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“The hottest year in history” … because 2020 was not only the year of the pandemic!

During the first days of the closure due to the spread of “Covid-19” around the world, various news spread on social media saying that “nature is breathing”, due to a clear decrease in the levels of pollution outside factories and car exhaust, the spread of this news was so great that a counter-wave of meme emerged The irony then, but during that virtual battle, mixed with a lot of laughter and pain due to the pandemic, no one knew that nature in 2020 in particular was not breathing, but was suffocating!

Several weeks ago, (1) researchers from the US Space and Aviation Agency (NASA) announced that a recent analysis of temperature averages, taking readings from 26,000 places around the world, reported that 2020 was the hottest year by a difference greater than 1.2 degrees Celsius from the average, since it began The history of this type of measurements about a century and a half ago, which indicates that global warming is still continuing in an upward trend, and it seems that it will not stop soon.

These results came to raise 2020 by a very slight difference from 2016, which during the last period was the holder of this record, and because of the small difference, with the degree of uncertainty in this type of measurements, this year – in any case – lies with 2016 and 2019 as they are The hottest years in the history of measurement, in fact the last seven years are basically the hottest years in the entire history of measurement!

Air pollution rates had already decreased (2) in 2020, and due to the widespread closures of factories and the reduction in fuel consumption, radically reduced amounts of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere, but the problem is that one boom during which emissions decreased cannot resist the huge accumulation of other booms that escalated with it. Carbon dioxide emissions over decades past.

In fact, the percentage of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been accelerating during the previous seventeen years, and by the end of 2016, the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere exceeded the 400 parts per million (ppm) barrier for the first time in our human history, during 400 thousand A year ago the number danced between just 160-300 parts per million.

Sunlight enters the earth continuously every moment, then absorbs it and spews it out into space again, but with the increase in the percentage of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (carbon dioxide in particular), the ability of the atmosphere to trap part of those rays and prevent it from leaving, increases, which causes warming. The atmosphere, this is what we all know as the greenhouse effect, and 95% of the research work in the climate scale believes that the cause of this disaster is human activity (4).

Every molecule of carbon dioxide we release into the atmosphere through fossil fuels emitted from cars and factories does not go far, it will remain in the atmosphere participating in the annual cycle of carbon dioxide, where the plant takes a certain amount and leaves the rest to us, and there is nowhere else to go other than converting to carbonate Calcium is in the coatings of some marine organisms, but this takes several thousand years to achieve.

This means, in addition to several other criteria that we did not talk about, that we will also need a long time to recover the land as it was about a century and a half ago, and even some research work believes that reducing temperatures to an average level, if we decide to stop blowing Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere now, we need to wait a full forty years (5), which means that we have already achieved from disasters what we will wait for forty years to be achieved at an increasing pace.

In fact, people make a mistake when they think that global average temperatures rise at a rate of about one degree compared to before the industrial revolution is a simple matter, so one of us imagines that this means that the summer temperature is 36 to 37 degrees, and therefore there is no need to worry, it is the temperature itself. Almost, but unfortunately the matter extends deeper than that.

The ecological system in general, and the climate in particular, is a complex system, meaning that the simplest changes in it evolve little by little to affect a large scale, as for the climate, this appears clearly in climatic anomalies, such as hot and cold waves, hurricanes, sand and dust storms, Drought comes on top of all of this. The severity and incidence of these phenomena are doubling with the increase in average temperatures.

For example, in September 2015, a severe sandstorm swept across the Middle East (6). You may have noticed this because at that time it was described as exceptional, because of that a team of Princeton University researchers studied that storm, and the results say that global warming was a major cause. In that harsh surprise, as the drought hitting the eastern Mediterranean increased the amount of dust available for the storm, feeding its strength.

Sometimes the matter goes to more severe levels, and here we can remember what happened in 2010, when a huge heat wave caused the deaths of more than 50 thousand people in Russia (7), the wave that destroyed the wheat crop, which led to economic losses that exceeded $ 15 billion, but in the early summer (8) of the year 2015, a severe heat wave swept through India and killed more than two thousand people, then passed to Pakistan and killed two thousand people as well.

