The climate crisis is here, evidenced by dramatic new weather patterns. About 85 percent of the world’s population is already experiencing the dangerous effects of climate change, and record-breaking monsoon rains have wreaked havoc in Pakistan, reaching rainfall levels three times more than the average. This week, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres linked the increased flooding to human-induced climate change, urging governments to improve sustainability efforts.
“We are heading into a disaster,” Guterres said. “We have waged war on nature and nature is tracking back and striking back in a devastating way. Today in Pakistan, tomorrow in any of your countries. Pakistan has not contributed in a meaningful way to climate change, [and] the level of emissions in this country is relatively low. But Pakistan is one of the most dramatically impacted countries by climate change.”
Since June, Pakistan has faced massive floods due to the severe heavy rains, causing burst river banks and life-threatening floods. Current estimates show that above 1,500 people have perished due to the extreme, unprecedented weather events. The United Nations children emergency fund, UNICEF, predicts that 3.4 million children are in need of urgent support. Now, scientists are speaking out to emphasize how the climate crisis increases these risks worldwide.
“Our evidence suggests that climate change played an important role in the event, although our analysis doesn’t allow us to quantify how big the role was,” Friederike Otto of Imperial College London said to the BBC.
Severe Weather Events Connected to Climate Change
This summer, over 30 million Americans experienced high-heat warnings as blistering temperatures cooked the United States. And this phenomenon occurred worldwide. Record-breaking heat waves spread across Europe, including the hottest day in recorded British history. In July, new research revealed that similar extreme heat wave events will increase by 30 percent in the coming years.
Last year, extreme weather events cost the United States government $145 billion in damages and many hundreds of lives lost, according to the US National Centres for Environmental Information (NCEI). Heat waves, heavy rains, hurricanes, and other deadly weather events continue to worsen everywhere as the planet reaches irreversible carbon levels in the atmosphere.
However, the United Nations’ third IPCC report reveals that there’s still time to curb the effects of climate change. The report emphasized that governments and individuals will need to use less carbon energy, help remove CO2 from the atmosphere (reforestation), and eat plant-based.
Animal Agriculture Fueling Climate Crisis
The UN researchers claimed that the world must slash methane emissions by 33 percent by 2030, placing the responsibility on the meat and dairy industries. Nearly 40 percent of global methane emissions can be attributed to cattle production. Methane warms the planet 80 times more than carbon dioxide in its first 20 years in the atmosphere. Unless governments place restrictions on beef and dairy production, the animal agriculture industry will accelerate the negative effects of climate change.
Adopting a plant-based diet can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 61 percent, according to one study. This year, the United Nations intends to highlight how plant-based and sustainable food systems will be essential in the fight against climate change. With the help of ProVeg International, the UN will host a food-centric climate event at this year’s COP27 climate change conference. The Food4Climate Pavilion will help educate guests on how to protect the planet beginning with food production reform.
For more planetary happenings, visit The Beet’s Environmental News.
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