Virtual summit on climate change a step in right direction
The World Meteorological Organisation released a new report on Tuesday — The State of the Global Climate 2020. The report’s findings will not come as a surprise to Bermudians, as we witness some of these impacts first hand and observe the media reports of wildfires, floods and droughts in various parts of the planet.
The report quantifies the planetary challenge:
• 2020 was one of the three warmest years on record. Average temperatures are at 1.2C above pre-industrial norms; very near the upper limit of 1.5C
• 2011 to 2020 has been the warmest decade on record
• Since the world’s oceans absorb this extra heat; 80 per cent of the oceans are causing damage to ecosystems such as coral reefs
• Hot oceans are leading to extreme weather events such as hurricanes, forest fires, droughts and flooding. The year 2020 had a record number of 30 hurricanes
•Greenland’s ice sheet — the planet’s second-largest is melting at record rates, propelling sea-level rise
Over this past weekend, the Chinese and the United States governments — the two largest producers of greenhouse gases — made an agreement to collaborate in addressing the existential crisis.
The WMO has noted that ways of mitigating these circumstances is to move away from fossil fuels with alternate means for energy production. Another means is to promote the growth of new trees; for Bermuda and our costal challenge, this would include mangroves.
The United Nations’ secretary-general, António Guterres, points out that: “This report shows that there is no time to waste. We are at the very abyss.”
The Biden Administration will be hosting a two-day Virtual Leaders Summit on the existential threat of the climate challenge, beginning today. It is called to bring together those countries that have been producing the bulk of those pollutants, and one would hope that this galvanises efforts to bring about meaningful transformation in these circumstances.
Covid continues to demonstrate just how interconnected our planet is. The climate challenge will lead to much more disruption than this, but as with the pandemic, we all have ways of contributing to solutions.
Here in tiny, remote Bermuda we can play some part; future generations are counting on us.
• Glenn Fubler represents to Imagine Bermuda