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Climate Change

Climate change could cause war-like devastation in Afghanistan: EU



(Last Updated On: May 7, 2023)

The consequences of climate change have the potential to unleash a level of destruction on Afghan society that is comparable to the devastation wrought by the decades of war, EU Charge d’Affaires to Afghanistan, Rafaella Iodice warned on Sunday.

The diplomat said this during a conference held by EU Delegation to Afghanistan to discuss climate change and its effects.

Afghan experts, practitioners and activists discussed the effects of climate change on urban and rural communities in Afghanistan, and elaborated on ways for communities to become more climate resilient. The conference also saw presentations from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the Agha Khan Foundation and the UN Development Programme, EU Delegation said in a press release.

“Looking ahead, the consequences of climate change have the potential to unleash a level of destruction on Afghan society that is comparable to the devastation wrought by the decades of war,” Iodice, said. “With several severe droughts over the last decade alone, the impact of climate change is already having a disastrous impact on the lives of the Afghan people. Therefore I feel there is an urgency for everybody to take these signs seriously and to take action.”

Tomas Niklasson, EU Special Envoy for Afghanistan, added: “Our discussion today is meant to re-start a conversation on climate change in Afghanistan. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of Afghan people and forge a more sustainable, resilient, and prosperous future for all.”

EU Delegation noted that agriculture forms the backbone of the Afghan economy and is highly sensitive to fluctuations in rainfall, water availability and climate change impacts.

“The last decade has seen a faster-than-average increase of temperatures in the country, leading to more frequent and intense droughts, heatwaves and flooding throughout the country. These meteorological events can have far-reaching social and economic repercussions, and they accentuate poverty and displacement that resulted from the last forty years of violence,” EU Delegation said.

Climate Change

Death toll climbs as rain continues across parts of Afghanistan



(Last Updated On: May 30, 2023)

The Ministry of Natural Disaster Management said on Tuesday that at least 24 people have died and 13 others have been injured in recent rains in 13 provinces of the country in the past 10 days.

Shafiullah Rahimi, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Natural Disasters, says that in the past 24 hours, three people died and one person was injured in heavy rain in Paktia, Paktika, Maidan Wardak and Khost provinces respectively.

In addition, 31 houses were either damaged or completely destroyed in the rain.

On Monday the Meteorological Department issued a warning of heavy rain and possible flash floods in 20 provinces over two days – including Tuesday.

“At least 24 people have died, 13 people have been injured and 120 houses have been completely destroyed in 13 provinces of the country in nearly ten days, and more than 3,000 acres of agricultural land and gardens have been destroyed,” said Rahimi.

He also said the Ministry of Natural Disaster Management in cooperation with United Nations organizations and NGOs has been able to distribute food and non-food items and cash aid to nearly 15,000 families in the past ten days. He also said the process is still underway.

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Climate Change

Pacific islands, in spotlight, to push climate change in South Korea summit



(Last Updated On: May 28, 2023)

Pacific island leaders will meet South Korea’s President Yoon Suk Yeol in Seoul on Monday, their third summit in a week with a large economy as the region seeks stronger action on climate change as it becomes a focus of geopolitical power attention.

The Pacific islands span 40 million square kilometers of ocean between the United States and Asia, and Western allies have moved to boost their engagement amid concerns over China’s security ambitions for the strategic waters and economic leverage among the small island states, Reuters reported.

Australia’s Defence Minister Richard Marles will attend the first Korea-Pacific Islands Summit, his office said on Saturday, adding it would show cooperation between the 18 members of the Pacific Island Forum and South Korea for a secure region.

“Australia welcomes Korea’s interest in deepening ties with the Pacific, and looks forward to building on our foundation of shared values to promote our mutual interest in a prosperous and resilient Pacific,” he said in a statement.

South Korea is Australia’s third-largest export market, with trade dominated by exports of gas and coal. Marles will also hold a bilateral meeting with Korean Minister of National Defense Lee Jong-sup.

Australia and New Zealand are the largest members of the forum, a bloc of mostly small island countries at risk from rising sea levels caused by climate change and reliant on aid from development partners.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged more trade and development assistance in a summit with a dozen Pacific island leaders in Papua New Guinea (PNG) on Monday. The United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken signed a defense agreement with PNG after a Pacific summit there on the same day.

The back-to-back meetings with major economies were a “massive boost for recognition of our priorities”, said Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Henry Puna in a statement.

The island states, which are seeking greater funding for climate change mitigation, have taken a collective approach to dealing with major powers.

The Pacific islands has the world’s largest tuna fishery, where South Korea’s long distance fleet has been fishing since 1958, catching 255,226 tonnes in 2021 under license schemes controlled by the forum members.

France, which has Pacific overseas territories, will also join the Seoul meeting.

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Climate Change

UN’s weather agency: 2022 was nasty, deadly, costly and hot



(Last Updated On: April 22, 2023)

Looking back at 2022′s weather with months of analysis, the World Meteorological Organization said Friday that last year really was as bad as it seemed when people were muddling through it.

And about as bad as it gets — until more warming kicks in.

Killer floods, droughts and heat waves hit around the world, costing many billions of dollars. Global ocean heat and acidity levels hit record highs and Antarctic sea ice and European Alps glaciers reached record low amounts, according to the United Nations’ climate agency’s State of Global Climate 2022 report released Friday.

While levels have been higher before human civilization, global sea height and the amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide and methane in the air reached highest modern recorded amounts, AP reported.

The key glaciers that scientists use as a health check for the world shrank by more than 1.3 meters in just one year and for the first time in history no snow survived the summer melt season on Switzerland’s glaciers, the report said.

Sea level is now rising at about double the rate it did in the 1990s, WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a news conference. Oceans can rise another half a meter to a meter by the end of century as more ice melts from ice sheets and glaciers and warmer water expands, he said.

“Unfortunately these negative trends in weather patterns and all of these parameters may continue until the 2060s” despite efforts to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases because of the pollution already spewed, Taalas said. “We have already lost this melting of this glaciers game and sea level rise game. So that’s bad news.”

Last year was close to but not quite the hottest year on record, ranking fifth or sixth hottest depending on measuring techniques. But the past eight years are the hottest eight years on record globally. The world kept that warm despite the rare third year of a La Nina, a natural temporary cooling of parts of the Pacific Ocean that changes weather worldwide.

The United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and New Zealand had their hottest years on record.

Global heat and other weather records go back to 1850.

“In 2022, continuous drought in East Africa, record breaking rainfall in Pakistan and record-breaking heat waves in China and Europe affected tens of millions, drove food insecurity, boosted mass migration, and cost billions of dollars in loss and damage,” Taalas said.

China’s heat wave was its longest and most extensive in that country’s record with its summer not just hottest on record but smashing the old record by more than 0.5 degrees Celsius, the 55-page report said.

Africa’s drought displaced more than 1.7 million people in Somalia and Ethiopia, while Pakistan’s devastating flooding — which put one-third of the nation under water at one point — displaced about 8 million people, the report said.

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