The Stream

Will extreme weather spur world leaders to act on climate change?

On Tuesday, June 26 at 19:30 GMT:
It’s been a long and painful summer for much of the world. Blistering heatwaves in Europe, Asia and the Americas have left thousands dead, buckled roads and runways and fueled wildfires and floods across the globe.

Scientists overwhelmingly attribute the widespread heatwave to climate change. They warn that rising global emissions from fossil fuels will continue to warm the planet and spur even more extreme weather events.

But many countries and populations continue to be surprised and unprepared for what they face. In wealthier nations such as the U.S. and in Europe, this is in part because politicians are worried about the fallout of limiting oil and gas development amid a global energy crisis and high fuel prices.

It’s been worse for poorer nations that have borne the brunt of climate change for years. They need to invest in technology and resilient infrastructure to adapt to an increase in floods, heat waves and cyclones. But funding long pledged by richer countries has not materialised. Without it, some 62 million South Asians alone are expected to be displaced by climate change in the next three decades, according to one report.

In the coming years, leaders face tough choices. Limiting emissions will be costly politically, but climate change experts say doing nothing will cause even more suffering. Speaking this month, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned that “half of humanity” is now in the “danger zone” when it comes to droughts, extreme storms, floods and wildfires. He added that, “No nation is immune. Yet we continue to feed our fossil fuel addiction. We have a choice. Collective action or collective suicide. It is in our hands.

In this episode of The Stream we ask, Will extreme weather spur world leaders to act on climate change? Join the conversation.

In this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:

Kendra Pierre-Louis, @KendraWrites
Senior Climate Reporter, How to Save a Planet (A Gimlet & Spotify podcast)

Nausheen Anwar, @nha3383
Professor of City and Regional Planning, Institute of Business Administration (IBA)

Dr. Mariam Zachariah, @ZachariahMariam
RA, Grantham Institute- Climate Change and the Environment of Imperial College