United in Science 2021: WMO | 17 Sep 2021

Why in News

Recently, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released a report named United in Science 2021.

Key points

  • Climate Change:
    • The pace of climate change has not been slowed by the global Covid-19 pandemic and the world remains behind in its battle to cut carbon emissions.
      • It has caused only a temporary downturn in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2020.
      • High latitude regions and the Sahel are likely to be wetter over 2021–2025, than the recent past.
    • Reduction targets are not being met and there is a rising likelihood the world will miss its Paris Agreement target of reducing global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
      • There is an increasing likelihood that temperatures would temporarily breach the threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial era, in the next five years.
  • Temperature:
    • Average global temperature for the past five years was among the highest on record.
    • Rising global temperatures are fuelling devastating extreme weather throughout the world, with spiralling impacts on economies and societies.
      • Climate hazards such as heatwaves, wildfires and poor air quality combine to threaten human health worldwide, putting vulnerable populations at particular risk.
  • Greenhouse Gases:
    • Concentrations of major greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continued to increase last year and during the first half of 2021.
  • Fossil Fuel Emissions:
    • Fossil fuel emissions from coal, gas, cement, etc were back to 2019 levels or even higher in 2021.
  • Sea Level:
    • Global mean sea levels rose 20 cm from 1900 to 2018. Even if emissions are reduced to limit warming to well below 2°C, global mean sea level would likely rise by 0.3-0.6 m by 2100, and could rise 0.3-3.1 m by 2300.
  • Loss of Work Hours:
    • An excess of 103 billion potential work hours were lost globally in 2019, compared to 2000.
      • It was due to heat-related mortality and work impairment, caused by rising temperatures.
  • Suggestions:
    • More countries should develop long-term strategies that are consistent with the 2015 Paris Agreement.
    • Net-zero commitments needed to be translated into strong near-term policies and action.
    • Adaptation strategies are needed where they do not exist – especially in low-lying coasts, small islands, deltas and coastal cities.
    • Covid-19 recovery efforts should be aligned with national climate change and air quality strategies to reduce risks from compounding and cascading climate hazards, and gain health co-benefits.

Way Forward

  • World needs a breakthrough on protecting people and their livelihoods, with at least half of all public climate finance committed to building resilience and helping people adapt.
  • And it needs much greater solidarity, including full delivery of the long-standing climate finance pledge to help developing countries take climate action.

Source: DTE