More than a billion people are living under emergency climate declarations
More than a billion people – just shy of 14 percent of the Earth's total population – are living under some form of declared climate emergency, according to a report published on Wednesday by Climate Emergency Declaration and Mobilisation in Action. The extreme weather is a direct consequence of the unrelenting burning of fossil fuels, which dumps greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere that then absorb solar radiation and warm the planet.
"The first climate emergency was declared in 2016 by the City of Darebin, Australia. Now there are at least 2,248 governments around the globe, ranging from small cities to entire countries, that have passed binding motions declaring a climate emergency. The populations of those areas total more than 1 billion, meaning more than 1 in 10 people live in a designated emergency zone," Quartz explained.
Cedamia's assessment comes as record-shattering heat bakes Earth's Northern and Western Hemispheres. Temperatures in Europe and the United States have soared into the triple-digits and are expected to remain there through at least the end of the weekend. The searing conditions are sparking massive wildfires, straining power grids, causing disruptions to transportation, and endangering human life.
Emergency declarations cover 100 percent of the populace in 18 countries, cedamia found. The United Kingdom is in 19th place with 95.15 percent of its people sheathed in warnings about threats to life and property. Conversely, the UK has the highest number of total jurisdictions – 555 – that have issued proclamations. In the United States, however, only 13.14 percent of Americans are covered. President Joe Biden has been urged to issue an executive decree. He has not indicated whether or not he will.
Last month, thermometers approached a blistering 130 degrees Fahrenheit in the Middle East.
The Southern Hemisphere, meanwhile, has not been spared from nature's wrath. In January, during its summer, the mercury in Australia inched passed an unprecedented 123 degrees Fahrenheit. South America was also subjected to brutally hot weather.
"Extreme heat also cooked South America this week, with multiple stations in Argentina, Uruguay, and southwestern Brazil approaching or beating their all-time highs. Most notably, Uruguay tied its all-time national heat record on Friday, January 14, when the mercury hit 44 degrees Celsius (111.2°F) in the town of Florida; Paysandú, Uruguay, also recorded 44 degrees Celsius on January 20, 1943," Yale Climate Connections noted at the time.
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