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Italian Journal of Engineering Geology and Environment, 2 (2015)
© Sapienza Università Editrice
DOI: 10.4408/IJEGE.2015-02.O-ED
Our Journal focuses on land, the environment and natural
risks. We address these issues from the standpoint of people
who have to implement engineering projects, while keeping
an eye on the future in terms of land planning and manage-
ment. Therefore, in managing our Journal, we should care-
fully monitor the evolution of research around these issues.
As is known, since 1998 - when the United Nations Intergov-
ernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) was established
- the debate on this theme has constantly made the headlines
of newspapers and TV news reports, with major social, po-
litical and economic implications. The first implication is that
the debate on climate change has moved from the traditional
scientific and research arena and become permanently estab-
lished in the mass media, thus involving increasingly wide
brackets of the population. This fact may be an expression
of democracy. However, we should wonder about the ways
in which these topics are covered and the types of content
that are conveyed. In the first place, we should consider that
there are still no scientific theories or certainties that can elu-
cidate the mechanisms governing the various climate cycles
on our planet. There are various opinions on the climate issue
but, from the viewpoint of scientific research, they should be
called “research assumptions”. The most common assump-
tion is the IPCC one, which regards the so-called greenhouse
gases as the causal factors of global warming. Unfortunately,
the communication system often turns these assumptions into
judgements, thus immediately engendering population pres-
sures on the political system. In this seemingly endless spi-
di / by
. a
Scientific Editor-in-Chief
ral, the most severe defeat is the one inflicted to the research
system, which is more and more marginalised and unable to
continue its role of knowledge-driver, as it has been doing es-
pecially in the 20
Many false assertions have been made on global warm-
ing (and thus on CO
), which is supposed to induce, among
others, extreme events, worsening hydrogeological risks. Be-
tween 7,000 and 4,500 years ago, the Alpine glaciers had al-
most completely disappeared; temperatures were much higher
than today and in Minoan, Roman and Medieval times; and
values were definitely below current ones. The same ap-
plies to the cold period of 1450-1600. About 400 years ago,
Europe was panicking over apparently unrelenting glacial
advances. Even in 1970, a debate arose on the possible re-
turn of a glacial period. Yet, the IPCC granted that there are
no forecasting models (IPCC Third Assessment Report 2001,
Chapter 14, Section “In climate research and mod-
elling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled
non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term
prediction of future climate states is not possible.
” Today, the
fear of an imminent disaster is dominant. Instead of pushing
governments to invest massive funds on research and innova-
tion, the proposed solutions envisage myopic investments on
alternative energy sources, many of which are expensive and
without future. The goal (Paris 2015) is to curb temperature
by about 2°C by 2020, something that even magicians can no
longer do. The question is, as the Latins said: “cui bono?
(literally “to whose benefit?”).