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The scientists said such heat early in the year was especially harmful to people, who were less prepared than in summer. Farmers were already suffering under a prolonged drought and the heatwave struck at an important time in the crop-growing season, particularly for wheat.

Extreme temperatures in the region are increasing faster than predicted by climate models – a problem that worries scientists – and intensive research is in progress to understand the reasons. Human-caused global heating was already known to be increasing the severity and frequency of heatwaves. But the number of extreme events that would have been essentially impossible without the climate crisis is rising, destroying lives and livelihoods across the planet.

In April, scientists showed that the devastating drought in the Horn of Africa would not have happened without global heating. A Guardian analysis in 2022 found that at least a dozen serious events, from killer heatwaves to broiling seas, would have been all but impossible without human-caused global heating.

“The heatwave was a rare event in current climates, but an event of this extremity would have been almost impossible in the past colder climates, and we will see more intense and more frequent heatwaves in the future,” said Dr Sjoukje Philip at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, one of the researchers who conducted the study as part of the World Weather Attribution collaboration.

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Comment by Michael Grove on December 3, 2023 at 11:23
With promises of the “most inclusive UN Climate Change Conference to date” they are hoping to make their voices heard on the biggest challenges the world faces.
For many, climate justice, equitable representation and funding for vulnerable communities will be measures of success in Dubai. But, as controversy over fossil fuel influence rises, what does a successful COP28 look like and is it still achievable?

COP28 should heed the calls of Indigenous people
The expectations of Indigenous peoples’ are clear, according to Joseph Itongwa, regional coordinator for the Indigenous Peoples and Local Network for the Management of Forest Ecosystems of Central Africa (REPALEAC).
“Prioritise our rights, safeguard traditional territories and align climate funds with Glasgow Pledge commitments.”
This pledge, agreed at COP26 in Glasgow in 2021, saw countries reaffirm the duty of developed nations to provide developing nations with climate funding. Direct access to these funds, in line with the commitments of this Glasgow Pledge, must be put into practice this year, Itongwa says.
“As a DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) Indigenous leader, envisioning a sustainable future, I urge COP28 to heed the calls of Indigenous people.”
To combat climate change effectively, elevate traditional indigenous knowledge, secure territories, and support us as the guardians.
Joseph Itongwa
Regional coordinator for REPALEAC
Itongwa highlights the specific role of Indigenous women in biodiversity conservation - such as the women already working in the Congo Basin to maintain the forest and biodiversity. Direct funding is needed for these women in Central Africa to help strengthen their local initiatives.

Ensuring voices from a wide variety of Indigenous communities are included in the negotiations and decisions is vitally important to maintaining the health of the planet, according to Itongwa.
“To combat climate change effectively, elevate traditional indigenous knowledge, secure territories, and support us as the guardians,” he says.
Voices of science and youth
Emma Heiling is the founder and CEO of ClimaTalk, a youth-led non-profit that demystifies climate policy and empowers young people in the fight against climate change. The international organisation is heading to Dubai with the aim of making COP28 as accessible and understandable for young people as possible, encouraging them to get involved with international climate policy.
“For us, COP28 would be a success if not the strength of lobbies, the power of money, and the short-sightedness of politics, but rather the voices of science, youth and those from the most affected areas were to determine the outcome,” Heiling says.
She emphasises the need for intergenerational justice, climate justice and for the countries most responsible for the climate crisis to spearhead systemic change at the UN climate conference.
Comment by Michael Grove on March 24, 2024 at 10:00
At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in 2012 on whether the US should accede to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS-III) the then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, scoffed at nationalistic fears on the Right of American politics that the UN’s “black helicopters are on the way” – the far Right’s conspiracy theory that the UN is seeking to be a World Government and is gathering military forces to take over Washington. As ludicrous as the fears are, the fact that the Republican Party is influenced by them explains much about US reluctance to join UN efforts to garner international support for protecting global commons such as the deep seabed outside territorial waters.

This reluctance is just one example of an habitual US attitude to global agreements which extends beyond the seas to the world at large and its currently precarious situation; a situation that will be exacerbated if Donald Trump regains the White House in November.

The UN’s efforts, thwarted by the US, to protect the oceans is a worrying example. The UN has been trying for decades to achieve international agreement on the matter. As marine technologies have advanced, making the prospect of deep sea mining a reality, so environmentalists have raised major concerns about the damage this would do to ocean ecosystems.

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