2023 has shattered climate records, accompanied by extreme weather which has left a trail of devastation and despair, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Breaking climate records and leaving a lasting imprint of extreme weather devastation, the provisional State of the Global Climate report forewarns that 2023 is destined to be the warmest on record, with a staggering 1.40 degrees Celsius increase above the pre-industrial baseline.
“2023 has left an indelible mark on climate records, reflecting a year of unprecedented extremes.”
The report unveils a disturbing trend, indicating that the warming El Niño event, emerging in the Northern Hemisphere spring of 2023, is poised to intensify the heat in 2024.
“Greenhouse gas levels are record high. Global temperatures are record high. Sea level rise is record high,” says WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas
WARMEST YEAR; URGENT MEASURES TO PREVENT IRREVERSIBLE DAMAGE
Prof. Taalas emphasizes that the statistics are more than numbers; they represent a critical juncture. The report urges immediate action to prevent irreversible damage, with the risk of losing the race to save glaciers and mitigate sea level rise. Prof. Taalas stresses the imperative need for early warning services to protect lives and livelihoods.
“We are witnessing not just numbers but a critical juncture in climate history; immediate action is imperative to prevent irreversible damage.” – Prof. Petteri Taalas
WARMEST YEAR; CARBON DIOXIDE SURGE: TRAPPING HEAT AND PROLONGED IMPACT
Carbon dioxide levels, now 50% higher than the pre-industrial era, are trapping heat in the atmosphere. The long lifespan of CO2 signals a continued rise in temperatures for many years to come, contributing to the ongoing climate crisis.
The report unveils alarming statistics, including the lowest-ever Antarctic sea-ice extent and extreme melt seasons for glaciers in North America and Europe. Swiss glaciers, in particular, have lost about 10% of their remaining volume in the past two years.
IMPACT ON SOCIO-ECONOMIC FACTORS
The report provides a snapshot of the widespread socio-economic impacts of climate change, affecting food security and triggering population displacement. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres issues a stern warning, stating, “Record global heat should send shivers down the spines of world leaders.”
Despite the bleak scenario, Guterres offers a glimmer of hope, emphasizing the roadmap to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5 °C. He calls upon leaders to commit to urgent action at the UN Climate Change negotiations, COP28, outlining specific measures including tripled renewable, doubled energy efficiency, and a clear timeline to phase out fossil fuels.
“Renewable energy’s growth offers a positive narrative amidst the storm, with a nearly 10% increase in capacity, predominantly driven by solar and wind power.”
RENEWABLE ENERGY’S RISE: A POSITIVE AMIDST THE STORM
In a noteworthy development, the report highlights that renewable energy capacity grew nearly 10% in 2022, predominantly led by solar and wind power.
This comprehensive summary encapsulates the urgency of the climate crisis, prompting a global call to action to address the far-reaching impacts on our planet. The final State of the Global Climate 2023 report, along with regional reports, is slated for publication in the first half of 2024, providing a detailed analysis of the year’s climatic trends.