Climate Action

How has global warming fuelled extreme weather this year? 5 climate change stories to read this week

Cars are seen besieged by urban flooding, not an uncommon sight as a result of the impacts of global warming.

Mass migration, the energy transition and Western US megadrought - here are the latest stories on climate change. Image: Unsplash/Chris Gallagher

Tom Crowfoot
Writer, Forum Agenda
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Climate Crisis

This article is part of: Centre for Nature and Climate

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  • This weekly roundup brings you some key climate change stories from the past seven days.
  • Top stories this week: Climate disasters; Emission categories; Mass migration; Jobs in the energy transition; What is a megadrought?

1. Climate change: How global warming fuelled extreme climate disasters in 2022

This year has seen a variety of extreme climate disasters, from flooding in Pakistan to wildfires across Europe. Climate change has exacerbated the intensity of these events, as global warming increases the evaporation of surface waters into the atmosphere, drying areas with little rain and increasing rainfall in others.

A map of the world showing how global temperatures this year have been warmer than average.
The June-August 2022 global land and ocean surface temperature was 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit (0.89 Celsius) above the 20th-century average of 60.1 F (15.6 C). Image: NOAA

Warmer air increases the amount of water that the atmosphere can hold, meaning more moisture is taken from the surface. Atmospheric moisture has increased by 5% to 20% in general compared with the pre-1970s.

Read more about the impact of global warming on our planet.

2. What is the difference between Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, and what are companies doing to cut all three?

The Scope 1, 2 and 3 system has been developed by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. In order to make the reductions in emissions required to limit global temperature rises to well below 2°C – the central aim of the Paris Agreement – the categories allow businesses and organizations to better measure their progress.

A graphic depicting scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.
Scope 3 emissions are nearly always the big one. Image: Greenhouse Gas Protocol

Scope 1 are 'direct' emissions, such as energy a factory uses to make products. Scope 2 are 'indirect' emissions, such as the emissions created from the production of the energy that that factory uses. Scope 3 are also indirect emissions, but they are produced by the customers or suppliers.

Learn more about the different scopes of emissions.

Have you read?

3. Climate change means mass migration. We can make it fair and rehome millions, says author Gaia Vince

As many as 35% of people expect they will be displaced in the next 25 years due to climate change, according to a survey conducted for the World Economic Forum by Ipsos. And in the latest Book Club Podcast, environmental journalist and author of Nomad Century, Gaia Vince explores how the world can rehome these people and protect the planet.

A chart showing how the number of climate migrants has increased since 2012.
The number of forcibly displaced people has doubled over the past decade. Image: UNHCR Global Trends Report 2021

We are not doomed. There are solutions we can take which will help as many people as possible survive - and it's an abdication of responsibility to not discuss them.

Gaia Vince

Find out what solutions Gaia Vince has for the millions of current and future climate migrants.

Discover

How is the World Economic Forum fighting the climate crisis?

4. What does the green transition mean for energy jobs?

Today, around 65 million people work in the energy industry worldwide. The energy transition means that now more than half of these are clean energy workers, according to a recent report by the International Energy Agency.

A chart shows how jobs in the renewable energy industry are divided between sources in 2019.
Clean energy workers now account for more than half of workers in the energy industry. Image: IEA

If current climate pledges are met, the IEA predicts that another 13 million workers could be employed in the clean energy sector by 2030.

Discover more about the impact of the energy transition on energy workers.

5. What is a megadrought, and how is it impacting major regions in the United States?

A megadrought is a drought that persists for decades. The longer the drought, the more devastating the effects are on the surrounding ecosystem.

A map of Western US, showing which areas are facing the worst levels of drought.
Many areas of California are facing a severe water shortage, with residents being ordered to ration their water use. Image: Drought Monitor

A UCLA study published earlier this year, found that a drought in the American West and Southwest is the most extreme megadrought in the last 1,200 years. For California, the effects have been severe, ranging from citizens being forced to ration their water to farmers resorting to growing less water-intensive crops.

The cause of this megadrought? Climate change - as this megadrought can directly be attributed to high temperatures and low precipitation levels according to the UCLA study.

Read more about the Western US megadrought.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

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