The temporary reduction in emission of carbon due to global COVID-19 lockdowns did not slow the relentless advance of climate change, and Greenhouse gas concentrations are at record levels with the planet on path towards dangerous overheating, said a multi agency climate on published on Thursday warns.
In the report United in Science 2021, the agencies say there is no sign of growing back greener as carbon dioxide emissions are rapidly accelerating after a temporary drip in 2020 due to COVID. The report points out that they are nowhere close to the targets set by the Paris Agreement.
In a video message on the report, UN Secretary General António Guterres said “we have reached a tipping point on the need for climate action. The disruption to our climate and our planet is already worse than thought, and it is moving faster than predicted.”
“This report shows just how far off course we are,” he said.
A WORLD IN DANGER
The researchers stated that the rising global temperatures are already fuelling devastating extreme weather events around the world. These are having escalating impacts on economies and societies, they added. “We now have five times the number of recorded weather disasters thon we had in 1970 and they are seven times more costly. Even the most developed countries have become vulnerable,” said the UN chief.
He also explained how Hurricane Ida cut power to over a million people in New Orleans and how New York City was paralysed by record-breaking rain that killed at least 50 people in the region.
The UN Chief warned that the drastic events were mainly because of the human caused climate change. Costly fires, floods and extreme weather events are increasing everywhere. These changes are just the beginning of worse to come, he added.
The United in Science 2021 points out that the average global temperature for the past five years was among the highest on record. It said that the temperatures would temporarily breach the threshold of 1.5° Celsius above the pre-industrial era, in the next five years. The report said that even with ambitious action to slow greenhouse gas emissions, sea levels will continue to rise and threaten low-lying islands and coastal populations throughout the world.
Stating that time was running out, Guterres said, “We must act now to prevent further irreversible damage. COP26 this November must mark that turning point. By then we need all countries to commit to achieve net zero emissions by the middle of this century and to present clear, credible long-term strategies to get there.
“We must urgently secure a breakthrough on adaptation and resilience, so that vulnerable communities can manage these growing (climate) risks. I expect all these issues to be addressed and resolved at COP26. Our future is at stake,” he stressed.
The report pointed out that the annual global average temperature is likely to be at least one degree Celsius warmer than pre-industrial levels in each of the coming five years and is very likely to be within the range of 0.9 °C to 18 °C.
The report also warned of a 40 per cent chance that the average temperature in one of the next five years. However, it pointed out the five -year average temperature for 2021-2025 was likely to pass the 1.5 °C threshold. High latitude regions, and the Sahel are likely to be wetter in the next five years.
SEA LEVEL RISE
In the report, the scientists say that they were not aware of what would happen to the Antarctic glacier. The world could see up to two meters of sea level rise by the end of the century if the melting of the Antarctic glacier happens in a speedier manner. Global sea levels rose 20 cm from 1900 to 2018, and at an accelerated rate from 2006 to 2018. Even if emissions are reduced to limit warming to well below 2 °C, the global average sea level would likely rise by 0.3-0.6 m by 2100 and could rise 0.33.1 m by 2300, the authors said.
The World Health Organization warns that rising temperatures are linked to increased heat-related mortality and work impairment, with an excess of 103 billion potential work hours lost globally in 2019 compared with those lost in 2000. Moreover, COVID-19 infections and climate hazards such as heat waves, wildfires and poor air quality combine to threaten human health worldwide. The WHO mentioned that COVID-19 recovery efforts should be aligned with national climate change and air quality strategies to reduce risks from cascading climate hazards, and gain health co-benefits.