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Global heat waves could become ‘new normal’ without swift action: experts – National |


As parts of the globe are set to see brutally hot temperatures this weekend once again, climate scientists are warning the heat waves looming over communities are not going anywhere soon and that world leaders must take action to stop them from becoming the “new normal.”

On Thursday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the world had reached an “era of global boiling,” just as the G20’s environment ministers were set to meet Friday to discuss work on climate change.

But Guterres said world leaders must enact changes quickly and put forward ambitious targets to reduce emissions to stop the heating trend.

“Climate change is here. It is terrifying, and it is just the beginning,” he told reporters in New York. “No more hesitancy, no more excuses, no more waiting for others to move first. There is simply no more time for that.”

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The push from Guterres is not new, but atmospheric physicist Kent Moore told Global News that although the words could be seen as alarmist, they’re still needed.

“It’s really important to drive home that we’re now in a very different state than I think we thought we would be,” he said on Friday. “This is the new normal, but we can control what the next new normal will be.”

Moore cited recent comments by the Met Office in the U.K. which said that the record temperatures seen in 2022 would be considered “average” by 2060 and even “cool” by the end of the century.

“In the near future, within 30 years, which is not a long time, this will be a typical summer,” he said.

He added research by the World Weather Attribution found the heat waves impacting North America and southern Europe would have been “virtually” impossible without climate change, and what would normally occur in the U.S. every 15 years is happening much more often.

Currently, the goal of world leaders is to not let the average global temperature exceed 1.5 C, but as of this past week the Earth has hit at least 1.1 C, according to NASA’s Earth Observatory.

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The fact countries are seeing extreme weather at this stage could foreshadow even worse conditions if we pass the 1.5 C mark, experts warn.

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“We’re seeing these extremes at 1.1 (C) and so you can just imagine how much worse will be at 1.5,” Moore said.

In Canada, parts of the country saw heat waves on Friday, with Hamilton, Ont., expected to feel like up to 42 C.

Environment and Climate Change Canada warning preparedness meteorologist Gerald Cheng cautioned temperatures that high would not be going anywhere soon.

“The heat waves will become more intense, and more frequent, and so we’ve got to be prepared,” he said.

G20 environment ministers left their meeting Friday without coming to an agreement on all climate issues.

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A document published by the group shows countries did not agree on aiming to peak emissions by 2025, moving to clean energy and a tax on carbon as a way to reduce emissions.

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“We couldn’t get a consensus but we agreed on a lot,” said Canada’s Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault at a virtual press conference after the meeting.

The ministers’ decisions will now be passed on to G20 nation leaders ahead of a summit in New Delhi in September. It will be the group’s last chance to issue a joint statement on climate this year.

— with files from The Associated Press

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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