The economic slowdown caused by Covid 19 pandemie failed to put a brake on climate change drivers and accelerating impacts, according to a new State of the Global Climate 2020 report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and others.
The report pointed out that 2020 was one of the three warmest years on record, despite cooling La Nina event. It also noted that the global average temperature was about 1.2 degree Celsius above the pre-industrial (1850-1900) level. The report on the State of the Global Climate 2020 takes into account indicators of the climate system such as greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rise, increasing land and ocean temperatures, glacier retreat, melting ice and extreme weather.
SOCIO- ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The WMO report also highlights impacts on socio economic development, displacement, migration, food security and ecosystems. Meanwhile, WMO Secretary General Prof. Petteri Taalas said that concentrations of major greenhouse gases continued to increase in 2019 and 2020. “Stabilizing global mean temperature at 1.5 degree Celsius to 2 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century will require an ambitious reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, which must begin to occur during this decade,” he added.
WMO’s flagship report comes ahead of the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate on April 22 and 23, convened by the United States. President Biden is seeking to galvanize efforts by major economies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet the Paris Agreement on Climate Change targets.
Stating that “we are on the verge of the abyss”, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stressed that 2021 “must be the year for action”. He called for a number of concrete advances” before countries gather in Glasgow in November for COP26 – the 26th session of Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). “Countries need to submit ambitious new nationally determined contributions (NDC) that were designed by the Paris Agreement. Their climate plans for the next 10 years must be much more efficient,” he said. The secretary general mentioned that developed countries must lead in phasing out coal by 2030/
Highlights of the report
- Concentrations of the major greenhouse gases, CO2, CH4, and N20, continued to increase despite temporary reduction in emissions in 2020.
- 2020 was one of the three warmest years on record. The past six years, including 2020, have been the six warmest years on record. Temperature reached 38 degree Celsius at Verkhoyansk, Russian Federation on June 20, the highest temperature anywhere north of the Arctic Circle.
- Sea-level rise is accelerating. Ocean heat storage and acidification diminishing the ocean’s capacity to moderate climate change record.
- The Arctic minimum sea-ice extent in September 2020 was the second lowest on record. The sea-ice retreat in the Laptev Sea was the earliest observed in the satellite era.
- The Antarctic mass loss trend accelerated around 2005 and the continent lost approximately 175 to 225 Gt of ice per year.
- The 2020 North Atlantic hurricane season was exceptionally active. Hurricanes, extreme heat waves, severe droughts and wildfires led to tens of billions of US dollars in economic losses and many deaths.
- About 9.8 million people displaced, largely due to hydro meteorological hazards and disasters
- Disruptions to the agriculture sector by COVID-19 exacerbated weather impacts along the entire food supply chain, elevating levels of food insecurity.