China / World

Extreme weather highlights threat

(China Daily) Updated: 2017-07-21 09:00

Heat waves, drought and flooding call for concerted efforts on Paris accord

BEIJING - A series of recent extreme weather conditions worldwide, including the long-lasting heat waves across the Northern Hemisphere, have served as a dreadful warning on climate change and intensified the urgency to tackle the global problem.

Since the start of this summer, a number of countries and regions have suffered from scorching temperatures, drought, heavy rainfall, flooding and snowstorm, which have led to various disasters and incidents that severely impacted the lives of people.

Meteorologists are deeply worried, so do the general public. Experts said global warming is the major cause of extreme weather conditions, and warned about further consequences if the current situation doesn't change.

Deadly flash flood following continuous heat waves in the US state of Arizona, frequent wildfire breakouts in the Canadian province of British Columbia, persistent drought in Italy and Spain, unusual heavy snowfall in Chile, are among the worrisome weather conditions.

According to the latest study of the World Meteorological Organization, global warming, not El Nino, remains the main reason for such conditions.

Major culprit

The study warned that many cities could see their maximum daily temperatures in summer rise by as much as 6 C to 9 C by the year 2100.

"Even without a strong El Nino in 2017, we are seeing other remarkable changes across the planet that are challenging the limits of our understanding of the climate system. We are now in truly uncharted territory," said World Climate Research Program Director David Carlson.

Few would deny the imminent danger of climate change nowadays. Unfortunately, concerted efforts from all parties in the international community are still lacking, despite such a precarious situation.

The landmark Paris Climate Agreement, signed in 2015 by 195 economies, has boosted global confidence in fighting climate change.

But the implementation has been hindered by the inconstancy of some countries, especially reflected in the case of US withdrawal from the accord in June.

Despite mounting criticism, US President Donald Trump hasn't turned around just yet. At the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, this month, major world leaders didn't manage to reach consensus on climate change, with Trump's stance at odds with the others.

But, there seems to be a silver lining.

Last week, Trump hinted a possible change in his position over the accord. "Something could happen with respect to the Paris accord, let's see what happens," said Trump.

Such uncertainty is not good. As the world struggles to deal with a challenging issue, its largest economy, also the second-largest emitter, should play a key role in the center, instead of walking away on its lonely road.


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