UN: Natural disasters to intensify


The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its report on climate change on Earth, argues that humanity has virtually no chance of avoiding the natural disasters that have recently hit various regions. The largest were the 1983 drought in Ethiopia, which killed 300,000 people, and Hurricane Katrina, the most devastating hurricane in history, which swept across the US in 2005. The most recent natural disasters include widespread flooding in Germany and Hurricane Ida in the United States. One cannot but mention the extensive fires that engulfed millions of hectares of forest in Russia, Turkey, the U.S., and Brazil this summer.

It has become obvious that the average temperatures on Earth are rising very rapidly. The last five years have been the hottest in the history of weather monitoring. Such temperatures were last recorded back in 1850.

It is widely accepted that the major problem of climate change lies in human activity. According to experts, transport, energy, and production industries emit about 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. These emissions and their aftermath reduce the efficiency of food chains in the world ocean.

UN experts said that today the global average temperature is about 1.1 degrees Celsius higher than at the end of the XIX century, and this average will exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius in the next 20 years.

Europe may also expect a bleak outlook. The Greenland glaciers, which are already actively melting, will never be able to return to their former state, so the destabilization of the European ice sheet is unavoidable. Scientifically speaking, our planet is approaching a slowing of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), which brings extreme climate conditions for Europe. Winter storms, severe summer droughts, and abnormal heat waves are likely to occur with increasing frequency. Dozens of small island states may be submerged due to rising sea levels. For example, the state of Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean is in the most dangerous location. According to the IPCC report, a water rise of just 0.9 m will flood two-thirds of the country's territory by the end of this century.

The UN also reported that the global average temperature has risen by 1.23 degrees Celsius over the last 170 years, which is the highest temperature in 125,000 years! Today, the situation is only getting worse and nobody is safe anymore. UN Environment Program Executive Director Inger Andersen has urged all governments to develop plans to achieve zero emissions.

The Paris Agreement is proof that almost all countries in the world have recognized the climate threat and agreed to combat it. More than 200 states intend to reach a "zero carbon footprint" by 2050. However, only the EU has legally bound its intention with a document according to which by 2030 harmful emissions on its territory must be reduced by 55% (compared to 1990). For this purpose, the EU countries will soon introduce a carbon tax, a ban on the sale of cars with gasoline engines, and emissions taxes for airlines and maritime carriers.

Such large countries as the US and China pollute the Earth the most. They emit half of the world's carbon dioxide. Under Donald Trump's presidency, the US withdrew from the Paris Agreement but returns under Joe Biden. The 46th President emphasizes environmental issues. According to his decree, by 2030 at least 50% of cars produced in the US must be equipped with electric power systems. The new White House administration intends to establish new standards for vehicle emissions in the country. Speaking of which, the US is going to spend $3.5 trillion to combat climate change.

Russia and Japan to jointly combat climate change

The 6th Eastern Economic Forum started on September 2 on Russky Island in Vladivostok. For the last three years, the event has become the largest international platform to foster cooperation and strengthen business relations between Russian Far East and Asia-Pacific business communities.

The Forum discusses the prospects of the Russian labor market, the current state of small businesses in the Far East, and the tourism sector. The participants of the event also touched upon the burning issue of climate change in the light of recent natural disasters. The negotiations resulted in Russia and Japan deciding to join forces to curb global warming and to cooperate closely on alternative fuel production and the control of harmful substances.

Russia and Japan are planning to produce environmentally friendly analogs of the familiar fuel, in particular hydrogen and "green" ammonia. Hydrogen is important in oil refining; ammonia will be used for fertilizers and industrial materials. These two substances, which are now the focus of attention, are to replace high-carbon energy sources. And Japan has already switched from natural gas to hydrogen and replaced coal with ammonia.

The development of technologies that can help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, such as carbon capture and storage systems (CCS) and carbon capture and utilization units (CCU), is also seen as important.

Japan has stated that it plans to stop emitting carbon dioxide by 2050. At the same time, the Japanese government intends to increase its demand for ammonia, namely up to 3 million tons per year by 2030. Currently, there is no ammonia capacity in the country.

As for Russia, by 2030 it also intends to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 70% (compared to 1990). However, Russian representatives have not yet announced an updated plan to achieve these goals. At the same time, President Vladimir Putin pledged at the Forum that Russia will definitely outperform the European Union in reducing emissions and make the country climate-friendly in the next 20 years.

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