Rishi Sunak grilled by activist over climate change
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Youngsters can expect their lives to be disrupted much more often from droughts, crop failures, floods and wildfires, said Imperial College London and the University of Nottingham. The researchers said newborns across the globe will face seven times as many scorching heatwaves during their lives than their grandparents. They will also on average live through nearly three times as many droughts, river floods and crop failures and twice as many wildfires as people born 60 years ago.
But if the world sticks to the 2015 Paris Climate deal to limit warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures, the risks will reduce “substantially”, the researchers wrote in Science.
Currently the world is on track for a warming of 3C which experts say is far above the 2C limit beyond which the worst effects of global warming are likely to be triggered.
The report was released ahead of November’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow when world leaders will face intense pressure to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Schoolchildren and students inspired by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg have increasingly protested in recent years about the threat they face from climate change.
Report co-author Dr Joeri Rogelj, from the Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial, said: “With this study we lay bare the fundamental injustice of climate change across generations, as well as the responsibilities of today’s adults and elders in power.
“The consequence of children suffering unprecedented sequences of climate extremes over the course of their lives can now be attributed to the inaction of today’s adults. It also shows how much can be gained by ambitious emissions reductions.”
The report, led by Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium, calculated the impact of temperatures rising from 1C to 3.5C above levels before the Industrial Revolution.
It said that under a 3.5°C warming scenario, children born in 2020 will experience 44 times more heatwaves than their grandparents.
Lead author Professor Wim Thiery from VUB said: “This basically means that people younger than 40 today will live an unprecedented life even under the most stringent climate change mitigation scenarios. Our results highlight a severe threat to the safety of young generations and call for drastic emission reductions to safeguard their future.”
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