As for our Arab region, the water crisis is the best example, especially when we know from a study conducted by NASA several years ago that the eastern Mediterranean region is receiving the most violent drought in a thousand years, and it is expected within less than two decades that 33 countries in the world will enter the region. Severe water poverty, including 13 Arab countries (Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Palestine, the Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar) (9).

On the other hand, the snow in the world’s mountains and its southern continent is melting day after day, this changes the nature of life in the planet’s waters, and also raises the levels of its seas so that it is expected that many coastal cities will flood by the end of the century, which may cause millions of migrations to affect On political and social stability.

It happened before, and it will happen again. In the past year alone, storms, floods, and droughts have driven about 18 million people from their homes. Climate scientists predict that in just three decades, 200 million people will be forced to do the same because of climate change, so a new term has recently emerged: “climate migrants.” They are the ones who were pushed by climate change to flee their homes, and the stronger and more frequent the climate strikes, the higher the migrations.

However, at that point you might ask: Why not look for solutions to these problems? If we are sure that climate change is already occurring, and that it is causing heavy problems for us and all life on Earth, then why not meet and try to solve these problems immediately and forever? Great idea, but unfortunately life just isn’t fair, and things aren’t perfect.

You hear a lot about climate change these days, you know – whether on the Internet or the heat waves that have covered us during the previous years – that it is already happening and that we have a role in it, but it was not like this several decades ago, once scientists began to raise problems related to the changes Climate change until the energy companies poured in capital on the other hand, the companies responsible for emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Therefore, anyone can notice an astonishing disconnect between what is necessary to avoid very dangerous climate change and what has been done worldwide so far, and according to a study published in the journal Nature (10) in May 2019, the reason for this is intense political pressure In order to prevent critical environmental decisions in this regard.

In fact, the amount of spending for political pressure on climate initiatives over the past two decades can be estimated at about two billion dollars, and a study by Drexel University (11) concluded, in 2013, that a large portion of donations to organizations that deny global warming are channeled through Companies hide the original funder, and in the course of all this we have not yet seen clear moves to limit the effects of global warming, only controversy here and there, and more political conflicts between them.

This is what prompted James Hansen (12), a former physicist from NASA and the owner of the famous title “father of climate change awareness”, to declare a few years ago that there is no direct solution to this disaster except by suing the major companies responsible for emitting carbon dioxide in Our atmosphere, where – believe it or not – there are only a hundred (13) companies in the world that are responsible for emitting 71% of the carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

That is why a team of 11,000 scientists from 153 countries, in a research paper issued about a year ago (14), decided to declare a climate emergency in a global message stating that world scientists have a moral duty to warn people of the coming dangers, and that the time allowed to take The decision is running out. The scholars see in their statement that there are six standards that the world’s politicians must work to achieve.

These criteria include stopping the use of fossil fuels as well as harmful environmental pollutants such as methane and chlorofluorocarbons, preserving the ecosystem from damage, especially as it is already facing problems due to climate change, reducing meat in diets and calling people to multiply vegetables and grains, because this prevents the exploitation of green spaces as well as puffs The methane resulting from raising cows, the team also hinted at the need to control the number of people on the planet, and to modify the economy so that it is a servant, or in a clearer sense, “profits” from the systems that protect the environment and the climate.

During the past year, all our focus was on the threat of “Covid-19”, and the public interest in climate change issues decreased, especially in the Arab world, and some thought that this problem would resolve on its own as long as we no longer hear about it, but the idea is only that the media are preoccupied with the pandemic I have missed the announcement of the results of climate change that the research work in this area is reaching day after day, and all of them – unfortunately – are not in our favor.

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Sources

  1. 2020 Tied for Warmest Year on Record, NASA Analysis Shows
  2. Previous source
  3. Climate Change: Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
  4. The Role of Human Activity
  5. If we stopped emitting greenhouse gases right now, would we stop climate change?
  6. Giant Middle East dust storm caused by a changing climate, not human conflict
  7. The Russian heatwave of summer 2010
  8. India heat wave kills thousands
  9. Water wars, has the Arab world become insufficient for its inhabitants?
  10. The social cost of lobbying over climate policy
  11. “Dark Money” Funds Climate Change Denial Effort
  12. Fight Climate Change by Suing Polluters, Says Scientist
  13. The Carbon Majors Database CDP Carbon Majors Report 2017
  14. World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency




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