The terrible summer in the Northern Hemisphere calls for strong climate action.
Disastrous floods, extreme droughts and bushfires plaguing the northern hemisphere should remind us that climate change poses an even more serious threat than COVID-19. In Germany and Belgium, floods caused by an unprecedented meteorological event killed at least 170 people and devastated ancient towns that had remained untouched for centuries. Meanwhile, last month the town of Lytton in Canada's Snow Forest recorded an insanely high temperature of 49.6 degrees shortly before wildfires burned it down.
Along the west coast of the United States, wildfires of extraordinary magnitude and ferocity still rage. Californians have been urged to cut their water use by 15% due to a historic drought. Of course, in the developing world, disasters happen every day even if they don't always make the headlines.
These tragedies are all consistent with decades of scientific predictions regarding the likely impacts of climate change caused by human activities. It looks like we are here.
Global temperatures are already 1.2% higher on average than a century ago and are set to rise 5% this century on the current path. Yet, the same week that our televisions relay the facts and bring us irrefutable proof of the urgency of strong action to fight climate change, governments continue to avoid making firm commitments and repealing what many see it as our responsibilities as citizens of the world.
In Australia, for example, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has maintained that he prefers his country to adopt a goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050; a goal that climatologists say will likely be even longer than necessary to keep the increase in global temperature below an average of 2 degrees.
While the summer of 2021 is shaping up to be one of all dangers, climate awareness is taking on an increasing scale across the planet and the reactions of observers, researchers and politicians will accompany us throughout the coming weeks.