Dr. Liukaitytė-Kukienė: Businesses Will Have to Become More Sustainable if No One Buys From Them

Dr. Liukaitytė-Kukienė: Businesses Will Have to Become More Sustainable if No One Buys From Them

Sukurta: 23 May 2022

kukieneIt is cheaper to do business using renewable energy, and such companies have a greater potential for growth - the geopolitical situation has shown that we can no longer build our future on fossil fuels, says Dr. Judita Liukaitytė-Kukienė, a lecturer at Meteorology and hidrology study programme at Vilnius University and the head of the Climate Policy Group of the Lithuanian Ministry of Environment. In the latest episode of "VU Experts Help to Understand", she explains the role of scientists in the fight against climate change

Dr. Liukaitytė-Kukienė points out that climate and weather are not the same thing. Weather is what we see outside the window today and what we encounter in our homes, meteorological conditions such as if it is raining or the sun is shining, what the temperature of the day is.

"When we talk about climate, we refer to the way the weather changes in the long term, the long-term weather patterns. If the sun is shining at the moment, the climate will tell you if this is typical of Lithuanian weather. What we see through the window adds up to climate, but climate is something that has been happening here for a long time," says the scientist.

More and more extreme weather events are occurring, she says, and records are being reached, such as for the strongest wind. It shows the tendencies in what is happening on the Earth and how public health should be taken care of, how farmers need to act to have good harvests, etc.

According to Dr. Liukaitytė-Kukienė, the terms "global warming", "climate change" and "climate crisis" cannot be used as synonyms, they all have their own evolution.

"When it became obvious that the climate was changing very rapidly, a lot of measurements and observations were started. It has been discovered that global warming is taking place – in other words, rising temperatures across the planet are causing changing weather patterns. Then we have the climate change, because the temperature of the atmosphere is rising, and it is currently about one degree higher than pre-industrial levels," she says.

And talking about the climate crisis, she says, means ringing alarm bells because we have reached the point where "we can't keep sleeping anymore". It means saying that if we do not take action globally to stop climate change and global warming, we will be too late and we will no longer be able to stop the processes that are taking place all over the Earth.

Dr. Liukaitytė-Kukienė believes that the main cause of climate change is human activity, such as the continuous use of fossil fuels and the release of greenhouse gases that have been locked on the Earth.


Decision-makers rely on science


According to Dr. Liukaitytė-Kukienė, research has contributed greatly to the creation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The findings of this organisation are used by world leaders at the Glasgow and Paris climate change meetings.

And the latest IPCC report confirms that the climate crisis is the result of human activity. "And until we start to do things differently, until we switch to green energy and more sustainable consumption around the world, we will have a worsening climate crisis," she says.

According to Dr. Liukaitytė-Kukienė, decision-makers rely on scientists to take action on climate. Without research, the European Union (EU) would not currently have the Green Deal and would not aspire to be the first climate-neutral continent in 2050.

The terms "global warming", "climate change" and "climate crisis" cannot be used as synonyms, they all have their own evolution.

"When it became obvious that the climate was changing very rapidly, a lot of measurements and observations were started. It has been discovered that global warming is taking place – in other words, rising temperatures across the planet are causing changing weather patterns. Then we have the climate change, because the temperature of the atmosphere is rising, and it is currently about one degree higher than pre-industrial levels," she says.

"And talking about the climate crisis, she says, means ringing alarm bells because we have reached the point where "we can't keep sleeping anymore". It means saying that if we do not take action globally to stop climate change and global warming, we will be too late and we will no longer be able to stop the processes that are taking place all over the Earth.
Dr. Liukaitytė-Kukienė believes that the main cause of climate change is human activity, such as the continuous use of fossil fuels and the release of greenhouse gases that have been locked on the Earth.


Consumption drives businesses


The VU lecturer argues that the emergence of new technologies is often driven by consumption. If consumers want to wear climate-friendly clothes, use recycled materials in their households and replace plastic with paper, businesses will have to look for new ways and technologies.

"When a technology starts to be used, its price goes down. This transformation is continuous and depends on our decisions. Businesses will have to change if no one buys from them anymore", she says.

More and more companies are now operating exclusively from renewable energy sources. It is cheaper and these companies have a greater potential to grow. In terms of energy security and the current geopolitical situation, the winners are those who have already made sustainable decisions: "And they will continue to win, because we can all see that we cannot build our future on fossil fuels."

The latest series of "VU Experts Help to Understand" podcasts, available on LRT.lt news channel, aims to dispel the myths about science that are ingrained in society and to talk about it in a simple, understandable way. Anyone can suggest topics for future episodes by asking a question.

The series of podcasts and articles "VU Experts Help to Understand" was launched in 2020 as Vilnius University's response to changes in society due to the coronavirus pandemic. The University's experts also helped to understand other issues of public interest, explaining in clear terms what the Nobel Prizes were awarded for.