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Editorial

The humanitarian and Economic Toll from Global Warming: In Recognition of World Environment Day

In recognition of World Environment Day this month, it’s essential to reflect on the achievements and commitments made by both public and private organisations worldwide. For instance, Delta Capita recently attained EcoVadis Gold status, a testament to our dedication to sustainable business practices and to reducing our environmental footprint.

Contributor

Diane brings over 30 years of global experience in business transformation, operational and process redesign, sourcing, procurement and ESG.

Diane Eshleman
Global Chief Sustainability Officer

World Environment Day (WED), celebrated every June 5th, is a pivotal global platform for raising awareness and taking action on pressing environmental issues. Established by the United Nations in 1974, WED has grown into a vehicle for encouraging worldwide environmental consciousness and driving efforts toward sustainability. This year's theme of “Our Land, Our Future” underscores the reality that there is no “Planet B” and how actions taken today have serious implications for tomorrow.

In recognition of World Environment Day this month, it’s essential to reflect on the achievements and commitments made by both public and private organisations worldwide. For instance, Delta Capita recently attained EcoVadis Gold status, a testament to our dedication to sustainable business practices and to reducing our environmental footprint. This recognition highlights our commitment to environmental stewardship and aligns with the core values celebrated on World Environment Day.

Extreme Weather and Carbon Emissions: A Concerning Correlation

The link between carbon emissions and extreme weather events is becoming increasingly evident. According to a 2023 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), human-induced global warming is accelerating the frequency and intensity of extreme weather patterns across the globe. Carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and industrial activities are major contributors to this trend, trapping heat in the atmosphere and driving climatic changes.

Recent research highlights a disturbing rise in the occurrence of severe weather events such as hurricanes, floods and heatwaves. In 2022 alone, the United States experienced a record number of weather-related disasters, including catastrophic tornadoes in the Midwest and South. These events not only disrupt daily life but also pose severe threats to public safety and infrastructure.

In India, rising temperatures have led to more intense and frequent heatwaves, significantly impacting agriculture and water resources. According to a 2022 study by the Indian Meteorological Department, the frequency of heatwaves in India has increased by nearly 50% in the last decade.  

Similarly, Brazil has witnessed unprecedented flooding, with the Amazon region experiencing its worst flood in over a century in 2023, displacing thousands of people and devastating ecosystems.

The Realities We Cannot Ignore

The economic and humanitarian costs of extreme weather are staggering. The World Bank estimates that climate-related disasters could push an additional 132 million people into poverty by 2030. The economic toll is equally devastating, with the United States alone experiencing economic losses exceeding $165 billion from weather-related disasters in 2022.

In regions like India, where agriculture is a major economic sector, extreme weather events severely affect crop yields, leading to food shortages and financial losses for farmers. A 2022 study by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute found that heatwaves reduced wheat yields by up to 10%, exacerbating food insecurity in vulnerable communities. In Brazil, the combined impact of droughts and floods has severely disrupted the coffee industry, a vital part of the national economy, resulting in significant financial losses and impacting global coffee prices.

In the United States, the increase in tornadoes and other severe storms not only causes direct damage but also places a significant burden on emergency services and disaster relief efforts. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the 2023 tornado season saw unprecedented activity, with over 1,200 tornadoes reported, resulting in significant loss of life and property.

Regions Significantly Impacted: A Global Perspective

Certain regions are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of global warming and extreme weather. India faces extreme heat and erratic monsoon patterns, Brazil grapples with both severe droughts and catastrophic floods, and the United States contends with a rise in tornadoes and hurricanes. These regions highlight the urgent need for global action to mitigate climate change and build resilience against its impacts.

As we commemorate World Environment Day this month, it is crucial to recognise the profound impact of global warming on extreme weather patterns and the associated economic and humanitarian costs. At Delta Capita, we are proud of our EcoVadis Gold status, reflecting our commitment to sustainability and the urgent need for collective action in combating climate change.

To learn more about how you can contribute to these efforts, visit UN World Environment Day and join us in making a difference.

References

  1. IPCC, "Climate Change 2023: The Physical Science Basis," 2023.  
  1. NOAA, "Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters," 2023.  
  1. BBC, "Brazil's Amazon Hit by Worst Flood in Over a Century," 2023.  
  1. World Bank, "Climate Change: The Economic Impact," 2023.  
  1. NOAA, "Economic Impact of Weather Disasters in the U.S.," 2023.
  1. Indian Agricultural Research Institute, "Impact of Heatwaves on Agriculture in India," 2022.  
  1. Bloomberg, "Brazil’s Coffee Crisis Amidst Extreme Weather," 2023.  
  1. NOAA, "2023 Tornado Season: Record Activity and Impact," 2023.