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Extr8k8 free to 88eme weather hits the world in full force

菏泽市民讲述遭遇龙卷风:看见铁皮、树枝在天上飞,吓得想哭 | 8k8 free to 88 | Updated: 2024-07-15 19:06:06

People take a dip in the Euphrates River to cool down on Friday amid a heat wave in Najaf, Iraq. Several provinces in Iraq have been reeling under temperatures of 50 C. ALAA AL-MARJANI/REUTERS

When Hellen Yao moved to Athens three years ago, she expected a pleasant Mediterranean climate in the Greek capital. However, ever-intensifying extreme weather conditions across Europe dashed all her hopes.

"Last summer, many parts of Greece experienced wildfires as heat waves swept across Europe. The wildfires burned for days on the island of Rhodes, a famous tourist attraction, and many restaurants and houses burned down," she said.

Greece experienced the first heat wave of the year in early June, with the high temperatures proving fatal for some tourists. To cope with the extreme heat, the government implemented localized lockdown measures, closing schools, allowing civil servants to work from home and suspending delivery services. Wildfire prevention and response efforts were also initiated early, Yao said.

As summer arrives in the Northern Hemisphere, the specter of extreme weather looms. The intensity of extreme weather is on the rise, and heat waves, floods and droughts are becoming frequent, said Ma Jun, director of the Beijing-based Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, an environmental research organization.

"Last year was the hottest year on record, and the extreme high temperature trend will continue in the future. The fundamental reason for this is climate change and global warming," Ma said.

Many countries in the Northern Hemisphere have recently experienced historically rare high temperatures. India faced its hottest summer in 120 years, with temperatures in the capital, New Delhi, reaching a record 53 C. Average temperatures in some parts of Europe have been 10 degrees higher than usual, leading many cities to close tourist attractions and schools. In the United States, more than 115 million people across the country are under extreme heat alerts.

Research results released recently by economists Adrien Bilal, from Harvard University, and Diego Kanzig, from Northwestern University in the US indicate that a one-degree rise in global temperature could result in a 12 percent reduction in the world's gross domestic product.

According to the European Environment Agency, in the past four decades, extreme weather has been responsible for economic losses to the tune of half a trillion euros ($533.89 billion) and 85,000 to 145,000 human fatalities.

Climate-related shocks were the main drivers in 18 countries, where almost 72 million people faced high levels of food insecurity. This is an increase from 12 countries with 56.8 million acutely food-insecure people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance in 2022, according to the Global Report on Food Crises 2024 issued by the World Food Programme.

Twelve of these countries are in Africa, with 47.8 million people requiring urgent help, and five in Latin America and the Caribbean, with 12.2 million. In Pakistan, 11.8 million people faced high levels of acute food insecurity primarily due to weather extremes, the report said.

Monika Tothova, an economist at the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, said that extreme weather events and shifting weather patterns are impacting and will continue to impact the global economy.

Extreme weather events primarily affect those dependent on agriculture. Larger farms may have greater resilience and the ability to diversify, whereas smallholder farmers dependent on a single crop may lack the capacity to withstand such impacts.

"Thus, what remains important is to keep trade open — trade allows moving goods from surplus to deficit areas," she said.

However, she also pointed out that weather events can disrupt shipping. For instance, in 2023 and part of 2024, severe drought led to reduced water levels in the Panama Canal, which relies on freshwater to operate its locks, thereby limiting the number of vessels that could pass through.

Ma from the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs said that currently, the world has developed far more technologies and capabilities to address climate change than before. However, various factors such as geopolitical influences and local trade protectionism hinder the global effort to expand renewable energy and tackle climate change.

He urged countries to act based on the common interests of humanity and to take joint actions to decarbonize for the 1.5-degree target set by the Paris Agreement and address the threat of climate change.

Agencies contributed to this story.

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