Study shows natural disasters are on the rise since 2019

Estudo mostra que desastres naturais estão a aumentar desde 2019

A coalition of US scientists has concluded that climate-related disasters have increased since 2019 due to record-breaking temperatures and high atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases.

"The extreme weather events and patterns we have seen in recent years, not to mention in recent weeks, underscore the heightened urgency with which we must address the climate crisis," said researcher Philip Duffy, coauthor of the study and executive director of the Massachusetts-based Woodwell Climate Research Center.

According to Lusa, the researchers, also from the University of Oregon and the Virginia Institute for Biological Sciences, summarized their findings in a series of papers published in the journal BioScience and all agreed that the effects of the climate crisis are all too evident.

Among the warning signs, the researchers pointed out that 2020 was the second warmest year since records have been kept, while the five warmest years in history have occurred since 2015.

In addition, three major greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, reached record atmospheric concentrations last year and this year as well.

"There is growing evidence that we are approaching or have already gone beyond the tipping points associated with important parts of the Earth system, including warm-water coral reefs, Amazon rainforest, and West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets," said ecology professor at the University of Oregon William Ripple.

Scientists have proven that the coincidence of so many reports of extreme natural events, such as the fires in California or the floods in Central Europe, is a response to the rapidly deteriorating climate.

As an example, they cited the four million hectares that burned in the United States in 2020 or the one million hectares lost in the Brazilian Amazon in the same year.

"Policies to combat the climate crisis or any other symptom must address the reason: human overexploitation of the planet," Ripple warned.

The study's authors suggested that profound changes in human behavior are going to be needed to meet the challenges of the "climate crisis," a term agreed upon by more than 11,000 scientists in 2019 to refer to what was previously known as "global warming."

Among the recommendations, they encouraged the "phasing out and eventual banning" of fossil fuels, as well as the development of strategic climate reserves.

When the global economy stalled in the first half of 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic, certain levels fell, but global gross domestic product is expected to "recover to an unprecedented level" and with it all pollutant emissions, they indicated.

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