“This is about today”: One climate crisis happens every week

“We need to look at the risks of not investing in resilience.”

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Image: Campact / Flickr / Cc By-Nc 2.0

Wildfires, cyclones, floods, droughts: the world is experiencing one climate disaster after another but a shocking new warning from the United Nations says these events are now occurring at a staggering rate.

According to Mami Mizutori, the UN secretary-general’s special representative on disaster risk reduction, climate crisis disasters are happening every week.

As reported by The Guardian:

Catastrophes such as cyclones Idai and Kenneth in Mozambique and the drought afflicting India make headlines around the world. But large numbers of “lower impact events” that are causing death, displacement and suffering are occurring much faster than predicted, said Mami Mizutori, the UN secretary-general’s special representative on disaster risk reduction. “This is not about the future, this is about today.”

Climate-related disasters cost $520 billion a year, which doesn’t include money spent on updating the current infrastructure to try and prevent the damage. Mizutori warns that not enough is being invested into building infrastructure that can withstand climate change. Instead of focusing on adapting to the changing climate, governments have been focusing on mitigation.

Scientists and activists have been hesitant to call for adaptation because they feel it would lull people into a “false complacency.”

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The UN believes that we need to normalize new standards for “housing, road and rail networks, factories, power and water supply networks, so that they [are] less vulnerable to the effects of floods, droughts, storms and extreme weather.” “Nature-based solutions” such as forests and wetlands that form natural barriers to things like flooding should be a priority, Mizutori says.

Developing nations are particularly at risk, being even less prepared for climate disaster impacts but the developed world is not immune. A few simple changes in every country include early warnings of severe weather, better infrastructure such as flood defenses, and access to water in case of drought.

“We talk about a climate emergency and a climate crisis, but if we cannot confront this [issue of adapting to the effects] we will not survive,” Mizutori told the Guardian.

“We need to look at the risks of not investing in resilience.”

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