terça-feira, 17 de maio de 2016

Global warming will hit poorer countries hardest, research finds /

Global warming will hit poorer countries hardest, research finds
Tropical regions likely to suffer biggest increase in hot days and extreme weather because of climate change, say scientists

Fiona Harvey
Tuesday 17 May 2016 00.49 BST

New evidence that poorer countries will suffer the worst effects of climate change has shown that the number of hot days in tropical developing countries is likely to increase markedly as global warming takes hold.

It has long been expected that poor people would bear the brunt of climate change, largely because so many more of the world’s poorest live in tropical latitudes whereas, wealthier people tend to live in more temperate regions.

This is inverse to the generally accepted responsibility for climate change, which falls mainly on rich countries that benefited early on from industry, and thus have historically high emissions, compared with poorer countries that have only begun catching up in the past few decades.

It was only in 2014 that China’s per capita emissions caught up with those of people in the EU, even after years of above-average economic growth in China.

Those living in the poorest countries also have the most to lose, as so many depend on agriculture, which is likely to be badly affected by temperature rises and an increase in droughts, heatwaves and potential changes to rainfall that may lead to recurrent patterns of floods, droughts and higher intensity storms.

The study, led by the University of East Anglia, is the first to examine the link between cumulative carbon dioxide emissions and more frequent hot days.

Manoj Joshi of the UEA School of Environmental Sciences said: “Many of the poorest people in the world live in tropical latitudes, while many of the world’s wealthiest people live in mid-latitude climates. We know that low-latitude regions have much less variability in day-to-day temperatures when compared with the mid-latitudes, which means the signal of climate change emerges quite quickly, and because of this the frequency of extreme hot days increases rapidly too.”

The findings also call into question the commitments made at the landmark Paris conference on climate change last December, at which nations agreed to limit global temperature rises to no more than 2C, a threshold which scientists regard as the limit of safety, beyond which the ravages of climate change are likely to become catastrophic and irreversible.

However a 2C rise on average globally could still leave tens or hundreds of millions of people vulnerable to dramatic rises in their regional temperatures, which could make their current way of living impossible to maintain.

Climate change puts 1.3bn people and $158tn at risk, says World Bank
Organisation urges better city planning and defensive measures to defend against rapid rise in climate change-linked disasters

Larry Elliott Economics editor
Monday 16 May 2016 20.00 BST

The global community is badly prepared for a rapid increase in climate change-related natural disasters that by 2050 will put 1.3 billion people at risk, according to the World Bank.

Urging better planning of cities before it was too late, a report published on Monday from a Bank-run body that focuses on disaster mitigation, said assets worth $158tn – double the total annual output of the global economy – would be in jeopardy by 2050 without preventative action.

The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery said total damages from disasters had ballooned in recent decades but warned that worse could be in store as a result of a combination of global warming, an expanding population and the vulnerability of people crammed into slums in low-lying, fast-growing cities that are already overcrowded.

“With climate change and rising numbers of people in urban areas rapidly driving up future risks, there’s a real danger the world is woefully unprepared for what lies ahead,” said John Roome, the World Bank Group’s senior director for climate change.

“Unless we change our approach to future planning for cities and coastal areas that takes into account potential disasters, we run the real risk of locking in decisions that will lead to drastic increases in future losses.”

The facility’s report cited case studies showing that densely populated coastal cities are sinking at a time when sea levels are rising. It added that the annual cost of natural disasters in 136 coastal cities could increase from $6bn in 2010 to $1tn in 2070.

The report said that the number of deaths and the monetary losses from natural disasters varied from year to year, but the upward trend was pronounced.

Total annual damage – averaged over a 10-year period – had risen tenfold from 1976–1985 to 2005–2014, from $14bn to more than $140bn. The average number of people affected each year had risen over the same period from around 60 million people to more than 170 million.

Although developed countries have been responsible for the bulk of historic global emissions, poorer countries are more vulnerable to the impact of climate change and they demanded financial help from the west as part of last December’s breakthrough global deal to reduce emissions.

Oxfam this week called on rich countries to make good on the pledges made at the Paris conference to provide the funding to help developing countries adapt to the effects of global warming.

“Climate change is a brutal reality confronting millions of the world’s most vulnerable people. Their need for financial support to adapt to climate extremes is urgent and rising,” Oxfam said in its Unfinished Business report.

“International support for adaptation falls well short of what is needed. Latest estimates indicate that only 16% of international climate finance is currently dedicated to adaptation – a mere $4bn–$6bn per year of which is public finance.”

According to the the facility, disaster risk is affected by three factors. It said these were: hazard – the frequency of potentially dangerous naturally occurring events, such as earthquakes or tropical cyclones; exposure – the size of the population and the economic assets located in hazard-prone areas; and vulnerability – the susceptibility of the exposed elements to the natural hazard.

It added that hazard was increasing due to climate change; exposure was going up because more people were living in hazardous areas and that vulnerability was on the rise because of badly designed and poorly planned housing.

The World Bank-run body said the population was expected to rise by at least 40% in 14 of the 20 most populated cities in the world between 2015 and 2030, with some cities growing by 10 million people in that period. “Many of the largest cities are located in deltas and are highly prone to floods and other hazards, and as these cities grow, an ever greater number of people and more assets are at risk of disaster.”

Francis Ghesquiere, head of the secretariat at the The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, said: “By promoting policies that reduce risk and avoiding actions to drive up risk, we can positively influence the risk environment of the future. The drivers of future risk are within the control of decision makers today. They must seize the moment.”

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