Year in Review: world leaders face an uphill battle as the effects of climate change accelerate

Year in Review: world leaders face an uphill battle as the effects of climate change accelerate
Copyright euronews
By Euronews
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Extreme weather events in 2022 have highlighted the urgency for the world's wealthiest, most polluting nations to reach their climate goals and become carbon-neutral to prevent further disasters and humanitarian crises.

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2022 was a year marked by heatwaves, droughts, fires and floods, these weather extremes have affected millions of people worldwide and are costing billions of euros.

The devastating floods in Pakistan displaced nearly eight million people. 

According to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) the people in the Global South, who are the least responsible for climate change are the ones who suffer the most.

The average global temperature is already 1.2 degrees warmer than the pre-industrial average. 

Climate authorities have warned, that we are on a pathway to exceeding 3°C of global warming by 2030, more than double the 1.5°C limit set by the Paris agreement.

This sets the Earth on course to cross multiple dangerous tipping points, with potentially disastrous effects.

It might already be too late to prevent the collapse of Greenland’s ice cap, resulting over a long period of time in a huge sea level rise.

The northern permafrost is another ticking time bomb as it contains around 1.6 trillion tonnes of carbon, more than twice the amount in the atmosphere today.

 Right now, that carbon is locked in the ground, but if the permafrost thaws, it would be released into the atmosphere and could speed up global warming even more.

Climate change is not only destroying nature as we know it, it is also a human crisis and a key driver of migration. 

The Institute of Economics and Peace predicts that by 2050 there will be at least 1.2 billion climate refugees.

It is the world's silent crisis because those who flee from climate disasters don't get refugee status.

To avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis we must halve emissions by 2030.

This would require a radical change, starting with the 10 countries that are responsible for two-thirds of CO2 emissions.

Which countries are historically responsible for climate change?

NGOs deplore the disconnect between the action needed and what is actually happening.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 27) in Egypt hosted a record number of fossil fuel lobbyists and a report revealed that energy companies are planning a 'frightening' expansion that would drastically increase CO2 emissions.

"We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator," said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in his opening remarks at the climate change summit which was hosted this year at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

To protest fossil fuels climate activists have been targeting artworks in museums. They were condemned and labelled as "climate terrorists".

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So far, they have not done much damage, but if politicians don't enact change, the eco-movement might resort to more radical means.

Watch the video in the player above.

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