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Heatwaves the next big climate change threat

Heatwaves will be the next big climate change threat to hit both rich and poor nations, according to the main findings of a recently released United Nations climate change report.

Report co-author Professor Debarati Guha said, “The next one that is going to hit us with an explosion is heatwaves.

“It’s going to be both in rich and poor countries, remember, human beings have a limit, a thermal resistance limit…it is also going to be a huge problem in the wealthier countries,” she said.

Another climate change report, the recently released annual World Meteorological Organization (WMO) State of the Climate report, found the 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years, with the top four in the past four years.

WMO secretary-general Petteri Taalas said, “The science is clear. Without rapid cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gases, climate change will have increasingly destructive and irreversible impacts on life on Earth. The window of opportunity for action is almost closed.”

“It is worth repeating once again that we are the first generation to fully understand climate change and the last generation to be able to do something about it."

Supporting the New Zealand Government's decision to move away from fossil fuel industries he said, "If we exploit all known fossil fuel resources, the temperature rise will be considerably higher.”

WMO deputy secretary-general Elena Manaenkova said, “These are more than just numbers. Every fraction of a degree of warming makes a difference to human health and access to food and fresh water”.

The extinction of many animals and plants also hinged on global warming, along with the survival of coral reefs and marine life.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet sent a letter to members telling them they have legal obligations under international human rights law to prevent climate change and try to mitigate its effects.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, “ambitious climate action will not only slow temperature rise, it will be good for economies, for the environment and for public health."

"Climate solutions represent opportunity, and technology is on our side. They are wise investments in an equitable, prosperous and sustainable future. Green business truly is good business,” he said.


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