Urgent action is needed to mitigate emission and adapt to the changing climate, this is the key message of the latest report “United in Science” presented today by Prof Petteri Taalas, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), at the United Nations in Geneva.
“We have again broken records in main greenhouse gas concentrations", said Mr. Taalas when speaking to the media."Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide and the carbon dioxide emissions have already exceeded the emission level of 2019 before the pandemic”,
The report says that greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise to record highs. The ambition of emissions reduction pledges for 2030 needs to be seven times higher to be in line with the 1.5 °C goal for the Paris Agreement.
The new multi-agency report coordinated by WMO provides an overview of the most recent science related to climate change, its impacts and responses. It includes input from WMO, the UN Environment Programme, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and many others.
“Temperatures, the estimation is that again the past five years are going to be the warmest period on record”, said Mr. Taalas. “We still have three months to go this year, but it’s practically sure that this period is going to be the warmest again.”
The report predicts that there is a 93% probability that at least one year in the next five will be warmer than the warmest year on record (2016).
Cities – home to 4,2 billion people - will face increasing socio-economic impacts with the most vulnerable populations suffering the most.
“One of the new features of this report is that we are also focusing on cities”, said WMO’s Chief. “70 percent of the emissions are coming from cities where are growing amount of global population are living, and also the impacts of climate change are very much felt in cities”.
He added that “the heat waves are more dramatic, especially the night temperatures are higher than in the more urban areas, and also flooding challenges and drought challenges and storm challenges there felt more strongly in cities.”
According to Mr. Taalas, climate science is increasingly able to show that many of the extreme weather events that the world is experiencing have become more likely and more intense due to human-induced climate change.
“We have seen a fivefold increase in the amount of disasters during the past five years. That means flooding, drought, tropical storms and especially heat waves,” he said.
Hence, it is more important than ever to scale up action on early warning systems to build resilience to current and future climate risks in vulnerable communities, Mr. Taalas stressed.
“Only half of the 193 members of WMO have proper early warning services in place. This gap means that once disaster hits a country, there’s more casualties and also more economic losses and we could save lots of money and also human lives by implementing proper early warning services.”