The Earth has been warning us about climate change for years. In recent months we have witnessed extreme weather events such as Philomena, the recent extreme heat waves in parts of North America or the floods in Central Europe and China. But all parts of the world are affected to a greater or lesser extent by climate change.
Floods in Europe have claimed the lives of more than 200 people, while in China the death toll has risen to 33. Many scientists point to the direct relationship between the temperature of the atmosphere and the evaporation process that causes rainfall. The warmer the atmosphere gets, the more water evaporates and ends up as rain. This phenomenon has devastating consequences in the places that suffer from it; in China, for example, they have warned of the imminent risk of dam bursts. In the European countries affected, modernisation of their infrastructures must be carried out, as many are vulnerable to these extreme weather events.
In addition, according to a study by NASA and the University of Hawaii, flooding in coastal locations will increase in the 2030s. This is due, according to the study, to a change in the moon's orbit that will drive sea level rise. "The combination of the moon's gravitational pull, sea level rise and climate change will continue to exacerbate coastal flooding," warns study author Bill Nelson.
At the other extreme are places hit by severe droughts, such as parts of Africa or the Middle East. In Iran, for example, thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest water shortages, a problem that also affects neighbouring Iraq. In Africa, on the other hand, secure access to water could curb migration and violence in some regions.
Extreme heat, in addition to accentuating droughts and water problems, causes fires that destroy ecosystems and give off toxic fumes. It also puts the lives of thousands of people at risk. North America, more specifically parts of western Canada and the United States, was hit by an extreme heat wave a few weeks ago. The Canadian town of Lytton reached 49.6 degrees Celsius, an unprecedented event in an area where summers are usually mild and cool. Researchers from the climate organisation World Weather Attibution said that without climate change such a heatwave would have been "virtually impossible".
In addition to causing more than 400 deaths in Canada and 80 in the United States, the extreme temperatures caused numerous fires. Western Canada again declared a fire emergency, but this time because of the fire. "We have reached a critical point," warned the authorities in British Columbia. Thousands of people have already been evacuated while the 300 active fires have already devastated 270,000 hectares of the region.
In the United States, where summer fires are most common, especially in the state of California, fire has already generated its own weather. In Oregon, fires cause hurricane-force winds, fire clouds and lightning, making them difficult to extinguish.
The UK is bracing for a similar scenario, as authorities have issued the first heat warning in history. The British Met Office has warned that temperatures could reach 33 degrees Celsius, unusually hot for the country. The alert has also been passed on to the public health service. In the last heatwave in 2020, more than 2,250 deaths were recorded as a result of the temperatures
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change met last June and produced worrying data on global warming. The UN organisation warned that tens of millions of people will suffer from climate-induced famine, drought and disease in the coming decades. Lung and heart disease "will increase dramatically" due to air pollution. The Panel also points to the "risk of contamination of water and food by toxic marine debris", which could increase digestive diseases.
Scientists and experts have repeatedly urged governments to devise measures to combat global warming. They also stress that it is a problem that affects everyone equally. "No country, rich or poor, is immune to these phenomena. We need to invest more in adapting to climate change," says the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).
Nevertheless, some countries have made a commitment to the environment and have begun to develop projects to protect it. China has announced the launch of its "carbon market", which will help reduce emissions, a key aspect in the fight against climate change. The Chinese market will force thousands of Chinese companies to reduce their polluting emissions or face financial losses.
Saudi Arabia has created the 'Green Middle East' and 'Green Saudi Arabia' initiatives, which include planting 50 billion trees in Saudi Arabia and the region.
In the US, the climate crisis will be high on the agenda of Joe Biden's administration. Unlike his predecessor, Donald Trump, who abandoned the Paris Climate Agreement, Biden will pursue tough policies to combat global warming.