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In 2021, carbon pollution caused environmental degradation at record levels
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In 2021, carbon pollution caused environmental degradation at record levels

A man pulling a cart through floodwaters

Humanity has The atmosphere is cloggedAccording 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 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 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 invested in disaster preparedness means we are better at saving people, even though economic loss is soaring,” Petteri Takas, WMO Secretary General, said 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 US to China continue to pour money into infrastructure in order to extract and burn more fossil fuels. They are planning to heat the planet by 2.7 C by the end century with the policies they pursue. Scientists predict that the 1.5 C thresholdMost likely, it will be done in a decade.

“Below those levels means manageable global climate change,” said Omar Baddor a WMO climate scientist and lead author of this report. “Above will indicate that it will be very difficult to manage such consequences.”

Hotter average temperatures translate into more extreme heat waves

According to the WMO, an UN body, the seven most recent years have been the hottest ever recorded. Last year was 1.1 C warmer than the average temperature between 1850-1899. Although it was slightly cooler than some years in recent years, this was due to La Nia, a natural climatic phenomenon that does not alter the overall warming trend.

Behind this increase is a deadly worsening in extremes.

Scientists from the World Weather Attribution research group (WWA) discovered that climate change has overcharged a July report. 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, with worsening floods which killed more than 180 people in Germany alone.

An estimated 1 in 6 people are currently experiencing a heat wave that is scorching the planet. 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.

To alleviate food shortages, heat wave scorches crops

Aditi Mokherji, a scientist from the International Water Management Institute, said that India’s national governments and regional governments should immediately create heat management plans. She also said that India and other emerging countries must keep pressure on high-emitting countries to reduce their emissions. “We cannot adapt to such heat waves. Mitigation is the best form of adaptation.

The effects are not limited to 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 is the second-largest wheat producer in the world after China. 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 complex crises, the poorest are most affected.”

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

The Russian invasion in Ukraine has halted wheat exports and raised concerns about famines

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 is 5 times more likely with 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 ScienceLast year, the four largest investor-owned fossil fuel companies Chevron ExxonMobil and BP were responsible for 11% global fossil fuel and cement emission between 1965 and 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 and BP didn’t respond to a request to comment on their responsibility for extreme weather conditions made worse by the burning of fuels they sold. Shell declined to comment. 

According to Mitzi Jonelle Tan, a climate activist from the Fridays for Future movement, fossil fuel companies have not only caused climate crisis, but also hid it from the public 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 said that people are suffering from their greed. “These companies should pay for our losses and damages. That is the least they can do.”

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