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It’s getting hot!

2017 was the third hottest year ever recorded, after 2016 and 2015, by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). IGR spoke about that last January (read the article here). Sadly, its place has been taken by 2018.


The warmest  month of July since 1880

This year has confirmed the acceleration of climate change, with an average global temperature in July of 0.77°C higher than the climatological reference calculated over the period 1951-1980. As shown by recent studies by the NASA, it is the warmest month of July since 1880, following 2017 and 2016.

Fire in California – July 2018

This increase in the average temperature generates stronger and more frequent heatwaves, as has been observed this summer in Western and Northern Europe, California and North Africa … along with disastrous fires.

The Danube at Budapest – August 2018

Another well-known impact is ice melt and, what may appear more surprising, more intense rainfall: the atmosphere may contain more water vapour as it becomes warmer.

The intensification of the greenhouse effect caused by our massive emissions of gases bearing the same name (mostly CO2 and methane) is the main cause of these climatic changes. Some scientists have predicted that even if countries succeed in reducing these emissions and that warming is limited to an increase of +2°C, the direct and indirect impacts will finally result in a global stabilisation of +4 or +5°C.

Has Earth reached breaking point?

A warmer world has become a reality and extreme climatic events more visible. Other phenomena are also at work, more insidiously, like drought, soil salinization and rising sea levels. They increase the exposure of certain populations dependent on farmland and rivers for their survival, while the risks of conflict are greater.

Climate change and conflict

The UN Security Council has taken note of this major challenge and took the initiative of organising a debate on 11 July on the causal link between climate change and the occurrence or aggravation of conflicts. A majority of member States asked the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, to draft an annual report to take stock of this new geopolitical reality. This document should detail the risks linked to climate change in areas subject to conflict as well as in stable areas. However, opinion on this delicate subject is not unanimous. It still appears difficult to go further than observation and no concrete measure has been taken as yet.

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