Climate change
Image Credit: Ador Bustamante/Gulf News

In a little under two months’ time, leaders from around the world will gather in Glasgow, Scotland for Cop26 and meet with climate change experts in an effort to try and stem global heating. Environmentalists and climate crusades consider the gathering at the Scottish Events Centre to be the final opportunity to make a difference if we are to try and prevent this planet from getting hotter by 1.5 degree Celsius.

Even then, experts say permanent and irreversible damage has already been done. They will not doubt it. The analysis published earlier this week reported that the number of extremely hot days — when the temperature reached 50C — has doubled since the 1980s. We live on a planet that is warmer than ever before, is getting hotter with each passing season — and we are to blame.

The analysis of our climate patterns over the past four decades also shows that we humans are facing unprecedented challenges caused by climate change — and our health is suffering because of higher temperatures.

More serious threats

On average, between 1980 and 2009, the mercury passed the 50C mark about 14 days a year. By 2019, it was above 50C for 26 days a year on average. What’s more, each passing month is generally hotter than the one before. That means we are facing more serious threats more often as a result of our changing climate. On average, temperatures rose above 45C for two weeks more than they did a decade before.

The effects of this heating trend mean that vast tracts of land are drier for longer — providing more fuel for larger forest fires, making them more difficult to fight and costing emergency services more.

Root systems are unable to absorb quantities of rain, meaning our terrain is more prone to flooding. Because high-altitude wind patterns are changing, weather fronts can linger, allowing more rain to fall more quickly — bringing more devastating floods.

In regions that are normally prone to hurricanes or cyclones, our oceans are now warming, meaning more moisture is released into the atmosphere, making those hurricanes and cyclones more powerful and more destructive. The gradual heating of our planet is also making winter weather events more severe, with more snow being dropped in less time.

The rate of warming of our planet is worsening with each passing year. Now, with mere weeks left until Cop26 takes place, all of the evidence is screaming for urgent climate action now. It cannot fall on deaf ears.