TAG: GS 3: ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT
THE CONTEXT: Despite being recorded as the warmest decade in history, the period from 2011 to 2020 witnessed the lowest number of deaths attributed to extreme weather events, as reported by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
- This anomaly is attributed to advancements in early warning systems, which have significantly improved due to enhanced forecasting capabilities and better disaster management practices globally.
Enhanced Early Warning Systems and Disaster Preparedness
- Notably, countries like India have seen substantial improvements in forecasting cyclone formations, allowing for timely warnings and evacuation procedures.
- These advancements in prediction have contributed to increased preparedness, particularly for populations vulnerable to such natural disasters.
Unprecedented Lack of Catastrophic Short-term Events
- A striking aspect highlighted in the report “The Global Climate 2011-2020: A Decade of Acceleration” is that, for the first time since 1950, there was not a single short-term event causing 10,000 or more deaths during the 2011-2020 decade.
- This significant change underscores the efficacy of improved early warning systems and disaster management practices.
Positive Environmental Trends: Ozone Hole Recovery and Glacial Changes
- The decade also witnessed noteworthy environmental shifts, including the visible recovery of the depleted ozone hole.
- However, glacial measurements exhibited concerning trends, with glaciers globally thinning by an average of approximately 1 meter per year during the period.
- The report highlights that Greenland and Antarctica collectively lost 38% more ice compared to the 2001-2010 decade.
- Additionally, the report references the 2021 Uttarakhand rock-avalanche, triggered by a breach in the Nanda Devi glacier in the Himalayas, underlining the continued vulnerability of certain regions to climate-induced events.
Impact of Human-Caused Climate Change
- Human-induced climate change remains a key factor amplifying the risks associated with extreme heat events.
- Heatwaves accounted for the highest number of human casualties during the decade, while tropical cyclones resulted in the most significant economic damages.
Climate Finance and Future Goals
- The report highlights a notable increase in both public and private climate finance during the 2011-2020 period.
- However, it emphasizes the necessity of a substantial increase, nearly sevenfold, by the end of the current decade to meet climate objectives.
- This includes crucial goals such as limiting global temperature rise to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
Conclusion: Climate Progress and Urgent Calls for Action
- The analysis of the 2011-2020 decade demonstrates encouraging strides in early warning systems and disaster management, leading to reduced casualties despite escalating climate challenges.
- However, the report underscores the critical need for intensified efforts in climate finance and mitigation strategies to address the escalating risks posed by human-induced climate change.
- Meeting these challenges is essential to achieving global climate objectives and averting further environmental crises in the future.