Hotter Planet, Humanitarian Crisis: El Niño, the ‘New Normal’ and the Need for Climate Justice

Report for ActionAid (November 2016)

The world is enduring an unprecedented combination of climate related crises. We are living through what will almost certainly be the hottest year on record, and have faced one of the strongest El Niño weather events of all time. In 2016, the Earth has recorded the highest ever level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which are set to rise still further. The 2015-16 El Niño may yet prove to have caused the biggest drought that the world has ever seen and many countries are enduring their worst droughts in decades, affecting hundreds of millions of people. The Paris Agreement on climate change was celebrated with much fanfare less than a year ago, but the lack of an adequate response to the global El Niño drought shows that the world is not yet willing or able to respond properly to an actual climate crisis. The report argues that the world must now act to further cut greenhouse gas emissions, and that, since climate-induced extreme weather events are likely to become the “new normal,” far greater efforts are needed to prevent these from becoming humanitarian crises. Governments, donors, climate and humanitarian agencies must work together to prepare for and respond to an increasingly climate-chaotic world.

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