The world ought to respond with a similar urgency to climate change as it has towards the COVID-19 pandemic, the Red Cross says, cautioning that global warming is far more dangerous than COVID-19. Indeed, even as the pandemic showers its wrath upon us, environmental change isn’t taking a break from doing the needful, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said in a report.
In its information on worldwide calamities since the 1960s, the Geneva-based association explained that the world had been hit by at least 100 disasters – a significant number of them related to climate change – since the World Health Organization announced the pandemic in March 2020.
“Of course, COVID-19 is there. It’s in front of us. It is affecting our families, our friends, our relatives. It’s a very, very serious crisis the world is facing currently,” said IFRC Secretary-General Jagan Chapagain in a virtual news conference. However, he continued with a warning that IFRC expects that “Climate change will have a more significant medium and long term impact on the human life and Earth.” While referring to global warming and climate change, he said: “It will require a much more sustained action and investment to protect human life on this Earth.”
The quantity of atmosphere and climate-related calamities has increased by almost 35 per cent since the 1990s, IFRC stated, considering it a “deadly development”. Climate and atmosphere related catastrophes have taken the lives of more than 410,000 individuals over the previous decade, the majority of them in more economically weaker nations, with heatwaves and storms being the most fatal, the report said. Confronted with this danger, which literally threatens our long-term survival, IFRC approached the global nations and organizations to act with the utmost urgency required.
“These disasters are already on the doorstep in every country around the world,” the organization said. “With challenges like these, international solidarity is not only a moral responsibility but also the smart thing to do. Investing in resilience in the most vulnerable places is more cost-effective than to accept continued increases in the cost of humanitarian response, and contributes to a safer, more prosperous and sustainable world for everyone,” it added.
The IFRC assessed that around $50bn would be required every year throughout the following decade to enable 50 developing nations to adjust to the evolving climatic changes. It is also believed that a large part of the finance put so far in climate change prevention and moderation is not heading off to the nations who are the most vulnerable.
“Our first responsibility is to protect communities that are the most exposed and vulnerable to climate risks,” Chapagain said, warning that “our research demonstrates that the world is collectively failing to do this. There is a clear disconnect between where the climate risk is the greatest and where climate adaptation funding goes.”
“This disconnection could very well cost lives.”