Sunday, October 31, 2021

The New Normal

 The World Meteorological Organisation in its 'The State of the Climate report for 2021' highlights a world that is "changing before our eyes" where extreme weather events - including powerful heat waves and devastating floods - are now the new normal.

The study finds that the past seven years including this one are likely to be the warmest on record as greenhouse gases reached record concentrations in the atmosphere. The accompanying rise in temperatures is propelling the planet into "uncharted territory" says the report, with increasing impacts across the planet.

WMO's Prof Taalas detailed some of the extreme events that have been experienced around the world this year.

  • It rained - rather than snowed - for the first time on record at the peak of the Greenland ice sheet
  • A heat wave in Canada and adjacent parts of the USA pushed temperatures to nearly 50C in a village in British Columbia
  • Death Valley, California reached 54.4C during one of multiple heat waves in the south-western USA
  • Months' worth of rainfall fell in the space of hours in an area of China
  • Parts of Europe saw severe flooding, leading to dozens of casualties and billions in economic losses
  • A second successive year of drought in sub-tropical South America reduced the flow of river basins and hit agriculture, transport and energy production

Another worrying development, according to the WMO study, has been the rise in global sea levels.

"Sea levels are rising faster now than at any other time in the last two millennia," said Prof Jonathan Bomber, Director of the Bristol Glaciology Centre. "If we continue on our current trajectory, that rise could exceed 2 metres by 2100 displacing some 630 million people worldwide. The consequences of that are unimaginable."

 UN Secretary-General António Guterres, said, "From the ocean depths to mountain tops, from melting glaciers to relentless extreme weather events, ecosystems and communities around the globe are being devastated. COP26 must be a turning point for people and planet."

Climate change: Extreme weather events are 'the new norm' - BBC News

If the world's people are at a crossroads, which route will they take? The World Socialist Movement suggests there is only one wise choice to make - to build a world cooperative commonwealth of common ownership. 

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