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

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

A man pulling a cart through floodwaters

Humanity has The atmosphere is cloggedAccording to a Wednesday report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), four key measures of the planet’s health were broken last year by heat-trapping gases.

Already, the destruction of forests and burning fossil fuels has made the climate more fragile than any human civilization before. But in 2021, the 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. Extreme weatherStorms and wildfires fueled by climate change caused damage in excess of $100 billions. They swept away homes, fishing vessels, and farms and left behind hundreds of billions of dollars of destruction.

“Years invested in disaster preparedness means we are better at saving people, though economic loss is soaring,” stated Petteri Takas, WMO Secretary General. “But, there’s still so much more to do.”

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 Weather that is violentThis has caused havoc on their citizens. Governments from the US to China continue to pour money into infrastructure in order to extract and burn more fossil fuels. Their policies are expected to heat the world by 2.7 C by 2025. Scientists predict that the 1.5 C thresholdMost likely, it will be done in a decade.

“Below these levels means manageable temperature change,” said Omar Baddour (a climate scientist at WMO) and the report’s lead author. “Above will indicate that it’s very difficult for those consequences to be managed.”

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 more hot than the average 1850-1900. This was due to La Nina, which is a natural climatic phenomenon. However, it did not alter the overall warming trend.

This increase hides a deadly worsening extremes.

Scientists from the research group World Weather Attribution (WWA), discovered that climate change had overcharged their findings in July. Heat waveIt had been weeks before the US and Canada were burned. 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 concluded that climate change had caused heavy rainsThe following month was 3-19% more severe in northern Europe, with worsening floods that claimed more than 180 lives in Germany.

A scorching heat wave is affecting 1 in 6 people worldwide. India and PakistanThis has caused a disruption in electricity grids, and especially for outdoor workers and people with health issues, daily tasks such as shopping for groceries and going to work have become a gamble with the 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.

Heat wave scorches crops to alleviate food insecurity

Aditi Mukherji of the International Water Management Institute, a scientist, stated that India’s national and local governments must immediately develop heat management plans. But she said that India and other emerging countries must keep pressure on historical emitters to reduce their emissions. “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 that ravaged crops in India has made it impossible to meet the urgent global food needs caused by Russia’s invasion in Ukraine. India is the second-largest wheat producer in the world after China. Exports of the crop are prohibitedThe WMO found that the wheat prices will rise again on Saturday. 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. “All these compound crises are a disaster for the most vulnerable and poorest.”

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 caused disruption to wheat exports.

Investments in fossil fuels are incompatible with carbon budget

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a report on April 12th. 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 is 5 times more likely with this level of warming. A 1-in-50 year heat wave will be 8x 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 of greenhouse gasses, has been reluctant to give up its coal addiction

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. 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 corporations can do is to compensate us for the losses and damage we have suffered,” said Tan.

Edited by Jennifer Collins

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