Climate change horror stories from around the world


While it is undeniable that we are ramping up our actions against climate change, it is hard to deny that global warming is getting scarier every week. Here is a quick selection of horror stories I have collected this summer.

  • The gigantic fires in British Columbia I was mentioning in a previous post are just one among many around the world. Popular Science reports that fires in Europe have been three times worse than the usual, making the episode being called Lucifer. Over 60 people died in Portugal… In similar news, despite being mostly covered by ice all year long, Greenland is litterally on fire.  While it has occured before, scientists are amazed at the extent of the phenomenon this year.

 

  • On the other side of the planet, in Antartica, the fourth largest iceberg has split off last month from the Larsen C ice shelf.  It weights a trillion tonne and is twice the size of Luxembourg (or the size of Delaware). In the same region, the largest volcanic region on Earth  -with almost a hundred of volcanoes – was very recently uncovered. It is worth noting that if all ice melt in Antarctica, sea level would rise by 60 meters (around 200 feet).

 

  • Speaking of positive feedback loops, here is another one: Siberia’s permafrost is melting, releasing massive amounts of methane. This could increase the speed of climate change even more as this greenhouse gas is 24 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

 

  • Last year I blogged about a study mentioning the possiblity for the entire Middle East region – half a billion people – to become unhabitable because of climate change. This summer, another study was published by the MIT stating that South East Asia –  Pakistan, India and Bangladesh – could become unhabitable for humans as well. If you think a few million refugees are a problem, wait until we have dozens if not hundred of million of them.

 

  • July was the hottest month ever recorded but if you think that the current temperatures can’t possible be topped, beware. Another study by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) – the European Commission’s science and knowledge service – points that temperatures could frequently reach 55 C, even in Europe if nothing drastic was done. This could mean that by the year 2100, three out of four people on Earth could be subject to at least 20 days per year of heat and humidity associated with deadly heat waves.

 

A systemic problem requires a systemic change.  The world has a five percent chance of limiting climate change to 2 C by the end of the century, thus staying in line with what agreed during the Paris Agreement. Just switching from coal and natural gas to renewables by 2040 or 2050 won’t be enough anymore.

Systemic solution such as ending fossil fuels subsidies, taxing carbon and  investing massively in sustainable infrastructures is required. Is Mankind ready to change this drastically and do it fast ? Time is running out…

 

Image credits: European Space Agency, Lake Chad, 2007.
Its surface area was 25 000 sq km in the early 1960s, compared with 1350 sq km in 2001″

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