Extreme floods in Pakistan linked directly to climate change

The unprecedented floods in Pakistan this month have displaced millions, costed $10 billion in damages, and killed thousands, and this will likely become more frequent in the future. Warmer air can hold more moisture, so, as the earth heats up, monsoons will be able to hold more water and therefore lead to heavier rainfall. Additionally, higher temperatures are melting Pakistan’s glaciers, which contains more ice than anywhere else in the world besides the poles, at an increasing rate. Naturally, this also contributed to more severe floods. However, Pakistan’s per capita carbon dioxide emissions are around 5 times lower than the global average, demonstrating that people with the smallest carbon footprints suffer the most from climate change.

Beavers: friend or foe?

Beavers have commonly been considered destructive, especially by farmers, as they often flood areas that people want dry. Therefore, the US government, for instance, killed 25,000 beavers in 2021. However, research suggests that beavers may be crucial for combatting climate change. The wetlands they create by damming rivers serve as a buffer against wildfires, floods, and droughts. Furthermore, these wetlands harbour many species, which means they also help to tackle the biodiversity crisis. Lastly, beaver dams allow small streams to grow both wider and deeper, and since deeper water is cooler, dams can directly cool the temperature around them by over 2°C. Fortunately, many people have started to realise the benefits of beavers and are learning to live alongside them.

China feels the power of climate change

This summer, an extreme heatwave that hit Chongqing, a city in southwestern China, caused temperatures to rise 7°C higher than usual at 45°C. Experts say that this was because disruptions to the jet stream caused warm air, which normally stays at sea, to reach far inland. This heatwave led to severe droughts, shrinking the Yangtze to a fraction of its typical width and depth, meaning hydroelectric power plants generated only 20% of their normal output. Naturally, this caused power shortages, but not only in the southwest, but also along the coastal regions, because they import electricity from the southwest. Consequently, there were significant disruptions to economic activity: manufacturers like Foxconn and Toyota halted production while Tesla experienced supply-chain difficulties.

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