Climate Scorecard is an international, nongovernmental organization that focuses on saving The Paris Agreement. For several years I have worked as the Communication Director. While much of that is in the realm of digital marketing, I also frequently write press releases that get turned into news stories. This feature from Breaking Energy is once such example.
Extreme Weather Events Plague Leading Greenhouse Gas Emitting Countries
he growing prevalence of climate change related extreme weather events in countries around the world closely matches what was is being predicted by climate scientists.
The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the World Meteorological Association, and other groups have documented global warming trends. We know for a fact that the world is getting warmer with each succeeding year; 2016 being documented as the warmest year on record.
In country after country the effects of climate-change induced extreme weather is being critically felt. Climate change is affecting country plans for economic development and growth, eroding basic infrastructure, ruining the livelihoods of millions of people, affecting health and taking peoples’ lives.
No country or region is being spared. For example, in the Americas we see severe flooding in Argentina, multi-year droughts in Northeast Brazil and in the State of California in the United States, devastating wildfires in the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta, Canada, and a Category 5 hurricane in Mexico.
Africa and the Middle East also bear witness to extreme weather events: the worst flood in 40 years in Nigeria, severe extended country-wide drought in South Africa, and rare extreme rainfall and flooding in Jeddah City in Saudi Arabia.
The effects of recent extreme weather have also been felt throughout Europe and Eurasia. Severe storms Xynthia (France) and Egon (Germany), caused widespread devastation in these countries. In Italy in 2014, an unprecedented amount of rain feel on the city of Genoa causing flooding, landslides, and millions of Euros in damage. Extreme droughts and then floods ravaged Eastern Spain. Russia’s Federal Service of Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring documented an upward spike in Russian incidents of extreme weather events over the past nine years.
The situation is the same in Asia. Australia’s Great Barrier Reef experienced unprecedented bleaching and was declared dead. China suffered through Typhoon Nepartak—a category 5 super typhoon. The 2013 Uttarakhand Flash Floods in the Himalaya Region of India resulted in the deaths of thousands of people and millions of dollars of property loss. In Indonesia in 2015, wildfires engulfed 2.6 million hectares of land and tripled the country’s carbon emissions.
Lack of preparedness and responsiveness to these extreme weather events is a major lesson to be learned from the information Climate Scorecard provides. In country after country we see governments failing to adequately invest in early warning systems, better infrastructure to mitigate damage caused by flooding and drought, and improved disaster relief services for those affected. We see NGOs who need to do more to help prepare those in the communities where they operate to cope with extreme weather. And we see the business community failing to invest in research and technologies that can help governments and their citizens withstand the effects of extreme weather.
There are some exceptions. China, for example, has recently launched a major effort to implement early warning systems in flood-prone areas and is now conducting ‘sponge’ city pilot projects in 16 major urban centers, including Beijing and Shanghai, where drainage systems will be retrofitted for improved flood control and water conservation. Russia seems to have an effective state system that forecasts weather emergencies, prepares citizens on how to respond to such events, and provides financial and material resources to help regions most affected.
Most countries do try to do something, especially in the area of emergency relief. However, as the incidence of extreme weather occurs with increased frequency, it is evident much more needs to be done to mitigate the impact of these disastrous events.
Scientific weather modeling has shown that these extreme weather events will increase as a result of greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere at ever growing levels. In addition to pressing governments to do everything possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we also need to press governments to do more to prepare in advance for extreme weather events.
Some ways that people can take action includes reaching out to government organizations, nonprofit organizations and the business community. For a complete guide, download the full report at climatescorecard.org