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The writing is on the wall: Time to act on climate reality

Sep 11,2022 - Last updated at Sep 11,2022

The last few weeks have once again sounded the global alarm, as countries both developed and developing are facing unprecedented ramifications of climate change that are hitting all of us hard.

Recent flooding in Pakistan covering an area the size of the United Kingdom killed nearly 1,400 people, wiped out crops, destroyed around two million homes and businesses, washed away 7,000km of roads and collapsed 500 bridges. Altogether, this unnatural disaster has affected around 33 million people.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres labelled the flooding as "climate carnage" on a scale never seen before, and further blamed wealthier countries for the devastation.

In Europe, the continent's major rivers are shrinking under the most brutal, climate-driven drought in decades, and heatwaves are contributing to the most intense forest fires experienced in years across the continent. Rising temperatures and declining rainfall are only compounding the situation. Since July, conflagrations have destroyed record expanses of land in France, Spain, Italy and Portugal, according to several media reports.

Countries of the Middle East are among the most exposed to climate change-related damage. In fact, a recently-updated report first published in the June in Review of Geophysics indicated that the Middle East is warming at nearly twice the global average, threatening potentially devastating impacts. Countries in the region are expected to face extreme heatwaves, prolonged droughts and rising sea levels. The report found an average increase of 0.45ºC per decade across the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean region, based on 1981-2019 data, during which the global average rise in temperature was 0.27ºC degrees per decade. The Middle East is projected to heat up by 5ºC by the end of the century, which the report warned would exceed “critical thresholds for human adaptability” in some countries.

Climate change effects are already making headlines across the world. The negative impact of climate change is here, and has already been happening on a global scale. This year so far has provided bitter proof of the seriousness and cruelty of climate change ramifications.

Projected climate scenarios are already being experienced across the world, and at a faster pace than what scientists had originally predicted.

In March 2022, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated that climate change is already contributing to humanitarian crises amongst vulnerable populations. 

Between 3.3 billion and 3.6 billion people — more than 40 per cent of the world’s population — live in contexts that are “highly vulnerable to climate change”, the IPCC warned. Some are already experiencing the damaging effects of climate change, the report said, adding for the first time that “historical and ongoing patterns of inequity, such as colonialism” are contributing to many regions’ vulnerability to climate change.

Total net anthropogenic GHG emissions have continued to increase in the 2010-2019 period. Cumulative net CO2 emissions have risen steadily since 1850. Average annual GHG emissions during the 2010s were higher than in any previous decade, but the rate of growth between 2010 and 2019 was lower than that between 2000 and 2009, according to the Climate Change 2022 Mitigation of Climate Change Working Group III Contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 

In Jordan, climate change has triggered a decline in precipitation, which has already left many of the country's dams empty, rendered rangeland almost non-existent, generated lasting heatwaves and caused innumerable harms to the agricultural sector. Jordan, like many other countries, is a victim of climate change.

Industrialised, developed countries that have long paid lip service to environmental issues must now “walk the walk”, and honour their pledges to support climate-related action before it is too late, and climate damage knows no boundaries.

According to climate experts, securing financing for climate projects, and adaptation projects in particular, is a very daunting task. "In some cases, it takes up to three years to get approvals and go through the process to secure funding and after the approvals are given, the project is no longer valid," a Jordanian climate expert recently said.

Jordan, for example, raised its macroeconomic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target from 14 per cent to 31 per cent, as opposed to the “Business As Usual” method, according to the updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) document submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Jordan’s total greenhouse gas emissions, standing at approximately 28 million tonnes of CO2, are globally inconsequential, as this figure represents around 0.06 per cent of the world’s total CO2 emissions. 

The mitigation projects and interventions envisioned by Jordan are estimated to cost around $7.5 billion. Jordan is responsible for securing the necessary financing for five per cent of the country’s total emissions reductions target of 31 per cent. The remaining 26 per cent is conditionally linked to international funding and support. Jordan needs additional $7 billion or more for projects related to adaptation such as reforestation, rangeland rehabilitation, and water projects.

Humanity no longer has the luxury of unlimited time and limited action. Extending the necessary funding for climate justice and securing the basic human rights of those most in danger cannot remain overlooked. 

Procrastinating climate action is not the “good-enough”, political band aid that it once was; it is now a critical imperative. The climate crisis is happening. We must take action immediately before the effects are irreversible; the world has suffered enough.

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