Latest developments regarding climate change and extreme weather events suggest the increased rate and frequency at which large-scale calamities are occuring.
Heatwaves in the U.S, floods in Europe, as well as wildfires across the Mediterranean have dominated the news cycle for the past few weeks, forcing us to re-examine our relationship with the planet and putting into question the very systems and policies that are made to protect the earth.
Last month alone, more than 380,000 from China's Henan province have been evacuated due to floods and, 30 villages in Uganda have been affected due to overflowing rivers.
Temparatures in Turkey have soared whilst South Africa and Brazil were encompassed by a cold, icy blast. Even Finland reported the longest heatwave on record with maximum temperatures reaching above 25°C across 31 consecutive days. Many hospitals in the country were filled to maximum capacity with people suffering from heatstrokes, severe cases of dehydration and even cardiac arrest.
In Iran, water shortages as a result of unusually hot summers have even sparked civil unrest amongst the masses, leading up to protests, with one protester even being killed amidst the escalated tension.
These string of events suggest the looming threat of global warming and climate change, with global surface temperatures already 1.2°C warmer since pre-industrial times.
German meteorologist Johannes Quaas said in an interview, "even if societies meet the target to reduce carbon dioxide pollution to net zero in 2050, the planet will continue to warm after that". The resulting weather events that people are experiencing today are a chain reaction to emissions that entered the atmosphere decades, perhaps even centuries ago.
There is no concrete way to determine when global temperatures will stop rising. However given the exponential rate at which greenhouse gases are being released into the atmosphere, it is clear that we are on the path towards 1.5°C to 2°C above pre-industriaol levels.
"We'll definitely make it to 1.5°C and it will be hard to stop the warming and remain there," said Hans-Otto Pörtner, a professor at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research and an adviser to the German government on climate and the environment.
These cataclysmic events are only a stepping stone into what the future could look like, should we choose to remain idle, stagnant, and refrain from taking action on a global scale.
Published 10th August 2021 | 11:55 am