Climate chaos: there's worse to come
They're calling it the first global heatwave. The world's hottest week ever recorded, coupled with soaring CO2 levels and abnormal winds over the Atlantic have unleashed heatwaves, drought and wildfires across the northern hemisphere. Europe is issuing red weather alerts, facing wildfires and water shortages, and experiencing soaring temperatures that have prompted closure of tourist sites like the Acropolis. Canada is on fire. China is setting new extreme heat records. Meanwhile, amidst the climate chaos, South Korea and India are flooding.
The World Meteorological Organisation has warned that Earth is in uncharted territory and experts predict that July will be the hottest month on Earth for over 120,000 years. The emerging El Niño in the Pacific is about to exacerbate the heat. While a typical El Niño temporarily increases average global temperatures by 0.2°C, the overall human-induced warming of 1.2°C since the Industrial Revolution means a new global temperature record will almost certainly be set before the end of next year. This puts the world at risk of surpassing the 1.5°C IPCC threshold for irreversible and climate change.
Scientists have long warned about the consequences of burning fossil fuels, and the current extreme events should be a stark reminder that their warnings are coming true. The consequences of the current record-breaking chaos will be profound and dangerous. Europe witnessed over 61,000 deaths due to extreme temperatures last summer. This year will be worse, with mediterranean nations like Greece, Spain, and Italy particularly vulnerable.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has already warned that climate change is spiraling out of control, and without urgent measures to halt and reverse fossil fuel emissions, the world will face catastrophic circumstances. But governments and the media in Australia don't seem to be listening. Australia is still planning coal and gas industry expansions. Climate protesters are getting locked up. And there's no talk of adaptation.
While we enjoy a balmy winter, it could be easy to think Australia has escaped the chaos. But it's coming. This summer and into the future. We are in for a scorcher this summer and a potential repeat of the devastating 2019 bushfires. And if this is what climate breakdown looks like in 2023, imagine what it will be like in 2033. The heart-breaking human and ecological costs of climate chaos will escalate until fossil fuels are kept in the ground and greenhouse gas emissions are turned around. #ClimateAction Now
Photo from The Australian.