Extreme Heating: Are We Hot Enough To Act Now On Climate?

Figure 1Photo by Wikimedia'

By UN Environment

The cautionary tale of the boiling frog describes how a frog that jumps into boiling water will save itself by jumping straight out, but the frog that sits in the water while it gradually gets hotter and hotter will boil to death. 

This summer, Europe has sweltered in its hottest ever July since records began, causing multiple deaths, closed offices and disruptions to flights and vital services. Wildfires broke out in the Arctic, with smoke-filled air swirling across an unprecedented area of Arctic wilderness. There is growing public alarm that the world is overheating and increasing frustration at the lack of action to urgently tackle what has become a climate emergency.

“Wildfires in the Arctic can be catastrophic for our climate,” says the UN Environment Programme’s peatlands expert Dianna Kopansky. “When permafrost peatlands thaw, dry out and burn, they release enormous amounts of carbon. Ash particles darken snow causing less sunlight to be reflected into space, and further increase heating. It’s a dangerous feedback mechanism to trigger.”

It’s estimated that the northern hemisphere’s frozen soils and peatlands hold about 1,700 billion tonnes of carbon—four times more than humans have emitted since the industrial revolution, and twice as much as is currently in the atmosphere. Read more>>


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