Extreme Weather: The New Normal

Climate experts link current droughts, heat waves, and extreme weather events to climate change.

The heat is on. Flood victims make their way along a major road in the Punjab region of Pakistan, August 27, 2010. (Paula Bronstein/Getty)
Climate experts warn that setting weather records, be they for high or low temperatures, or record amounts of rain or snow as well as record drought, will likely be the new normal.

According to a UN report released July 5, humanity is close to breaching the sustainability of Earth, and needs a technological revolution greater and faster than the industrial revolution in order to avoid “a major planetary catastrophe”.

The report said that major investments need to be made in developing, and scaling up, clean energy technologies, sustainable farming and forestry techniques, the climate-proofing of infrastructure, and technologies aimed at waste reduction, in order to shift civilization away from dependence on oil.

“It is rapidly expanding energy use, mainly driven by fossil fuels, that explains why humanity is on the verge of breaching planetary sustainability boundaries through global warming, biodiversity loss, and disturbance of the nitrogen-cycle balance and other measures of the sustainability of the earth’s ecosystem,” the report, published by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said.

The survey says investments of at least $1.1 trillion will need to be made in developing countries to meet increasing food and energy demands. “Business as usual is not an option,” says the survey. “An attempt to overcome world poverty through income growth generated by existing ‘brown technologies’ would exceed the limits of environmental sustainability.”

Scientists have been warning for decades that burning fossil fuels increases greenhouse gasses that cause global climate change by altering the Earth’s weather patterns.

Read the full article at Al Jazeera English.