Climate Change: More weather

The recent cyclones and floods in Mozambique have brought new pictures of human misery. Women and children clinging to treetops to escape the torrential waters. Several hundred people died, and the damage is likely to have put back economic development by years or even decades. Such severe floods; the cyclone in Orissa, India; hurricanes in Central America; storms in Venezuela and France; and other similar natural catastrophes have once again raised the question of whether these events are related to global warming and climate change.

The World Today Published 1 May 2000 Updated 27 October 2020 3 minute READ

Saleemul Huq

Director, International Centre for Climate Change and Development

In a strictly narrow causal sense, particular severe or extreme weather events cannot be related to global climate change. As Mike Hulme of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia said in The Guardian newspaper on 15 March, ‘it is not possible to prove or disprove that a given severe weather event only occurred because of a rapidly warming global climate’.

In its forthcoming third assessment report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which brings together the world’s leading climate scientists, is likely to reassert that there is no clear scientifically proven causal relationship between greenhouse gas emissions and severe weather.

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