Spiegel Online has a lengthy article that takes a detailed look at how cities, towns, and rural communities in different parts of the world are being impacted by climate change, from France, to Iraq, India, South Africa, Germany, and elsewhere. What the article makes clear is that climate change is not an abstract future phenonmenon, but something that is happening right now, and that will only get worse without drastic structural changes. It also makes clear that those populations lease responsible for historic carbon emission are among those worst affected by the consequences of climate change, such as heat waves, flooding, and crop failures. Read an excerpt from the article below.
It is becoming apparent that climate change won’t be arriving at some point in the future. It is already here.
In Brazil, the Amazon rain forest is burning as landowners incinerate huge expanses for agriculture. They have been helped by the fact that the dry season came much earlier this year, making the forest more flammable. In the Indian region of Rajasthan, in Basra, Iraq, and in Dubai, temperatures of over 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) were measured, a threshold being reached in more and more places – and above which human life becomes impossible.
July was the hottest month on record. In the town of Lingen, in the German state of Lower Saxony, the temperature rose to 42.6 degrees Celsius and many other places in Europe experienced similar heat. In France, several nuclear reactors had to be throttled down because the rivers from which they drew their cooling water would have otherwise become too warm. Dutch towns spread salt on the roads to cool them.
Around 200 million people around the world live in some 350 cities that are dealing with temperatures higher than 35 degrees Celsius. In the next 30 years, forecasts suggest that the number of cities in that category will nearly triple. Already today, more people die from heat than from all other extreme weather phenomena combined.
Image via Spiegel Online.