The world joined forces to combat climate catastrophes: Scientists published a landmark study that concluded humans are to blame for the crisis; US President Joe Biden entered the Paris Agreement again in the early days his administration; world leaders met at UN climate summit in Glasgow (Scotland) to discuss solutions.
This year’s catastrophes are a sign that the climate crisis is getting worse. We have less time to cut our dependence on fossil fuels and prevent the destruction of the world as we know.
These are the top ten climate crisis stories for 2021.
10. Historic rain at Greenland’s summit
Temperatures at Greenland’s summit rose above freezing for a third time in less that ten years around August 15. Rain fell as rain, and dumped 7billion tons of water onto the ice sheet. This was enough to fill Washington’s Reflecting Pool nearly 250,000x.
Michelle McCrystall, climate researcher at University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, stated that “Things which happen in the Arctic do not specifically stay in Arctic.” “The fact that permafrost melting could lead to an increase in global sea-level rise or an increase of emissions from permafrost, is a global problem and requires a global solution.
9. Texas deep freeze
A devastating winter storm swept across the Central United States on February 15th and plunged deep into Texas, a state that was not equipped to deal with a multi-day freeze. Around 4 million people lost power and electricity generation was stopped.
8. Three continents have suffered fatal floods
7. The United States rejoins the Paris Agreement
In April, Biden promised to cut US greenhouse gases emissions by half by 2030. This was in part to honor the country’s renewed membership of the agreement.
Under the Paris Agreement, countries will be expected to monitor and increase their commitments every five years to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emission. The climate accords have the primary goal of limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. A preferred limit is 1.5 degrees.
6. UN report: A code red’
Scientists believe countries must reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by a significant amount while simultaneously removing carbon dioxide. This will stop the rapid trend.
5. Glasgow’s summit of vital importance
In November, world leaders gathered in Glasgow for the UN-brokered summit on climate change known as COP26.
The final pact was a step forward, but it did not reflect the urgency that scientists had called for. Instead of phasing out unabated coal, countries agreed to “phase down” their use of it for power generation. After negotiations on climate financing, funding from wealthy countries to help low-income nations deal with the crisis, fell apart, developing nations were also disappointed.
4. Hurricane Ida
3. December tornado outbreak
A series of tornadoes ripped through the Midwestern and Southeastern United States at the end of an already extreme year. They struck on December 12th and 13. Although the last month of the year is usually the quietest for tornadoes due to warm temperatures, it was nonetheless historic.
Gensini stated that statistics show that there has been a shift in tornado frequency. “But these events are becoming stronger, more frequent, and more variable.
2. Heat wave in the Pacific Northwest
1. Drought, wildfires, and water shortages
Scientists say this summer is a preview for what’s to follow: The United Nations’ August Report concluded that droughts that used to happen only once a decade now occur 70% more often.
CNN’s Haley Brink, Judson Jones and Taylor Ward contributed to this story.