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Rising emissions worsen global disaster risks

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Subject

Climate and disaster risk.

Significance

Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere rose to record levels in May, while last year was the fourth-warmest on record, averaging 1 degree above preindustrial levels, according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)’s ‘2018 State of the Global Climate’ report. Some 62 million people were affected by natural hazards in 2018, mostly related to weather and climate events. Flooding affected 35 million people, while drought hit a further 9 million. Exposure to extreme heat events also increased, with only a few parts of the world seeing below-average temperatures.

Impacts

  • Increased wildfire risks, from rising temperatures and changing precipitation patterns, will exacerbate air pollution impacts.
  • Climate impacts will create ‘secondary’ refugee displacement, affecting groups such as the Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
  • Tropical cyclones, such as those that recently hit Mozambique and India, will be intensified by warming waters increasing disaster risks.
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