World Environment Day
Last month saw atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rise to 400 parts per million (ppm), a symbolic threshold for scientists and policy makers worldwide. Many observers now recognise that the earth has entered a new “danger zone”, in which the international target of limiting warming to 2⁰C will be significantly harder to achieve.
Yet the implications of climate-related disasters are already being felt across the globe. The latest report on disaster-induced displacement from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre and Norwegian Refugee Council found that in 2012, 32.4 million people worldwide were newly displaced by disasters associated with natural hazard events. The vast majority of this displacement (98% in 2012 and 83% over the last five years) was triggered by climate- or weather-related hazards such as floods, storms and wildfires, which are set to increase in the coming years as climate change takes hold.
Closer to home, at least eight people have been reported dead and nine missing in the floods sweeping through Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Czech Republic this week. Heavy rainfall and flooding are predicted to increase dramatically throughout this century as warmer temperatures increase the amount of moisture the air can hold.
This World Environment Day, spare a thought for the millions of “climate refugees” forcibly displaced by climate-related events beyond their control, and take action by joining our call to the United Nations Human Rights Council to adopt a new mandate for a Special Rapporteur on climate change and human rights.
Are you a Climate Witness?
EJF’s Home Truths project helps vulnerable communities to use film and photography to show how their homes, land and livelihoods are being affected by climate change. By working directly with communities, individuals and organisations, we will help provide an international platform for people to share their experiences from the ‘frontlines’. If your home or community is under threat, join our network and tell your story by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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