‘Reports from the future’ warn of floods, storms and searing heat in campaign for climate change summit
The Guardian, Monday 1 September 2014 19.18 BST
The United Nations is warning of floods, storms and searing heat fromArizona to Zambia within four decades, as part of a series of imagined weather forecasts released on Monday for a campaign publicising a UN climate summit.
“Miami South Beach is under water,” one forecaster says in a first edition of “weather reports from the future“, a series set in 2050 and produced by companies including Japan’s NHK, the US Weather Channel and ARD in Germany.
The UN World Meteorological Organization, which invited well-known television presenters to make videos to be issued before the summit on 23 September, said the scenarios were imaginary but realistic for a warming world.
A Zambian forecaster, for instance, describes a severe heatwave and an American presenter says: “The mega-drought in Arizona has claimed another casualty.”
Some, however, show extreme change. One Bulgarian presenter shows a red map with temperatures of 50C (122F) – far above the temperature record for the country of 45.2C (113F) recorded in 1916.
“Climate change is affecting the weather everywhere. It makes it more extreme and disturbs established patterns. That means more disasters; more uncertainty,” the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, said in a statement.
Ban has asked world leaders to make “bold pledges” to fight climate change at the meeting in New York. The summit is meant as a step towards a deal by almost 200 nations, due by the end of 2015, to slow global warming.
A UN report last year concluded it is at least 95% probable that human activities, rather than natural variations in the climate, are the main cause of global warming since 1950.