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Countries are again discussing the climate as extreme heat grips the planet

About 200 countries are flocking to Egypt for the COP27 climate summit. They arrive a year after the planet warned it was overheating at an accelerating rate. Historic heat waves, record temperatures, wildfires and droughts remind governments that their improved plans to contain climate change are not enough.

Spain experienced six months of extraordinary heat, culminating in the warmest October ever recorded. But this was only a close-up of the course on which the Global North, and especially Europe, was stifling. This left 2022 the second hottest summer in the entire hemisphere, but number one in Europe. Recently, it became known that the continent is warming twice as much as the planetary average.

Clearly, the impact of climate change is not limited to the Southern Hemisphere. In fact, the maximum measured temperature was reached in the south of the planet (in Australia) and in one month – in January – two heat waves in South America were classified as “historic”.

The collapse of the Marmolada glacier (Italy) on July 3 was a high-impact resonance: the extreme effects of warming in the heart of the Alps. Later, the recent Hurricane Ian that devastated the US coast received 10% more rain due to weather changes.

A year ago, at COP26 in Glasgow, the same countries heading to Sharm El Sheikh today signed a pact that emphasized improving ambition to mitigate climate change. Mitigation roughly means reducing CO2 emissions. Those emissions ultimately trap heat that increases global temperatures.

This year, already in June, record heat waves coincided with each other. China, Japan, India and then half of Europe, the USA or Canada are experiencing extended periods of extreme temperatures. “The waves in many regions are linked to human-induced warming,” analyzed Washington State University researcher Deepti Singh.

Of course, none of the countries that will hold talks at COP27 these days are spared. “No one is safe,” warned the UN’s International Panel of Experts (IPCC). Extreme weather events are “unprecedented”.

The conclusions of these scientists were reflected in the daily life of the population: this year, approximately 4,700 people died in Spain and more than 53,000 in Europe due to excessive heat.

If more than 200 people died in floods in Central Europe in 2021, a month ago in Pakistan, a thousand people died in the flooding of an area larger than in Great Britain. “This is the climate disaster of the decade,” the country’s government described it.

High temperatures “exacerbated by climate change have increased the probability of droughts in the Northern Hemisphere by twenty-fold in 2022,” concluded scientists at the Center for Weather Attribution. France, Germany and Spain – except for China – saw a serious lack of rain.

However, despite the ratification of the pact 12 months ago, which recognized that “accelerated action is needed this decade” and “a 45% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030”, the strengthened commitments that some states have submitted – not all – to the United Nations According to the organization’s environmental protection program, it emits barely 1% of CO2 compared to previous versions. “No credible path has been established to achieve the 1.5ºC maximum warming target.”

The International Energy Agency predicts that emissions will increase by 1% in 2022 compared to 2021 – a historic record – and that they will only start to decline in 2025. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has calculated that emissions to obtain energy. will continue to grow until 2030.

At Ecologists in Action, responsible for climate change, Javier Andaluz dislikes that “countries have not responded to the Glasgow call for significant improvements”. The summit’s president, Britain’s Alok Sharma, reiterated that his goal was to “hold to 1.5ºC”.

But “the liabilities did not increase. We hope that this summit will reflect that they are condemning warming well above 2.5ºC,” Andaluz adds.

And warming is strongly felt. “A heat wave in August combined with prolonged dry conditions led to an increase in the activity and intensity of forest fires in Europe,” reports the European Union’s Copernicus satellite observation system. Fires in the EU and UK have burned 750,000 hectares through September, nearly three times the decade average. There were 508,000 in the summer alone, with fires releasing 6.4 megatonnes of CO2, the highest since 2007.

“Most fires have occurred in areas where a changed climate has increased the flammability of vegetation, such as in southeastern Europe,” they reflect in Copernicus. In 2022, Spain was punished the most.

Meanwhile, the Amazon experienced its worst fire season in a decade in August and September.

Greenpeace’s head of climate change, Pedro Zorilla, agrees that “it will certainly be necessary to move forward with the ambition to increase commitments to reduce emissions and stop all funding for new fossil infrastructure from now, because with the existing ones we will already exceed emissions to limit warming to 1.5ºC with”.

Shockingly though, the first time the draft climate summit agreement called for an end to government subsidies for fossil fuels was in 2021. It was not implemented as such and was highly nuanced by India’s last minute plan.

“The key point will be to connect all the climate plan discussion mechanisms to the scientific reality that it is necessary to halve emissions by 2030,” adds Javier Andaluz. “This COP is somewhat more temporary, as no new documents are expected to be closed,” the environmentalist concludes.

The Egypt summit will focus on money. In funds, so that impoverished countries – which are the least responsible for climate change (they emit relatively little CO2), but the main victims – can give up fossil fuels without impoverishment and adapt to the shocks of the climate crisis. “Save yourself from climate carnage,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called last Thursday.

who pays The Paris Agreement provides that the financing will be provided by the states that have become rich from the use of coal, oil and gas and at the cost of generating climate change: Great Britain, the United States, the European Union, the producers of crude oil. .

“Great acceleration is needed,” the UN demands. It cost developed countries at least $17 billion to meet their commitment to contribute $100 billion a year to the fund from 2020.

“The main goal is climate justice,” emphasizes Zorilla, Greenpeace. “This is a summit marked by the need for funding for the countries of the Global South and funds that compensate for the damage and loss that the crisis has already caused them,” agrees Andaluz. “countries [ricos] They need to see how they deliver on Glasgow’s promise to double funding.”

Source: El Diario





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