A new study, “Climate Alarm: Disasters increase as climate change bites,” by Oxfam International finds:
Climatic disasters are on the increase as the Earth warms up — in line with scientific observations and computer simulations that model future climate. 2007 has been a year of climatic crises, especially floods, often of an unprecedented nature. They included Africa’s worst floods in three decades, unprecedented flooding in Mexico, massive floods in South Asia and heat waves and forest fires in Europe, Australia, and California. By mid November the United Nations had launched 15 ‘flash appeals’, the greatest ever number in one year. All but one were in response to climatic disasters.
This is no shock to Climate Progress readers, but we all need to remember that this is a human tragedy (and it is going to get much, much worse if we don’t reverse emissions trends within the decade), as the Oxfam study reports in its summary:
At the same time as climate hazards are growing in number, more people are being affected by them because of poverty, powerlessness, population growth, and the movement and displacement of people to marginal areas. The total number of natural disasters has quadrupled in the last two decades — most of them floods, cyclones, and storms. Over the same period the number of people affected by disasters has increased from around 174 million to an average of over 250 million a year. Small- and medium-scale disasters are occurring more frequently than the kind of large-scale disasters that hit the headlines.
Oxfam offers a variety of useful recommendations here.
- Dry me a River: Climate change and drought
- Global warming and the California wildfires
- Australia faces the “permanent dry” — as do we
- Hurricanes ARE getting Stronger — Thanks to Global Warming!
- Global warming will spawn severe storms and tornados, reports NASA
- A deluge of extreme weather, thanks to climate change