Claire's blog

A climate of crisis - floods, drought and wildfires around the world

Houses submerged as water level rises in the Ganges

Just a few years ago, the impacts of climate change had to be looked for: now, as extreme weather events come frequently and ever more destructive, they are hard to keep up with. However, beyond Harvey, many have not made the headlines. This is a brief summary of some of the extraordinary weather impacts across four continents in the last couple of months, as we continue to 'load the dice' for catastrophe by altering our climate.

For ongoing updates, follow the Campaign against Climate Change on Twitter. We also recommend the monthly bulletins from The World at 1C.

Floods cause devastation in India, Nepal and Bangladesh

Seasonal monsoon rains regularly cause floods and loss of life in South Asia, but the floods that have swept north western India, Nepal and Bangladesh this year are exceptionally devastating. At the time of writing the UN OCHA are reporting that 41 million have been affected by the floods, with over 900 killed. Other reports from officials are that the death toll is already over a thousand. This could increase as rains continue in some flood-affected areas and flood waters move south.

Villagers are taken to a relief camp in Assam, India

The scale is vast: in Bangladesh alone, a third of the land has been inundated in the worst floods for 100 years. The loss of crops as well as homes threatens longer term food supplies.

Tens of thousands of houses, as well as schools and hospitals, have been destroyed and displaced people in all the nations affected are in urgent need of life-saving support. Governments and aid agencies are struggling to provide shelter, food and clean water, while fearing outbreaks of diseases such as cholera and dysentery which frequently follow floods. Contaminated water and limited shelter and facilities put young children particularly at risk.

New research shows trade unions getting to grips with climate change

Despite being faced with many immediate battles to fight, it is to the credit of many trade unions that they are also addressing the long term wellbeing of their members, and of future generations, by introducing policies to tackle climate change. A new report providing the first ever overview of the climate change policies of 17 major UK trade unions could help raise wider awareness of this important work.

The author, Catherine Hookes, is studying for a masters degree at Lund University, Sweden, and her research drew on a comprehensive web review of policies in these unions, going into more depth for many of the unions, interviewing key figures and activists. The research was facilitated by the Campaign against Climate Change.

For anyone within the trade union movement concerned about climate change (or for campaigners wishing to engage with trade unions on these issues) this report is of practical use in understanding the context, the diversity of different trade unions' approaches, and the progress that has been made in the campaign for a just transition to a low carbon economy.

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