CLIMATE change knows no borders, no age, no gender and no social status affecting the social, economic and even political aspects of our lives, practically hurting disproportionately all corners of the world.

In a special report on "World Scientists' Warning of a Climate Emergency 2022" published two weeks ago, a group of scientists declared that humanity is unequivocally facing a climate emergency. "The scale of untold human suffering, already immense, is rapidly growing with the escalating number of climate-related disasters," the scientists said.

The authors, led by Dr. William Ripple of the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University, revealed that humanity is now in a major climate crisis and global catastrophe with far worse in store if we continue with business as usual. "There is more at stake today than at any time since the advent of the stable climate system that has supported us for more than 10,000 years," the authors said.

The special report commemorates the 30th anniversary of World Scientists' Warning to Humanity released in 1992 and signed by more than 1,700 scientists. Since then, the World Scientists' Warning has generated 14,700 signatories — including this author — representing 158 countries. From 1992 until present, even after 26 Conference of Parties (COP) — the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference, and despite numerous warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, there was an approximately 40-percent increase in global greenhouse gas emissions.

Without even mentioning the tragic loss of lives and damage to infrastructure, property and crops brought by Severe Tropical Storm "Paeng" (international name "Nalgae") that hit the country a few days ago, over a dozen climate-related disasters have been recorded during the first six months of 2022.

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Climate disasters elsewhere

For the first quarter of this year in Australia, La Niña and climate change contributed to record-breaking rainfall that led to flooding that damaged thousands of property and killed eight people. Along the northeastern coast of Australia, record-breaking flooding led to standing water which, in turn, promoted the spread of mosquitoes that carry the Japanese encephalitis virus. Flooding is likely becoming more common because of climate change. (Ripple et al. 2022)

In Europe, many rivers have dried up because of intense heat waves, bringing the worst drought in 500 years. Climate change has likely played a significant role by increasing the frequency and intensity of droughts and heat waves. (Ripple et al. 2022)

The Horn of Africa — Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia — experienced the worst drought in 40 years due to four years of insufficient rainfall and higher temperatures linked to climate change (Ghebrezgabher et al. 2016). An estimated 22 million were at risk of starvation with conditions akin to famine in the hardest-hit areas.

In the Southern Plains of the United States, a severe drought put the winter wheat crop at risk. Although droughts are complex phenomena with many possible causes, increasing drought intensity has been linked to climate change (Mukherjee et al. 2018).

In India and Pakistan, a deadly heat wave killed at least 90 people and contributed to widespread crop losses and wildfires. It was estimated that climate change made this event 30 times more likely to happen.

For the second quarter this year in Eastern South Africa, climate change likely contributed to extreme rainfall that triggered flooding and landslides that killed at least 435 people and affected more than 40,000 people.

In the Middle East, widespread dust storms — which may be increasing in frequency because of climate change — led to thousands of people being hospitalized.

In Brazil, extremely heavy rainfall resulted in landslides and flooding that killed at least 100 people.

In Yellowstone, United States, a severe storm caused the Gardner River and Lamar River to overflow, destroying parts of various roads in Yellowstone National Park.

Several countries in Western Europe experienced a record-breaking heat wave. This heat wave contributed to major wildfires in Spain and Germany. Many other parts of the Northern Hemisphere also experienced extreme heat; for example, temperatures reached 104.4 degrees Fahrenheit in Isesaki, Japan — a record for the country. Similarly, a heat dome in the United States contributed to record-breaking temperatures. Other affected countries include Finland, Iran, Norway and Italy. In general, extreme heat is becoming more common because of climate change (Luber and McGeehin 2008).

China experienced record-breaking rainfall due to extreme heat.

In Bangladesh, the worst monsoon flooding in 100 years occurred killing at least 26 people.

With the current climate policies in place, our only home is headed toward a projected global warming of 2.8 degrees Celsius over the 21st century (Emissions Gap Report 2022), a temperature level that the Earth has not experienced over the past 3 million years (Liu and Raftery 2021). The consequences of global heating are becoming increasingly extreme, and outcomes such as global societal collapse are dangerously underexplored (Kemp et al. 2022).

Climate change has increased the frequency and intensity of severe weather events across the world (Coronese et al. 2019) including an overall warming trend, changing precipitation patterns, rising sea levels and changes in the jet streams, causing heat waves, flooding, droughts and other disasters (Mann et al. 2017).

Climate-related extreme weather events are not only frequent but are now more intense and catastrophic, thereby compounding damage, and decreasing and delaying recovery time. We are now regularly seeing events that rarely occurred before.

On the eve of the critical climate summit — the 27th Session of the Conference of Parties in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt on November 6 to 18, 2022, and despite the numerous warnings from the scientific community, how many more climate-related disasters are needed before world leaders act decisively to fulfill the goals of the Paris Agreement?

We must realize how the climate crisis affects our lives. We must realize that we're already in the middle of the climate crisis.

The author is the executive director of the Young Environmental Forum and a nonresident fellow of Stratbase ADR Institute. He completed his climate change and development course at the University of East Anglia (United Kingdom) and an executive program on sustainability leadership at Yale University (USA). You can email him at [email protected]