Climate Change And Its Effects On Crisis Zones

                                                                                                                                  Tuğçe AŞAN

Climate change is one of the major problem that threatens the whole world in the 21st century. Scientists estimate that the world has warmed by 2.12 degrees Fahrenheit (1.18 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century. With the exception of 1998, 19 of the warmest years on record occurred after 2000. According to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), there is evidence that the warming seen in the last 50 years is largely due to human activities.

Climate is the long-term weather that exists in a region or country, unlike weather conditions that express events such as average temperature and precipitation over time, daily temperature, precipitation or storm, and are affected by a number of factors.

Extreme weather conditions are the occurrence of weather events in the region at very high intensify. Extreme weather conditions include heat waves, droughts and hurricanes or other ‘megastorms’. Extreme weather conditions cause wet or dry seasons, the conversion of fertile land to desert (also called desertification), and sea level rise.

Crisis zones; It can be defined as sensitive areas where people living in some countries, regions or border lines in the world have difficulty in accessing basic human needs, social life does not go in the normal course, and some security problems are experienced or may be experienced due to reasons such as war, conflict, armed groups or natural disasters.

While most countries on the African continent are struggling to survive with disasters such as famine, water scarcity and drought due to climate change, extreme heat in Europe, floods in Pakistan and intense droughts continue in Brazil. However, the Russia-Ukraine war, which started on February 24, 2022 with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, caused an energy crisis around the world. The United Nations Climate Summit (COP27), which is held regularly every year, gathered in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, with the participation of world leaders this year to talk about the disasters caused by climate change and to find solutions. The main goal of COP27 is to reduce emissions, help countries cope with the impacts of climate change, and support developing countries in tackling these challenges.

Climate Change and Crisis Zones

While climate change affects the whole world, its effects are felt more shockingly and deeply in crisis zones. The already fragile social structure and the need for humanitarian aid for many people are exacerbated by natural disasters caused by climate change. This year, heavy rains together with the severe monsoon climate that has been effective in Pakistan since June caused flooding in the country. The country has received 2.9 times the precipitation average of the last 30 years.Whereas people had difficulty in meeting their health needs due to the damage caused by the flood, the houses where many people live, the agricultural areas where they live, roads and bridges were seriously damaged. The Pakistani government has described the situation as a “catastrophic”. According to Pakistani government estimates, approximately 33 million people across the country were affected by the disaster. According to the Global Climate Risk Index 2021 and Climate Observation, Pakistan is among the 10 countries most affected by extreme weather events.

In Ethiopia in 2020, more than 1 million people lost crops to locusts, at least in part attributed to climate change, and 11 million are expected to face crisis levels of food insecurity. Later in the year, a conflict erupted in the Tigray region of the country, pushing the population further into crisis.

The horn of Africa is experiencing one of the worst droughts in recent history. About 16 million Somalian, Ethiopians and Kenyans urgently need food. The COVID-19 pandemic and the disruption of food production and supply chain structure by decades of conflict and the war in Ukraine are making things worse.

About 40% of the total population in the Horn of Africa is malnourished because a person is malnourished and does not receive enough food to fight disease, but in some countries, such as Somalia, the figure rises to 70%. In this way, malnutrition makes children especially vulnerable to diseases, as their immune systems weaken, making them vulnerable. Even when successfully treated, severe acute malnutrition can severely hinder a child’s physical and mental development.

The UN’s statement that “famine is at the door” in Somalia is an indicator of the climate disaster facing the East African region. Somalia is entering its fifth season in a row without adequate rainfall. Currently, more than 7 million people in Somalia are living in extreme hunger, while more than 81,000 are struggling to survive under conditions such as famine. With the triple impact of climate disasters in Somalia for the last 30 years, agriculture and livestock have been destroyed in the country, while the impact of the climate crisis is causing families and children to leave their homes in search of food, water and survival. Travels made for this purpose are generally dangerous, but they can lead to the danger of extortion or violence in families. The displacement of large numbers of people can lead to competition with local communities for resources such as water and land, sometimes causing conflict or exacerbating already existing conflict.

Kenya and Ethiopia are also experiencing climate-related crises. In Kenya, drought has killed millions of animals and devastated agricultural production. As a result, 3.5 million people are now severely food insecure.

Collectively, Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya are home to 2.35 percent of the world’s population but emit only 0.1 percent of total global CO2 emissions (emission levels are from the Global Atmosphere Research Emissions Database, EDGAR). Millions of families living in East Africa will continue to struggle with climate-related disasters unless urgent climate action is taken.

Africa’s Sahel region covers 10 countries and is home to a population of 135 million. Countries that make up the Sahel region: Burkina Faso, Chad, Eritrea, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Sudan. They share one thing in common: they are all disproportionately affected by climate change.

Climate change is causing temperatures in the Sahel to rise 1.5 times faster than the global average. The resulting drought and flood cycle is increasing the rate of desertification. More than 30 million people currently need emergency food aid.

The 10 countries that make up the Sahel region are home to 2.19 percent of the global population but contribute only 0.13 percent of all CO2 emissions of the planet.

Conclusion

Global climate change is an crucial  factor that can lead to an increase in the severity of the crisis in crisis regions. Although crisis regions worldwide contribute slightly more than 5 percent to total carbon emissions, they feel the effects of climate change deeply due to drought, heavy rains, famine, etc. This unequal distribution of the impact of climate change in the world imposes important missions on other countries. In this context, in order to coexist in a more livable world, every state must fulfill its duty in the fight against climate change.

Preferences

Aşan, T. (2022), “Pakistan’da Sel Felaketi”

Rescue.org, “How Climate Change Drives Humanitarian Crises”, Date of Access:21 November 2022, https://www.rescue.org/article/how-climate-change-drives-humanitarian-crises

Rescue.org, “Five Places Bearing The Brunt Of The Climate Crisis”, Date of Access:21 November 2022, https://www.rescue.org/article/five-places-bearing-brunt-climate-crisis

BBC, “COP27:BM İklim Zirvesi Hakkında Ne Kadar Bilgi Sahibisiniz?”, Date of Access:22 November 2022, https://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler-dunya-63602633

Save The Children, “Somalia”, Date of Access:23 November 2022, https://www.savethechildren.org/us/where-we-work/somalia

Save The Children, “Hunger In The Horn Of The Africa”, Date of Access:23 November 2022, https://www.savethechildren.org/us/what-we-do/emergency-response/horn-of-africa-climate-crisis

Arslan, E. (2021), IPCC 2021 Translation of the Climate Change Report,Date of Access:23 November 2022 https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2021/03/c1-introduction-tr.pdf

ICRC, “Climate Change In Mali: We drilled deep but found nothing”,Date of Access:23 November 2022, https://www.icrc.org/en/document/climate-change-mali-we-drilled-deep-found-nothing

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