Heat wave, inflation remind world leaders of challenges outside Ukraine

The warning messages are getting stronger. But they end up in the junk mail folder.

The record high temperatures felt around the world in recent days are a reminder of the need to deal with climate change. But world leaders are focused on more short-term crises, such as the war in Ukraine and rising inflation.

Why we wrote this

A global heat wave is reminding world leaders to work together not only on pressing short-term issues, such as Ukraine and inflation, but also on global warming.

Their policy bandwidth is taxed. But the big questions – how we balance our own immediate interests with those of the planet, or how seriously we take our responsibilities to future generations – now demand answers, because those answers will determine how effectively we deal with global warming. able to cope.

The recent heat waves have been extraordinary. It’s almost as if the planet is trying to push its way onto policymakers’ list of priorities by proclaiming that global warming is not a “long-term threat.” It’s here. It intensifies. Its effects are growing.

There is no doubt about the gravity or urgency of the war in Ukraine, or the global economic tensions that are exacerbating the conflict.

But climate scientists warn countries don’t have the luxury of choosing to tackle one crisis over another.

They have to tackle both.

London

The warning messages are getting stronger. But they end up in the junk mail folder.

Such is the fate of efforts to tackle climate change today. And the implications have become dramatically apparent in recent days with the punishing effects of record high temperatures worldwide.

But world leaders have turned their attention elsewhere – to the war in Ukraine and a spreading economic crisis.

Why we wrote this

A global heat wave is reminding world leaders to work together not only on pressing short-term issues, such as Ukraine and inflation, but also on global warming.

Those problems aren’t going away, meaning evidence of the worsening effects of climate change is straining governments’ policy space.

It has also revealed a series of deeper questions – for both governments and their citizens – about priorities and values. The most important of these: how do we balance our own interests, or those of our own nations, with those of the planet? Or our responsibility for our own generation to the next one?