Ocean Mist

Issues and trends shaping our environment, health and economy

16 Sep 2022

The Tocsin is sounding

Posted by Michael Keating

The alarm bells of climate change are getting louder. Droughts, fires, floods and record storms are creating one disaster after another. And yet the world’s leaders are still dragging their feet when it comes to heading off the climate shift that will kill people and destroy economies. The latest warning comes in a report compiled by the compiled by the World Meteorological Organization in partnership with a number of expert groups. In it UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the world is “heading into uncharted territories of destruction” and “no one is safe from disasters such as floods, droughts, heatwaves, extreme storms, wildfires or sea level rise.”

Forest fire burns house Credit: Park Insurance

The list of climate related crises keeps growing:

  • Recently smoke from a huge forest fire in British Columbia brought some of the worst air quality in the world.
  • After suffering through a heat wave Pakistan has floods that inundated one-third of the country.
  • In France one fire after another is eating away at the forests while parts of the country suffer hailstorms that destroy roofs and punch through car windows.
  • The southwestern United States is in a prolonged drought that is causing severe water shortages and crop reductions. Companies are actively searching for other parts of the continent to grow some crops.
  • Drought is causing hardship in China and a food crisis in the Horn of Africa.

In the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, governments pledged to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. This report United in Science 2022 says that instead of going down greenhouse gas emissions are going up. Fossil fuel projects that add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere keep getting built.  As a result there is nearly a 50 per cent chance that we will hit the 1.5 degree rise in as little as five years. The report calls for a renewable energy revolution to bring down carbon emissions as well as huge investments to adapt to the changes that are already being felt.

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