Climate change impacts ‘heading into uncharted territory’, warns UN chief — Global Issues

The researchers behind”Unity in Science”, coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), studied a number of factors associated with the climate crisis – from CO2 emissions, global temperature rise and climate projections; to “tipping points”, urban climate change, the impact of extreme weather and early warning systems.

One of the report’s key conclusions is that more ambitious action is needed if we are to avoid the increasingly devastating physical and socioeconomic impacts of climate change. planet.

Greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise to record highs, and fossil fuel emissions rates now above pre-pandemic levels, after temporary declines due to lockdowns, show a huge gap between aspiration and reality. economic.
Cities, which house billions of people, are responsible for up to 70% of anthropogenic emissions: they will face increasing socioeconomic impacts, which vulnerable populations most hurt will have to face.

To achieve the goal of Paris AgreementSpecifically, to keep global temperatures from rising to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions need to be seven times higher, the report said.

High likelihood of climate ‘tipping point’

Floods inundate Balochistan province, Pakistan.

If the world reaches a climate “tipping point,” we will face irreversible changes to the climate system. The report says that this cannot be ruled out: the past seven years have been the warmest period on record, and it is almost a 50-50 chance that, over the next five years, the average annual temperature will be temporarily 1 percent higher. .5°C compared to 1850-1900 average.

The report’s authors point out the recent devastation floods in pakistanwhich has seen up to a third of the country be underwater, as an example of extreme weather phenomena in different parts of the world this year.

Other examples include prolonged and severe drought in China, the Horn of Africa and the United States, wildfires, and major storms.

WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said: “Climate science can increasingly demonstrate that many of the extreme weather events we are experiencing are increasingly likely to occur as a result of climate change. man-made”.

“We have seen this many times this year, with tragic consequences. It is more important than ever that we scale action on early warning systems to build resilience to current and future climate risks in vulnerable communities.” .

‘Early warning saves lives’

Tsunami warning sign (file)

A WMO delegation led by Mr. Taalas was joined by Selwin Hart, Assistant Secretary-General for Climate Action, and high-level representatives of UN partners, development and humanitarian agencies, and communities. Diplomatic Cooperatives and WMO Members at a two-day event in Cairo last week.

The meeting has advanced planning to ensure that early warnings reach everyone over the next five years. This initiative was announced on World Meteorological Day – 23 March 2022 – by the United Nations Secretary General António Guterreswho said that “early warning saves lives”.

The Early Warning System has been recognized as a proven, effective and viable climate change measure that saves lives and provides a tenfold return on investment.

‘Still astray’

Mr Guterres said on Tuesday the harmful effects of climate change were sending us into ‘uncharted territories of destruction’.

Responding to the United in Science report, Mr Guterres said the latest science showed “we are still on the wrong track”, adding that it is a shame that building resilience to shocks climate is still neglected.

“It is a scandal that the developed countries have not taken their adaptation seriously and have rejected their commitments to help the developing world,” Mr. Guterres said. “Adaptation financing needs will grow to at least $300 billion a year by 2030.”

The head of the United Nations recently visited Pakistan, to witness first-hand the scale of devastation caused by floods. This, he said, has brought to the family the importance of ensuring that at least 50% of total climate finance is used for adaptation.

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