No, climate change does not spare the richer countries....

Some decision-makers from the richest countries often seem to believe that whatever turns the climate will take, the world will always find a way to adapt to the changes, mainly through technology. But the truth is not so simple, even for the wealthiest regions in the world which have the means to invest in research and development and infrastructure. Adaptation alone, will not only be insufficient but will also (as underlined by big insurance companies) get more and more expensive as the threats get bigger and the impacts more severe.

 

Because of years of continuous postponement of climate action and failure to curb CO2 emissions at global level, climate impacts - which for many years mainly damaged the poorest regions in the world - are now creating more and more damage in the planet`s northern hemisphere as well.

 

In 2013 we are already seeing tangible signs of `global weirding`, confirming that it is slowly becoming the new `norm`. On 8th January, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) affirmed that 2012 was the hottest year on record for the continental United States.

 

Over the last few days, Australian temperatures have literally risen off the charts and the continent is facing the threats of unprecedented heat and catastrophic wildfires. Last Monday, Australia reached nearly 41°C breaking a 40 year record. The temperature forecast for next Monday 14 January by Australia`s Bureau of Meteorology is so unprecedented that it even had to add a new colour to the top of its scale, purple!

 

Climate change is also starting to hit us in our own backyards in Europe. While Greece and other southern EU countries are currently fighting extreme cold and snow, 2012 has been confirmed as being England’s rainiest year since records began.  According to the Met Office’s figures, at least 8,000 British homes and businesses were flooded in 2012.

 

For many scientists, all these extreme events and natural catastrophes are clearly a consequence of global warming.

 

Recent decisions in Doha pave the way to a global deal for the whole planet by 2015. But our climate and future are more important than the climate agreements. Achieving consensus but on a weak text will lead us nowhere. Real change requires ambition and the implementation of strong and efficient policies at global level, not just signatures to a treaty. The next three years will be crucial for the shape of the future climate deal. International governments must stop turning a blind eye to the reality of global warming and the obvious link between the world economy and climate change. Decision makers from the most developed countries urgently need to stop dragging their feet and take stronger climate action if they are serious about the protection of their own economy as well as their citizens. Urgent action is also needed if we want to avoid seeing increasing numbers of natural events rated as purple...