United Nations Warns Earth Could Become ‘Uninhabitable Hell’ For Millions
The United Nations has warned the planet could become an ‘uninhabitable hell’ for millions of people if climate action is not taken.
In a report released on Monday, October 12, the organisation blamed the climate crisis for the ‘staggering’ rise in natural disasters in the past 20 years.
The Human Cost of Disasters 2000-2019 revealed that the amount of natural disasters, including earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes, in the past two decades is almost double the 4,212 recorded between 1980-1999.
According to data from the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), there has been 7,348 major natural disasters in the past 20 years that killed a total of 1.23 million people, affected 4.2 billion more and resulted in $2.97 trillion in global economic losses.
Researchers determined the vast majority of those disasters were climate-related, with an increased amount of flooding, storms, droughts, heatwaves, hurricanes and wildfires in the past 20 years blamed on rising global temperatures.
Meanwhile, the report stated that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has exposed the failure of ‘almost all nations’ to prevent a ‘wave of death and illness’ despite repeated warnings from experts.
In a foreword to the report, UNDRR chief Mami Mizutori and Debarati Guha-Sapir of Belgium’s Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters wrote:
It is baffling that we willingly and knowingly continue to sow the seeds of our own destruction.
It really is all about governance if we want to deliver this planet from the scourge of poverty, further loss of species and biodiversity, the explosion of urban risk and the worst consequences of global warming.
The researchers accused ‘industrial nations’ of ‘failing miserably’ with reducing greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to keep global warming at 1.5 ̊C as set out in the Paris Agreement and prevent the planet from turning into ‘an uninhabitable hell for millions of people’.
Earth is currently on course for a temperature increase of 3.2°C or more; an increase that the researchers say would increase the frequency of extreme climate events across the world, rendering any improvements to disaster response or climate adaptation ‘obsolete in many countries’.
In order to achieve the target set in the Paris Agreement, emissions will need to be reduced by at least 7.2% every year over the next 10 years, CNN reports.
Asia suffered from the most climate disasters in the past two decades, recording 3,068 events while the Americas experienced 1,756 and Africa recorded 1,192.
China has been the worst-affected country with more than 500 natural disasters, followed by the United States with 467.
Researchers characterise a natural disaster as having at least 10 or more people reported killed, 100 or more people reported affected, a declaration of a state of emergency, or a call for international assistance.
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