A climate emergency was declared globally and Malta followed suit almost two years ago. Despite this, our ecosystem has been quickly deteriorating due to extreme temperatures that lead to natural disasters resulting in frequent global tragedies that hit close to home and are a cause of serious worry.
Declaring a state of emergency is generally reserved for natural disasters, civil unrest or armed conflicts and it forces governments to implement drastic changes to effectively deal with crises.
The effects of this emergency can be seen almost everywhere.
To name a few countries; Turkey, Italy, Lebanon and Greece have been experiencing fatal wildfires that are destroying forests and threatening homes due to what has been described as “one of the most severe heat waves in decades”.
Raging wildfires in south-western Turkey have caused the evacuation from beaches, hotels and homes. But this didn’t prevent the tragic deaths of eight people.
The burning has been ensuing since 28th July and there have been almost a hundred separate blazes in resorts and villages on Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean coasts; eerily close to the Maltese shores.
📹| #Turkey evacuates hotels in Bodrum
— EHA News (@eha_news) July 31, 2021
Italy has also been hit by this devastating reality with a record of over 800 wildfires.
Italy’s national fire service detailed the hundreds of interventions that firefighters have carried out mainly in the south; “250 in Sicily, 130 in Puglia and Calabria, 90 in Lazio and 70 in Campania”, the service tweeted.
Lebanon battled rapidly spreading wildfires for three days straight and a 15-year-old firefighter was unfortunately killed in the process.
Meanwhile, Greece has become accustomed to forest fires during the summer months but concerns that climate change is exacerbating the situation have developed.
Fires are hitting the Greek capital, Athens and have destroyed around a dozen homes. Temperatures are expected to reach 40℃.
And it’s not just fires.
These extreme temperatures have manifested in several different natural disasters that are risking the lives of millions across the globe.
Flash-floods have destroyed the streets of China and Germany. In China, the water found its way down into the railway tunnels where it began seeping through doors and rising slowly from the ankles to the knees to the necks of terrified civilians who were standing on benches to avoid drowning.
12 people died.
In Germany, climate scientists have been shocked by the less-than-positive records that these floods have broken. At least 58 people have been killed while tens of thousands of homes were flooded and power supplies disrupted.
Areas that usually see 80 litres of water in a whole month were flooded by 148 litres of water in two days.
In Canada, extreme heat has killed dozens of people. In fact, on the 26th of July, the small mountain town of Lytton, British Columbia, became hotter than it’s ever been in Las Vegas reaching 47.9℃. Usually sweltering Texas experienced a blizzard just months earlier.
In June, temperatures hit an all-time high with 41.3℃.
This record took over a hundred years to break and it took less than a month to break it again in this second sweltering wave.
The island has also been experiencing a number of grass fires that highly suggest that they’re the result of the exaggeratedly high temperatures, although this hasn’t been confirmed.
This rapid increase in temperature is a serious cause for concern and it seems as if nothing is being done besides the revision of feedback of a decarbonisation plan that has until 2050 to reach its targets.
Lovin Malta reached out to representatives of the Environment Ministry, requesting information on what concrete plans it has to address the climate emergency. Instead, Lovin Malta was directed to the 2050 strategy.
This climate emergency has been declared in Malta for almost two years but the government is yet to implement major policies that are being proposed through schemes and strategies tailor-made to reach a distanced target date of carbon-neutrality.
Meanwhile, this target date is one that is easy to hide behind because by 2050, politicians who fail to act on and meet the targets will either be dead or retired, virtually meaning that they are escaping accountability.
Besides this, according to the United Nations, there are 11 years left to prevent the irreversible damage from climate change so the 2050 target date is lacking the urgency that this crisis necessitates.
The steps taken during the COVID-19 pandemic to produce safe and effective vaccines highlighted what the world is capable of doing when it fights together for a common cause, it’s high-time that this same energy is put into the global plans to curb the ongoing environmental catastrophe.
What do you think should be done about this climate emergency?