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Biodiversity & Environment

Severe Climate Disasters of 2022 and COP27

  • 22 Nov 2022
  • 6 min read

For Prelims: Climate Disasters, malaria, diarrhoea, cyclones, droughts, heat waves, lightning, floods, landslides

For Mains: Climate Change and its impact, Environmental Pollution & Degradation

Why in News?

While the developing and vulnerable nations continue to demand climate finance at COP27, it is important to realise that the lives have also been severely affected by global catastrophes, especially in the year 2022.

How have Past Global Catastrophes Devastated the Planet?

  • Pakistan Floods:
    • Pakistan recorded 62% less than normal rainfall in the month of March, 2022 and the warmest April preceding the monsoon season.
      • Glaciers melted as a result of these heat waves, which led rivers to swell. Access to basic necessities became difficult for 33 million people of Pakistan’s 220 million population.
    • Extreme rainfall further triggered the most devastating floods from June to September.
      • The flood was the worst in the country’s recent history.
      • Over 1,500 people were killed, with millions being displaced and developing serious health issues such as skin infections, malaria and diarrhoea.
  • Hurricane Ian in the US:
    • NASA data revealed that warm ocean waters in the Gulf of Mexico powered Hurricane Ian in the US towards the end of September, 2022 making it one of the strongest hurricanes to hit the country in recent memory.
      • It resulted in the loss of 101 lives and monetary losses of more than USD 100 billion.
      • The disaster was the costliest climate-induced disaster of the year.
    • The escalation brought severe floods, relentless rains and strong winds to southwestern Florida.
  • European Droughts
    • In June and July, 2022, Europe was hit by two extreme heat waves, which claimed approximately 16,000 lives.
      • This year's drought is likely to be the worst in 500 years.
    • Water levels in Europe’s biggest rivers – Rhine, Po, Loire, and Danube – shrunk, and dry conditions continue to prevail in different parts of the continent.
  • Spain and Portugal:
    • An atmospheric high-pressure system, which causes dry air to descend over subtropical regions in the Northern Hemisphere during winter and spring seasons, called Azores high, has the ability to block wet weather outlets.
    • This caused dry conditions in Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe, and the Mediterranean region.
      • Spain and Portugal hence faced the driest weather in 1,200 years, along with wildfires.
  • Natural Disasters in India:
    • India recorded natural disasters almost every day in 2022.
    • India recorded “extreme weather events on 241 of 273 days” in the first nine months of the year.
    • Overall, these disasters claimed about “2,755 lives, affected 1.8 million hectares (ha) of crop area, destroyed over 416,667 houses and killed close to 70,000 livestock.”

What are the Major Outcomes of the COP27?

  • “Loss and Damage” Fund for Vulnerable Countries:
    • The United Nations Climate Change Conference COP27 signed an agreement to provide "loss and damage" funding to vulnerable countries.
  • Technology:
    • At COP27, a new five-year work program was launched to promote climate technology solutions in developing countries.
  • Mitigation:
    • A mitigation work programme was launched aimed at urgently scaling up mitigation ambition and implementation.
    • The work programme will start immediately following COP27 and continue until 2030, with at least two global dialogues held each year.
    • Governments were also requested to revisit and strengthen the 2030 targets in their national climate plans by the end of 2023, as well as accelerate efforts to phase down unabated coal power and phase-out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.
  • Global Stocktake:
    • Delegates at the UN Climate Change Conference COP27 wrapped up the second technical dialogue of the first global stocktake, a mechanism to raise ambition under the Paris Agreement.
    • Prior to the conclusion of the stocktake at COP28 next year, the UN Secretary-General will convene a 'climate ambition summit' in 2023.
  • Sharm-El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda:
    • It outlines 30 Adaptation Outcomes to enhance resilience for 4 billion people living in the most climate vulnerable communities by 2030.
  • Action on Water Adaptation and Resilience Initiative (AWARe):
    • It has been launched to reflect the importance of water as both a key climate change problem and a potential solution.
  • African Carbon Market Initiative (ACMI):
    • It was launched to support the growth of carbon credit production and create jobs in Africa.
  • The Global Renewables Alliance:
    • It brings together, for the first time, all the technologies required for the energy transition in order to ensure an accelerated energy transition.
    • As well as ensuring targets are met, the Alliance also aims to position renewable energy as a pillar of sustainable development and economic growth.

Source: TH

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