While Donald Trump mocked the US’ deep freeze after the historic “bomb cyclone” and wished for some “good old global warming” to fight bone chilling temperatures sweeping across the US – science actually linked extreme cold snaps with global warming. The cold shock off the US’ eastern coast also killed sharks and frozen iguanas were seen falling from trees in Florida. At the opposite end of the globe temperatures in the Sydney suburb of Penrith reached 47.3°C, just a bit short of surpassing the suburb’s hottest day ever on record.
Meanwhile, the US’ Interior Department has issued orders to rescind several Obama era climate conservation policies. But 200 of the largest finance firms – under the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) – have pledged to annually report the risks climate change poses to their operations, and steps they would take to minimize their environmental impact. Together they manage assets worth over $81trillion.
Earth may ‘become a desert by 2050’, massive aridity in store?
Scientists have warned that more than 25% of the world’s land area – including southern Europe, South East Asia, Southern Africa and Central America – could turn “significantly drier” if the world fails to restrict temperature rise to under 2°C. This could be disastrous as aridification promotes loss of vegetation (critical for absorbing CO2), increases the chances of wildfires and it could make water even scarcer for farming and human consumption. However the impact would be much reduced if global warming is limited to 1.5°C.