News ID: 276892
Published: 0725 GMT November 17, 2020

Climate change bigger threat than COVID: Red Cross

Climate change bigger threat than COVID: Red Cross
GETTY IMAGES
Behind a drained carp pond, water vapor from the cooling towers of the Janschwalde lignite-fired power plant of Lausitz Energie Bergbau AG (LEAG) rises into the cloudy autumn sky in Brandenburg, Germany.

The world should react with the same urgency to climate change as to the coronavirus crisis, the Red Cross said Tuesday, warning that global warming poses a greater threat than COVID-19.

Even as the pandemic rages, climate change is not taking a break from wreaking havoc, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies (IFRC) said in a new report, AFP reported.

In the report, on global catastrophes since the 1960s, the Geneva-based organization pointed out that the world had been hit by more than 100 disasters – many of them climate related – since the World Health Organization declared the pandemic in March.

More than 50 million people had been affected, it said.

"Of course, the COVID is there, it's in front of us, it is affecting our families, our friends, our relatives," IFRC Secretary-General Jagan Chapagain told a virtual press conference.

"It's a very, very serious crisis the world is facing currently," he said of the pandemic, which has already claimed more than 1.3 million lives.

But he warned that the IFRC expects "climate change will have a more significant medium and long term impact on the human life and on Earth."

And while it looked increasingly likely that one or several vaccines would soon become available against Covid-19, Chapagain stressed that "unfortunately there is no vaccine for climate change".

 

No vaccine for climate change

 

When it comes to global warming, he warned, "it will require a much more sustained action and investment to really protect the human life on this Earth."

The frequency and intensity of extreme weather and climate-related events had already increased considerably in recent decades, said the IFRC.

In 2019 alone, the world was hit by 308 natural disasters – 77 percent of them climate or weather-related – killing some 24,400 people.

The number of climate and weather-related disasters has been steadily climbing since the 1960s, and has surged by nearly 35 percent since the 1990s, IFRC said.

 

   
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