Last week’s torrential downpour and flooding was a clear indication that we are now suffering our own extreme weather events. Whether the next one will be a heatwave that poses a real threat to the elderly, or another flood, is anyone’s guess, but the climate crisis, with all its life-threatening catastrophes, is clearly underway.
July 2021 alone witnessed soaring temperatures in the US, under a new ‘heat dome’, with further vast fires pouring still more CO2 into the atmosphere; floods costing 200 lives in Germany and Belgium; and further massive floods and loss of life in China. Globally the costs of climate related disasters in 2020 is estimated at $210 billion. We all pay for that.
Politicians around the world have been making fine promises and setting ‘ambitious targets’ for 25 years since the first UN Conference of the Parties in 1995. Glasgow will host the 26th Conference (COP 26) this November. In all that time, greenhouse gas emissions have risen form 36 gigatonnes 1996 to 55.3 gigatonnes in 2018 and extreme weather events have multiplied from 200 in 1980 to 950 in 2020. We have all seen the heat and rainfall records tumble. Our planet has been giving us fair warning!
It is time for our politicians to take the lead, as hosts in Glasgow, in brave decision making: to introduce a ‘corporate polluter pays’ principle; to set game changing rates for carbon trading; to remove all subsidies of fossil fuels, and to introduce a carbon tax on all imported goods. The dividends can be used to support us all to make the changes we need to turn Earth into a less hostile planet.
The alternative doesn’t bear thinking about.
Climate Reality Leader