Environmental review of 2022: another mile on the ‘highway to climate hell’
Deadly floods in Pakistan and record heat in the UK were just two symptoms this year of the global crisis
The effects of the climate crisis were clearer than ever in 2022. The Pakistan floods were preceded by a searing heatwave that also hit India and was made 30 times more likely by global heating.
Dangerous heatwaves also engulfed parts of China, Europe, and the US, with scientists saying a northern hemisphere summer as hot as 2022 would have been “virtually impossible” without global heating, and led to a record drought. In the UK, temperatures rose above 40C for the first time, obliterating records and shocking scientists.
In the US, Hurricane Ian became the most deadly hurricane since Katrina in 2005, while the American west continued to struggle with the most extreme megadrought in at least 1,200 years. In Australia, hot seas led to the Great Barrier Reef suffering its fourth mass bleaching in just seven years. Flooding also struck around the world, including Nigeria, Australia, Thailand and Vietnam, and Venezuela.
In August, a Guardian analysis revealed how people across the world are losing their lives and livelihoods to heatwaves, floods, wildfires and droughts, all made more deadly and more frequent by the climate crisis. Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s climate minister, said in September: “This dystopia is on our doorstep; it’s going to be next in their country [in the global north]. If you’re not understanding that it’s right here, right now, then you’re really sleepwalking into annihilation.”
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