensuring a future of exceptional wines.


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