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DW| Environment | All topics from climate change to conservation | DW

A man pulling a cart through floodwaters

Humanity has It clogs the atmosphereAccording to a Wednesday report by the World Meteorological Organization, four crucial measures of the planet’s health broke records last year due to the high heat-trapping gas.

Already, the climate was in a precarious place due to the destruction of forests and burning fossil fuels. However, 2021 will be a year of change. State of the Climate Report 2021 found, the world broke records for greenhouse gas concentrations, while oceans grew to new heights, temperatures and levels of acidity. According to the WMO it has never recorded so much greenhouse gas pollution. 

Extreme weatherAs a result, hundreds of billions were lost in damages from wildfires and storms that were exacerbated by climate change and destroyed homes, fishing boats, and farms.

“Years worth of investment in disaster preparation means that we are more effective at saving lives, even though economic losses are rising,” Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of WMO, stated in a statement. “But there is still much to be done.”

A man pulling a cart through floodwaters

Climate change is making tropical hurricanes stronger and more powerful

Despite warnings, some countries continue to burn fossil energy.

In 2015, world leaders signed the Paris Agreement to try to keep the planet from warming more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7F) above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century a pledge that scientists have shown would require immediate and deep cuts to emissions.

But even as Violent weatherThis has caused havoc on their citizens. Governments from the United States to China continue to pour money into infrastructure in order to extract and burn more fossil energy. They are planning to heat the planet by 2.7 C by the end century with the policies they pursue. Scientists anticipate the following: 1.5 C thresholdIt is likely that they will cross the finish line within a decade.

“Below those levels means manageable global climate change,” said Omar Baddour a WMO climate scientist and lead author of this report. “Above will make it very difficult to manage these consequences.”

Hotter average temperatures translate into more extreme heat waves

According to the WMO (a United Nations body), the last seven years have been the most hot. Last year was 1.1 C warmer than the average temperature between 1850-1899. This was due to La Nina, which is a natural climatic phenomenon. However, it did not alter the overall warming trend.

Behind this increase is a deadly worsening in extremes.

Scientists from the World Weather Attribution research group (WWA), found that climate change had accelerated in July. Heat waveThe US and Canada were roasted weeks before. Many of the victims were elderly people who couldn’t cool down in unnaturally hot nights without air-conditioning. The researchers found that if humans had not polluted our atmosphere with greenhouse gases, the heat wave might have been 150 times less likely, and 2 degrees cooler.

The same team also found out that climate change had made it worse heavy rainsThe next month in northern Europe was 3-19% stronger, worsening flooding that killed more than 180 people in Germany alone.

A scorching heat wave is affecting 1 in 6 people worldwide. India and PakistanIt has overloaded electricity grids, especially for outdoor workers or those with chronic health conditions. This has made daily tasks like grocery shopping and going to work a gamble with fate.

Man drinking water during a heat wave in India

As temperatures rise, more people will find themselves in a position where they cannot adapt.

To alleviate food shortages, heat wave scorches crops

Aditi Mokherji, a scientist from the International Water Management Institute, stated that India’s national governments and regional governments should immediately create heat management plans. She said that India and other developing nations must continue to put pressure on historical high-emitters to reduce their emissions immediately. “We simply can’t adapt to such heatwaves. Mitigation is better than any adaptation.

The effects are felt far beyond the Indian subcontinent. The heat wave has scorched the crops of the country, which is urgently needed to address global food shortages following Russia’s invasion Ukraine. India, the world’s second largest wheat producer, is now in crisis. Exports of the crop were bannedOn Saturday, the WMO reported that wheat prices rose again. It comes on the back of a series of crises conflict, extreme weather, economic shocks and the pandemic that had already “undermined decades of progress” towards food security, the WMO found.

“It’s deeply concerning,” said Maarten Van Aalst, Director of the international Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Center, who contributed to the WWA analyses. “With all these compound crises the poorest and most vulnerable are hardest hit.”

A farm worker in Ukraine looking at a rocket by his tractor

Fears of famine have been raised by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has disrupted wheat exports.

Investments in fossil fuels are incompatible with carbon budget

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published a report in April. Climate solutionsThe pollution that would result from the use of existing and planned fossil fuel infrastructure during their lifetimes was more than enough to exceed the 1.5 C threshold. A 1-in-10-year heatwave will be 5 times more likely at this level of warming. A 1-in-50-year heatwave will be 8 times more likely.

A study published in the journal Energy Research and Social ScienceThe four largest fossil fuel companies owned by investors, Chevron ExxonMobil BP, Shell and BP were responsible last year for 11% of global cement and fossil fuel emissions between 1965-2018. This figure does not include pollution from the fuels they sold.

Open-cast coal mine in Germany

Germany, the sixth-largest historical polluter, has resisted giving up on coal.

ExxonMobil (Chevron), BP and ExxonMobil did not respond to a request to comment on their responsibility in extreme weather events caused by the use of fuels that they sold. Shell declined to comment. 

According to Mitzi Jonelle, a climate activist working with Fridays for Future in the Philippines, fossil fuel companies not only caused the crisis but also concealed it from people and lobbied for delay action. The latest IPCC report, which was compiled by hundreds leading scientists, found that “opposition to status quo interests” is a barrier for establishing strict climate policies.

Tan stated that greed is causing people to suffer. “The least these companies can do for us is to pay compensation for the damages and losses we have suffered.”

Edited By: Jennifer Collins

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