Saturday, December 4

Floods, fires and extreme weather: climate chaos was this

“We are going to a stage where extreme weather events will be more frequent and more intense “, resume Francisco Doblas-Reyes, expert in climate predictions and director of the Department of Earth Sciences at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC-CNS). “We cannot say with complete certainty that the floods in Germany, for example, are the direct result of climate change. But we can say that in a context of climate change it will be more common that there are extreme phenomena of this type “, comments the scientist.

“We are moving towards a scenario where extreme weather events will be more frequent and more intense”

Francisco Doblas-Reyes, expert in climate predictions


In a world immersed in an unprecedented climate and ecological crisis, it is not only worrying that a storm will become more fierce than usual, as in Germany or China. Too It worries that climatic extremes will suddenly arrive where they are not expected. Extreme heat in Canada, for example, was unthinkable in that area. In fact, according to a recent analysis of the World Weather Attribution (WWA), this heat wave would have been “almost impossible” in a world without a climate crisis. “Some of the forecasts that we thought would reach the end of the century are coming now. We are no longer talking about these scenarios in terms of the future. They are problems that are already affecting our present“, says Doblas-Reyes.

“The vital signs of the Earth are getting worse”

20 months ago, more than 11,000 scientists released a manifesto declaring a climate emergency. A year and a half later, the scientific community has come together again to warn, once again, of the state of the planet. “Earth’s vital signs are getting worse“, sentence more than 14,000 signatories from 158 countries in an article published this week in the journal ‘BioScience’. Experts confirm that we are experiencing a boom in extreme weather events. act “immediately” Y apply “drastic solutions” to stop the advance of this ecological crisis.

The scientific community denounces that Earth’s “vital signs” get worse year after year. In 2020, for example, they battled records so much heat and atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases. That same year, the deforestation of the Amazon Brazil reached its historical maximum with more than one million hectares felled in just one year, the thaw of Greenland and the Arctic set record lows in summer and levels of ocean acidification they reached unprecedented numbers. This 2021 has also started with the highest carbon dioxide levels ever recorded. Temperatures are reaching such extremes that even meteorologists warn that they are running out of colors to illustrate temperature rise on maps. At this time, it is especially worrying that the ‘exit’ from the pandemic will become a new escape valve that causes a rebound in all these indicators.

“The extreme weather events we have witnessed in recent years highlight the urgency with which we must address the climate crisis“, he points out Philip Duffy, one of the promoters of the manifesto and executive director of the Woodwell Climate Research Center. “Without a plan for rapid decarbonization and large-scale investments in natural climate solutions, these climate change indicators will continue to worsen and pushing our essential ecosystems beyond recovery point“, says the expert.

The impact of the climate crisis is already leaving a devastating balance. As estimated by the Global Climate Risk Index of the environmental NGO Germanwatch, in the last 20 years the world has lived at least 11,000 extreme weather events. Between 2000 and 2019, these events triggered by the climate crisis have killed at least 475,000 people and caused $ 2.56 trillion worth of damage. The countries most affected by the climate crisis in the last two decades have been Puerto Rico, Myanmar and Haiti. In Spain, according to this report, extreme events such as the storm Gloria, the storm Filomena or extreme heat waves already cause around 700 deaths a year and losses of up to 900 million euros.

Time to change everything

“Climate change is not something that catches us by surprise. Exactly what the climate models proposed between the eighties and the nineties are happening is happening,” he says. Andreu Escrivà, Environmentalologist and Doctor of Biodiversity in an interview with this newspaper. “We need to accept the reality and urgency of this crisis now. Extreme meteorological events show us what kind of future awaits us if we continue down this path “, reflects the scientific communicator.

“We need to accept the reality and urgency of this crisis now. Extreme events show us what kind of future awaits us if we continue down this path”

Andreu Escrivà, Environmentalologist and Doctor of Biodiversity


The environmentalologist, author of ‘And now what do I do: how to avoid climate guilt and take action‘(Captain Swing, 2020), claim to convert these “alarm signals“in” concrete actions “.”We need a collective response, a systemic change. And this begins with the understanding that the system is made up of all of us, “says Escrivà. The formula to stop the climate crisis, he argues, implies structural changes both in our day to day and in politics, the economy and in the value systems that govern society.

Some argue that the battle against the climate crisis begins with ‘little gestures’ like recycling or drinking tap water. But there are also those who point out that these details are of little use if the major pollutants continue to act as they have been up to now. “We cannot just stay on individual solutions because that means encourage individual guilt and not attack the root of the problem. But neither can we stay with the idea that responsibility is only in the hands of large governments and corporations because that continues justifying doing nothing, inaction “, reflects Escrivà.

The fight against the climate crisis begins with the vote, with demanding that politicians apply forceful policies to stop this crisis. Individual action always adds up, but what transforms is collective action“, says the environmentalologist. The climate crisis, then, demands reaching the greatest agreement in the history of humanity in the shortest possible time. And it asks to do so now.

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