Climate disasters cause global economic losses to soar, UN says

admin   •   October 11, 2018   •   2772

 

Dried out crops after three years of drought linked to El Niño in San Agustin Acasaguastlan, El Progreso Department, Guatemala | REUTERS

From 1998 to 2017 direct economic losses from natural disasters totaled $2.9 trillion, of which 77 percent was due to extreme weather that is intensifying as the world warms, the U.N. Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) said on Wednesday (October 10).

That compares with overall losses of $1.3 trillion from 1978 to 1997, 68 percent of that accounted for by climate and weather hazards, including storms, floods, and droughts.

On Monday, climate scientists warned that if global average temperatures rise more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, it would lead to more suffering  especially among the world’s poorest.

Climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of extreme weather, and disasters will continue to set back sustainable development, the UNISDR report warned.

In the past two decades, 1.3 million people were killed and 4.4 billion were injured, left homeless, displaced or required emergency help.

Although rich countries shoulder the highest absolute economic losses, the report noted the disproportionate impact of disasters on low and middle-income countries with people in poorer nations seven times more likely to be killed by a disaster than in wealthier ones. — Reuters

Locusts swarm across parts of India, attacking agricultural lands

UNTV News   •   May 26, 2020

Huge swarms of locusts took over the skies of Northern and Central India on Monday (May 25) and Sunday (May 24), affecting agricultural lands.

The pests were mostly seen across large states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan.

On Sunday, actions were taken in the city of Mandsaur, in central India, to contain the swarm by spraying pesticides.

One of the deadliest pests for farms produce, locusts are known to destroy crops and vegetables, and whatever they find in their way, in search of food.

Animals also get affected by eating the same leaves as the locusts and can suffer from diarrhoea.

Locust swarms are not new in East Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. But climate scientists say erratic weather linked to climate change has created ideal conditions for the insects to surge in numbers not seen in a quarter of a century.

If allowed to breed unchecked in favourable conditions, locusts can form huge swarms that can strip trees and crops over vast areas. (Reuters)

(Production: ANI, Hanna Rantala, Gabriela Boccaccio)

Australia to cull thousands of wild camels as they search for water

UNTV News   •   January 8, 2020

Sydney — Australian authorities began culling at least 10,000 wild camels Wednesday whose overwhelming population has endangered communities in the desert region as they try to access water amid one of the worst droughts in the country’s history.

Aboriginal areas of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) reserve, “have been unable to manage the scale and number of camels that congregate in dry conditions,” according to a statement from the Department for Environment and Water of South Australia.

An APY executive committee statement said professional snipers teams would shoot the animals in an operation set to last at least five days.

Some 10,000 wild camels approach water sources used by the area’s aboriginal population and damage their infrastructure, endangering families and communities, as well as competing with cattle.

Many of these camels die of thirst or trample each other to access water, according to the statement from the South Australia environmental department.

“The dead animals have contaminated important water sources and cultural sites (which are important for the aboriginal community, as their spirituality is deeply linked to their sacred places),” it added.

APY Lands Manager Richard King told national broadcaster ABC that they would try to kill the camels when they approach water sources.

“It gives us an opportunity to get them while they’re all together, because generally they’ll go and move around the desert in smaller herds. So while they’re all together, it’s a great time to have a cull and clean out some of the animals that are destroying some of our native vegetation,” King said.

According to tracking portal CamelScan, there are about 1.2 million wild camels in Australia, and their population doubles every nine years. According to the portal, these animals live in a area spanning 3.3 million square kilometers and cause more than AU$10 million ($6.8 million) in yearly damages.

It is not the first time Australia kills animals such as camels and horses that aren’t endemic to the country and are often a threat to the ecosystem and native species, generally composed of smaller populations that include few carnivorous animals. EFE-EPA

wat/sk/lds

UN warns of 3.2C temperature rise despite Paris Agreement

Robie de Guzman   •   November 26, 2019

Geneva – The average global temperature will rise 3.2C by the end of the century even if countries fulfill their commitments to the Paris Agreement on climate change, which sought to limit the increase to under 1.5C above preindustrial levels, according to the United Nations on Tuesday.

“The summary of the findings are bleak,” the UN Environment Programme said in the introduction to its annual Emission Gap Report, which analyses current climate change policies and how they diverge from the kind of measures that need to be adopted to curb global warming.

According to the report, there must be a collective effort to reduce emissions by 7.6 percent a year between 2020 and 2030 to keep global temperatures under 1.5C above preindustrial levels, a fivefold increase in the efforts initially set out by the Paris Agreement.

UNEP’s Executive Director, Inger Anderson, said: “Our collective failure to act early and hard on climate change means we now must deliver deep cuts to emissions – over 7 percent each year, if we break it down evenly over the next decade.”

“We need quick wins to reduce emissions as much as possible in 2020, then stronger Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to kick-start the major transformations of economies and societies. We need to catch up on the years in which we procrastinated.”

According to the report, if current unconditional Nationally Determined Contributions are fully implemented, there was still only a 66 percent chance that warming would be limited to 3.2C by the end of the century.

It concluded that emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases increased 1.5 percent annually in the last decade and reached historical levels of 55.3 gigatons of CO2 equivalent in 2018.

China was responsible for 13 of those gigatons but the Asian giant, the world’s second-largest economy, is not yet obliged to reduce its emissions in absolute terms as per the Paris Agreement due to its status as a developing country.

Second in regards to emissions was the United States with six gigatons. President Donald Trump withdrew the country from the Paris Agreement in 2017.

Emissions must be curbed by 15 gigatons by 2030 to achieve the 2C goal or 32 gigatons to hit the 1.5C target, the report said.

UNEP said that if current trends continued, then global temperatures could rise by 3.9C, although pledges to reduce emissions, such as the European Union’s target to curb them by 40 percent by 2030, could limit it to 3.2C, which is still insufficient.

The UN’s Secretary-General, António Guterres, said: “There has never been a more important time to listen to the science. Failure to heed these warnings and take drastic action to reverse emissions means we will continue to witness deadly and catastrophic heatwaves, storms and pollution.”

Recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change special reports said there would be dire consequences of inaction if the global temperature rises are not held below the 1.5C target.

The UNEP report on the emissions gap will be used as a template for discussions at the upcoming COP25 meeting in Madrid, conducted under the presidency this year of Chile. EFE-EPA

abc/jt/ch

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