State of the Global Climate: Report Reveals Planetary Scale Changes Caused by Greenhouse Gases
The latest State of the Global Climate report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) shows that the last eight years have been the hottest on record, with greenhouse gasses causing "planetary scale changes on land, in the ocean and in the atmosphere". The WMO's report reveals that global temperatures have continued to rise, despite the cooling La Niña climate pattern, and that the years between 2015 and 2022 were the eight warmest on record. Moreover, the concentration of the three main greenhouse gasses - carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide - reached record highs in 2021, and there are indications of a continued increase in 2022. The report highlights the need for investing in climate monitoring and early warning systems to mitigate the humanitarian impacts of extreme weather.
The report also examines the socio-economic impacts of extreme weather, which have caused havoc in the lives of the most vulnerable around the world. The continuous drought in East Africa, along with other factors, has caused devastating food insecurity to 20 million people across the region. Meanwhile, extensive flooding in Pakistan caused by severe rainfall in 2022 killed over 1,700 people, and 33 million were affected. Total damage and economic losses were assessed at $30 billion, and around eight million people had been internally displaced by the floods. Hazardous climate and weather-related events worsened the conditions for many of the 95 million people already living in displacement.
The WMO report highlights the importance of scaling up investments in adaptation and resilience, particularly for the most vulnerable countries and communities who have done the least to cause the climate crisis. The report notes that technological improvements have made the transition to renewable energy cheaper and more accessible than ever before. Furthermore, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for deeper, faster emissions cuts to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degree Celsius.
To protect all countries through life-saving early warning systems by 2027, the UN chief Mr. Guterres has convened an Advisory Panel of top UN agency officials, private sector and civil society leaders. The UN Early Warnings for All Initiative aims to fill the existing capacity gap to ensure that every person on earth is covered. The initiative will take coordinated action initially in 30 countries, including small island developing states and least developed countries, which are particularly vulnerable to extreme weather.
In conclusion, the WMO report highlights the urgent need to take coordinated action to address the climate crisis. As individuals, we can make lifestyle changes to reduce our carbon footprint, such as reducing meat consumption, driving less, using public transportation, and buying energy-efficient appliances. Additionally, governments and businesses must accelerate their transition to renewable energy and make significant investments in climate adaptation and resilience. By taking collective action, we can reduce the catastrophic impacts of climate change and protect our planet for future generations.