Destruction is on rise- The Global Climate Report - Seeker's Thoughts

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Destruction is on rise- The Global Climate Report

Extreme weather events impacted 62 million people in 2018 worldwide and forced two million people to relocate as man-made climate change worsened.

Since 1998, about 4.5 billion people around the world have been hurt due to extreme weather events.

According to the United Nation’s Agency world meteorological organization Global Climate Report 2018 says Earth is nearly 1 degree Celsius warmer than when the industrial age started.
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The planet may see temperature increase 3-5C by the end of the century report stated.

Highlight of the report

2018 witnesses a record sea level rise and high land and ocean temperatures. 2018 was the fourth warmest year on record, and four warmest years in record all took place between 2015 and 2018. The average global temperature is now around one degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

2018 also sets a new record for ocean heat in the top 700 meters which was approximately 2,297 feet and top 2,000 meters approximately 6,562 feet.
The global mean sea level hit a new record and was around 3.7 millimeters higher than in 2017. Arctic sea ice extent registered record lows in February and January of 2018.

Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere have jumped from 357 parts per, million in 1994 to 405.5 parts per million in 2017. 
The physicals signs and socio-economic impacts of climate change are accelerating as record green house gas concentration drive global temperatures towards increasingly dangerous levels.

Around 125 million more people were exposed to heat waves between 2000 and 2016 and the average heat wave grew 0.37 days longer compared to heat waves between 1986 and 2008. 

Climate change could reverse progress made in fighting global malnutrition. In 2017, the number of people suffering from malnutrition increased to 821 million, and this was partly due to by droughts related to EI Nino.

Flooding which was the climate-related disaster that impacted the largest number of people in 2018 more than 35 million.

Climate change indicators are becoming more pronounced
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Carbon dioxide levels, which were at 357 parts per million when the WMO statement was the first published in 1994, kept on rising and stood 405.5 parts per million in 2017. For 2018 and 2019, greenhouse gas concentration is expected to increase further.

Extreme weather  events have continued to haunt the humanity since the early 2019 itself, most recently with tropical cyclone Idai, which cause devastating floods and tragic loss of life in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

The start of 2019 has already seen warm record daily winter temperatures in Europe, unusual cold in North America and searing heat waves in Australia WMO’s report stated.

Rise in extreme weather events in India raises concerns over climate change impact

In 2018 Kerala faced very heavy rainfall which brought chaos in the state and affected lakhs of people. IMD researchers have observed that the intensity of daily rainfall is indeed increasing, especially along with western coast and in the north eastern states.

Vulnerability to extreme rainfall is increasing as more people are living in low-lying areas and land development is changing drainage patterns. When there is more rain than the soil can absorb, water will quickly run-off overwhelming streams, drains and rivers, and causing flash floods.

In Uttar Pradesh, 590 people died due to extreme weather events. The state with the largest population in the country saw 158 deaths due to flood and heavy rainfall, 166 deaths due to thunderstorm, lightening (39 deaths), dust storm (92 deaths) and cold wave took 135 lives.

Severe weather events have caused catastrophic loss of life and property across the country in recent years. Torrential rainfall caused floods in Jhelum and Chenab 2014, causing nearly village in Kashmir to submerge. Chennai bore the brunt next year in November 2015, Assam in 2016. In 2017, Mumbai and Gujarat were forced to shut down because of record heavy rainfall.

According to the study, there have been 285 reported flooding events in India over 1950-2017 affecting about 850 million people, leaving 19 million homeless and killing about 71,000 people.

US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also raise concerns about the number of causalities in India because of extreme rainfall events.

India is more vulnerable

India is more vulnerable because of its wide geographical and demographic variations. More than 40 million hectares or 12% of the country’s land prone to flood and river erosion, according to the National Disaster Management Authority which says disasters seriously threaten India’s economy, its population and sustainable development, mainly because of its increasing vulnerabilities related to changing demographics and socio-economic conditions and unplanned urbanization.

Serious implications for India

Summer has arrived with a vengeance with temperature already exceeding 40 degrees Celsius in some parts of the country by the end of March. Even more increases in temperature due to climate change would lead to a dramatic rise in intense heat waves that could be many more people dying during the long Indian summer.

A way Forward

UN shown serious concern over climate change, government already understands that climate solution can strengthen economies, improve air quality and public health and protect the environment. This will involve a commitment to enhancing national pledges contained in the Paris Agreement by 2020. Every country must come with innovative ideas to reduce greenhouse gas emission by 45% over the next decade and to get to net zero emission globally by 2050.

Developing countries like India where there are weak government policies over climate change issue; India is a least aware country when it’s about climate change. Currently India is facing highest level of pollution, communicable and non communicable diseases due to pollution.

Initiatives could come from a range of areas “such as energy, sustainable agriculture, forests and oceans and resilience to climate impacts.  Moreover radical steps must be taken as the numbers and data are extremely worrisome globally.
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