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The time for climate action is now

2nd September 2022

We are well aware of the unusually high amounts of rainfall and flooding taking place around the world today. Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Indonesia, Uttar Pradesh, Australia, Central Africa - the list goes on. Several parts of the world are inundated, on fire, or on the verge of drought.

We’re also seeing unprecedented droughts in the Western World. Europes biggest waterways such as the Rhine, Po, Loire and the Danube are seeing extremely low water levels, revealing the remains of sunken shapes and hunger stones -  rocks engraved by previous generations during earlier periods of extraordinary dryness.

Climate change is no longer a topic that can only be read about - we are seeing its effects take grip all around the world. From the poorest to the richest countries - every single human on the planet is currently being affected by climate change in some way.

To better understand the unusual weather conditions that we’re seeing around the world today, let’s look at the last set of updates from the World Meteorological Organization.

  • There is a 50:50 chance that global temperatures will cross 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels at least one time in the next 5 years. With this likelihood only increasing with time, it is important to keep this in mind when we observe climate phenomena taking place around the world.

  • There is a 93% chance that at least one year between 2022-2026 is set to be the hottest year ever recorded. The previous hottest year on record was 2016. Witnessing two hottest years in consecutive decades is a significant cause for concern.

  • The probability of exceeding 1.5C has steadily risen since 2015, to 10% for the years between 2017 and 2021 and to nearly 50% for 2022-2026.

  • The arctic temperature anomaly is predicted to be more than three times as large as the global mean anomaly for the next five years.

  • As predicted in May 2022, precipitation patterns have suggested an increased chance of drier conditions in Europe and North America, with wetter conditions in northern Europe, north-east Brazil and Australia.

  • Predicted precipitation patterns for the November to March 2022/23-2026/27 average, compared to the 1991-2020 average, suggest increased precipitation in the tropics and reduced precipitation in the subtropics, consistent with the patterns expected from climate warming.

As you can see, climate change has been in full effect and predictions made by the WMO, which were once written off as cynical are proving themselves to be accurate. As we live in the wake of colonialism, its impact is evident in poorer and developing countries.

The impact of first-world expansion falls disproportionately onto poorer countries which are at the highest risk of climate-related calamities. Take Pakistan for instance, while Europe is inconvenienced by a minor drought, more than 33% of Pakistan is currently underwater.

The bottom line is that climate action needs to ramp up to prevent further loss of life and economic damage. While the effects of climate change will take longer to reach global power centres(the west), the impact is being felt most strongly by those living in the Global South. We can only hope that authorities and policymakers address this issue with the importance that it deserves.

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