Ex­treme weather high­lights threat Heat waves, drought and flood­ing call for con­certed ef­forts on Paris ac­cord

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

BEI­JING — A se­ries of re­cent ex­treme weather con­di­tions world­wide, in­clud­ing the long-last­ing heat waves across the North­ern Hemi­sphere, have served as a dread­ful warn­ing on cli­mate change and in­ten­si­fied the ur­gency to tackle the global prob­lem.

Since the start of this sum­mer, a num­ber of coun­tries and re­gions have suf­fered from scorch­ing tem­per­a­tures, drought, heavy rain­fall, flood­ing and snow­storm, which have led to var­i­ous dis­as­ters and in­ci­dents that se­verely im­pacted the lives of peo­ple.

Me­te­o­rol­o­gists are deeply wor­ried, so do the gen­eral pub­lic. Ex­perts said global warm­ing is the ma­jor cause of ex­treme weather con­di­tions, and warned about fur­ther con­se­quences if the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion doesn’t change.

Deadly flash flood fol­low­ing con­tin­u­ous heat waves in the US state of Ari­zona, fre­quent wild­fire break­outs in the Cana­dian prov­ince of Bri­tish Columbia, per­sis­tent drought in Italy and Spain, un­usual heavy snow­fall in Chile, are among the wor­ri­some weather con­di­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to t he lat­est study of the World Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Or­ga­ni­za­tion, global warm­ing, not El Nino, re­mains the main rea­son for such con­di­tions.

Ma­jor cul­prit

The study warned that many cities could see their max­i­mum daily tem­per­a­tures in sum­mer rise by as much as 6 C to 9 C by the year 2100.

“Even with­out a strong El Nino in 2017, we are see­ing other re­mark­able changes across the planet that are chal­leng­ing the lim­its of our un­der­stand­ing of the cli­mate sys­tem. We are now in truly un­charted ter­ri­tory,” said World Cli­mate Re­search Pro­gram Di­rec­tor David Carl­son.

Few would deny the im­mi­nent dan­ger of cli­mate change nowa­days. Un­for­tu­nately, con­certed ef­forts from all par­ties in the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity are still lack­ing, de­spite such a pre­car­i­ous sit­u­a­tion.

The land­mark Paris Cli­mate Agree­ment, signed in 2015 by 195 economies, has boosted global con­fi­dence in fight­ing cli­mate change.

But the im­ple­men­ta­tion has been hin­dered by the in­con­stancy of some coun­tries, es­pe­cially re­flected in the case of US with­drawal from the ac­cord in June.

De­spite mount­ing crit­i­cism, US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump hasn’t turned around just yet. At the G20 Sum­mit in Ham­burg, Ger­many, this month, ma­jor world lead­ers didn’t man­age to reach con­sen­sus on cli­mate change, with Trump’s stance at odds with the others.

But, there seems to be a sil­ver lin­ing.

Last week, Trump hinted a pos­si­ble change in his po­si­tion over the ac­cord. “Some­thing could hap­pen with re­spect to the Paris ac­cord, let’s see what hap­pens,” said Trump.

Such un­cer­tainty is not good. As the world strug­gles to deal with a chal­leng­ing is­sue, its largest econ­omy, also the sec­ond-largest emit­ter, should play a key role in the cen­ter, in­stead of walk­ing away on its lonely road.

Even with­out a strong El Nino in 2017, we are see­ing other re­mark­able changes ... ” David Carl­son, world cli­mate re­search pro­gram di­rec­tor

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