Climate change is already making emergency response efforts around the world more difficult, more unpredictable and more complex, according to the world’s largest humanitarian network.
This warning from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) coincides with the launch of a UN Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) report that sets out the predicted impacts of both a 1.5°C and a 2.0°C rise in the global average temperature by 2099.
In 2017, IFRC and the global Red Cross and Red Crescent network responded to over 110 emergencies, reaching more than 8 million people. IFRC President Francesco Rocca said: “More than half of our operations are now in direct response to weather-related events, and many others are compounded by climate shocks and stresses. If this is the situation now, then it is difficult to comprehend the scale of crises confronting vulnerable communities in a world that is 1.5°C or 2.0°C hotter.”
Dr Maarten van Aalst, a climate scientist and director of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre based in The Hague, added: “Climate remains at the center of the international agenda. In 2018, we have seen lethal heatwaves and wildfires across the Northern Hemisphere, including in unexpected places like eastern Canada, Japan and Sweden. A rapid analysis in July by an international group of climate scientists showed that in some European locations climate change made the heatwave at least twice as likely.”