The global heat waves should be a warning for the future!

Jul 19, 2022, 10:49 AM

In Yosemite National Park’s famed Mariposa Grove, giant sequoias have grown for millennia.

As some of the largest and oldest living things in the world, their preservation - which was first given legal protection under Abraham Lincoln - predates the National Park Service. This month, they were threatened by a nearby wildfire that was exacerbated by dry, hot conditions.

That is just one of many dramatic weather events taking place around the country and world. In Texas, record-breaking temperatures forced the state’s power grid operator to warn residents to cut back on energy use or face the risk of blackouts. Around 35 million Americans were placed under heat advisories or excessive heat warnings.

Western Europe is also experiencing extreme heat waves — Spain is experiencing its second in less than a month, while the United Kingdom issued its first-ever “extreme heat” warning. Italy has faced prolonged heat and drought, and a glacier collapse officials attributed to climate change resulted in the deaths of 11 people earlier this month. In China, at least 86 cities released heat alerts; in the city of Nanjing, officials opened air-raid shelters for locals to escape the heat.

These cases should not be viewed in isolation. While links between individual weather events and global warming cannot be determined immediately, studies have found that concurrent heat waves affecting parts of North America, Europe and Asia have become more intense and frequent over the past few decades. An analysis by World Weather Attribution, a group of scientists who analyze whether extreme events are connected to climate change, found that last year’s devastating heat wave in the Pacific Northwest was “virtually impossible without human-caused climate change.”

Such patterns have disastrous, far-reaching effects. Heat waves pose a particular threat to global food supplies, already under pressure from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. They are linked with a range of health problems and correlate with higher rates of crime, anxiety and depression. A 2021 analysis from the Atlantic Council estimated that the drop in worker productivity due to extreme heat costs the U.S. economy $100 billion annually — a figure that could double by 2030.

As President Biden and congressional Democrats struggle to find enough support for their climate agenda, the ongoing heat waves offer a small window into what the future could look like if global warming continues unabated. Even if we keep the global temperature rise under 1.5 degrees Celsius — the threshold scientists believe should not be exceeded — the number of extreme weather events a person will experience would nearly quadruple, according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. A greater rise in temperature would be even more calamitous, with unthinkable consequences for global hunger, disease, migration, productivity and standards of living.

Slashing greenhouse gas emissions and transitioning to a greener economy at the scale and pace needed would require creativity, innovation and political courage. But the cost if we fail is far more daunting: a future in which climate disasters, and all the damage and instability that come with them, become the new normal everywhere.

Guest Editorial

Read Other Articles In Editorial
Good Morning Mr. President: “A word for a wise is quite sufficient” 
Jan 4, 2021, 11:39 AM

Mr. President – Mr. Bus Driver. The year 2020 was a turbulent and challenging one straddled with the advent of the Covid-19 Pandemic which greatly impacted the economy, with the icing on the cake as governance and constitutional crisis that derailed The Gambia’s reform agenda.

Africa Warming More, Faster Than Other World Regions!
Oct 26, 2021, 11:43 AM

Authors of a new report on Africa’s climate warn the continent is heating up more and faster than other regions in the world, and they said Africa needs immediate financial and technological assistance to adapt to the warming environment.

GOOD MORNING:  PRESIDENT On Jammeh & victims, NPP-APRC alliance
Oct 11, 2021, 11:39 AM

Mr President, victims need great attention as majority of them cannot pay rents, medical bills, education fees and are even striving hard to get their daily meals thanks to the brutality inflicted by ex-president Yahya Jammeh who allegedly ordered the killings of 240 people.

Covid-19 and transport: walk to the future!
Apr 24, 2020, 12:15 PM

It is clear that the ways we travel, and use transport, will not be the same after the coronavirus outbreak as they were before.