“The climate bomb is ticking,” were the words of António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, during an Intergovernmental panel launch on climate change. “Humanity is on the ice, and the ice is melting.”
The climate crisis is unfolding, with the earth likely to cross the 1.5 degrees global temperature threshold between 2030 and 2050. The impact of the catastrophe can already be felt in parts of the world, with both rich and poor economies under the radar as emissions continue to rise.
Large parts of the Southern and Mid-Western U.S. are gearing up for more storms as climate change poses extreme challenges in these regions. Forecasters have predicted dangerous nighttime tornados to hit parts of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and southern Missouri, which have already been severely damaged by storms last week, which killed at least 32 people.
In the past weeks, 11 tornadoes have caused widespread destruction across numerous midwestern and southern states in the U.S. In Missouri, emergency workers cleared debris to reach homes and rescue civilians.
Despite countries having agreed to the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change, 2022 saw a record production of carbon emissions. Catastrophe will soon result in entire countries of the Pacific Islands submerging under water, making them uninhabitable.
The United Nations has ranked places like Vanuatu, Tonga, Fiji, and the Solomon Islands among the “highly vulnerable” regions likely to face sea-level rise, cyclones, and earthquakes, despite these countries' minuscule amount of greenhouse-gas emissions, less than 0.03%.
Apart from the impacts of climate change, natural climate variations have also played a role, contributing to the rise of global temperature. The La Niña and El Niño climate years form a part of the weather change phenomenon and contributed to altering the average sea and air temperatures, accelerating the melting of glaciers. The world has witnessed successive La Niña periods for the past few years, which lowered temperatures, bringing heavy rains to Canada and Australia. But scientists are warning of a comparatively warmer 2023 as La Niña will come to an end.
Scientists have cautioned about New Zealand’s melting glaciers, as global temperature continues to rise. Glaciers are a source of fresh water for over 2 billion people globally, and their rapid melting poses a huge threat to mankind.