PageTitle - GulfToday

Tackling global warming should be world priority

While millions of Americans braved Arctic-like temperatures last week as low as minus 49°Celsius that paralysed the US Midwest and claimed several lives, Australia recorded its hottest month ever in January, with average temperatures exceeding 86°F for the first time. The paradox is too glaring to be ignored.

Climate change has become the most important issue and the biggest challenge to humanity. It is increasingly recognised as a threat multiplier and the international community needs to find tangible ways to diminish the effects of global warming.
The climate issue assumes huge significance especially at a time when a UN report has revealed that extreme weather hit 60 million people in 2018 and no part of the world had been spared.

As per the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, quoting a study by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, earthquakes and tsunamis claimed more lives than any other type of hazard, with over 10,000 lives lost in the last year; whilst floods, droughts, storms and wildfires affected more than 57 million.

2018 was a record-breaking year when it came to wildfires, with the US experiencing its deadliest outbreak in over a century and Greece suffering a record number of casualties from wildfires, with 126 losing their lives.

Fortunately, awareness seems to be on the rise about the subject. A typical example has come from Belgium where thousands of young people rallied to demand action on climate change as part of a wave of demonstrations led by high school students aimed at intensifying pressure on governments.
They are part of a wider network of student-led protest groups that have seen thousands of young people around the world ditch school to demand action against climate change in recent months.

Devastating forest fires, droughts, floods, and hurricanes are now the norm rather than the exception across the globe. Such climatic catastrophes make it very clear for world nations that they have no choice but to intensify their efforts to cut down carbon emissions and expedite climate adaptation measures.
The agony of Maldives is a glaring example. The low-lying Maldives is among countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change such as rising sea levels and coral reef deterioration.

Time is definitely running out to limit global warming to 1.5˚C or even 2˚C. World leaders should realise that climate change adaptation needs to be a high priority.