News from the Columbia Climate School

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U.N. Pushes to Cut Worldwide Vulnerability to Climate Extremes Through Better Early Warnings

As I’ve been writing for 15 years, there’s a glaring climate divide on this turbulent planet. Industrial powers that prospered through a burst of fossil fuel use over the last two centuries have also shielded themselves from many climate risks through wealth and technology.

At the same time, the accumulated greenhouse gases emitted by all that combustion are jolting the climate system in dangerous ways that most threaten poor countries with almost no contribution to warming and the least capacity to withstand today’s weather extremes, let alone what’s coming.

Pope Francis touched on this divide in a tweet last year, saying, “The climate crisis always generates more serious humanitarian crises and the poor are the most vulnerable regarding extreme weather events. A solidarity founded on justice, on peace and on the unity of the human family is needed.”

One way to make progress is to be sure that forecasts of extreme weather events made possible through advances in remote sensing and supercomputing are translated into responsiveness on the ground where peril is greatest. The term of art is “anticipatory action.”

As of today, which is World Meteorological Day, the United Nations is making this a top-line priority. In a videotaped statement, Secretary-General António Guterres has said the U.N. “will spearhead new action to ensure every person on Earth is protected by early warning systems within five years.”

Read the rest of the story on the Sustain What blog. 

Science for the Planet: In these short video explainers, discover how scientists and scholars across the Columbia Climate School are working to understand the effects of climate change and help solve the crisis.
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