Science points to ‘climate collapse’ as UN Secretary-General calls on COP28 to act

Science points to ‘climate collapse’ as UN Secretary-General calls on COP28 to act

While 2023 is not over yet, an interim report from the UN’s World Meteorological Organization has confirmed that it is set to be the warmest year on record, with global temperatures rising 1.4 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Mr. Guterres said the race is on to maintain the 1.5 degree limit agreed upon by world leaders in Paris in 2015.

“We are living through climate collapse in real time – and the impact is devastating,” he warned in a video statement accompanying the report’s launch on the first day of annual UN climate talks this year.

Glaciers break off from the Patagonian ice field in extreme South America.

UN News/Nargiz Shikinskaya

Glaciers melt, sea levels rise

The UN Secretary-General recently visited two global warming hotspots, Antarctica And NepalHe witnessed a record decline in sea ice and was “shocked by how quickly the glaciers were retreating.”

According to the World Meteorological Organization report, the maximum area of ​​Antarctic sea ice this year was one million square kilometers less than the previous record low, at the end of the winter in the Southern Hemisphere.

Glaciers in western North America and the European Alps also experienced an “extreme melting season.”

Due to continued warming of oceans and melting of glaciers and ice sheets, a record rise in sea level has also been observed, the World Meteorological Organization said.

Greenhouse gas levels continue to rise

Meanwhile, concentrations of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere reached a record high last year and continue to increase in 2023.

The World Meteorological Organization stressed that carbon dioxide levels are 50 percent higher than in the pre-industrial era and that the long life of the gas “means that temperatures will continue to rise for many years to come.”

“These are more than just statistics,” said World Meteorological Organization President Petteri Taalas, calling for action “to reduce the risks of an increasingly inhospitable climate in this century and the centuries to come.”

Serious consequences

From the deadly Hurricane Danielle in Libya in September to devastating floods in the Horn of Africa after five consecutive seasons of drought and severe smoke pollution from wildfires in Canada, the WMO report highlights the horrific impacts of climate disruption on lives, health and livelihoods.

Throughout the year, communities experiencing extreme climate conditions around the world faced food insecurity and displacement.

“The record global heat should send shivers down the spines of world leaders,” Mr. Guterres said. “It should prompt them to act.”

Follow the road map

The UN Secretary-General reiterated his call on countries to “triple renewable energy sources, double energy efficiency… and phase out fossil fuels.”

According to the World Meteorological Organization, renewable energy capacity increased last year by about 10 percent worldwide, led by solar and wind power.

Mr. Guterres referred to the current roadmap to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Eight years later, he urged governments to set “clear expectations” for the next round of climate action plans and invest in their implementation.

Protect people

COP 28 will mark the first ever conferenceGlobal inventory“To assess collective progress in reducing emissions, intensify adaptation efforts and support developing countries hard hit by a warming climate.

The UN Secretary-General said that countries must “go further and faster in protecting people from climate chaos.”

This includes ensuring that every person on Earth has early warnings of extreme weather by 2027 and activating “Loss and Damage FundHelping vulnerable groups severely affected by floods, droughts and other climate disasters will come through “generous and early contributions” from wealthier countries, he said.

Developed countries must fulfill their promise of $100 billion annually in climate finance, which was first made in 2010. COP15 He insisted on doubling the amount of funding allocated to adaptation efforts in 2009.

Delegations arrive at Expo City in Dubai to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28).

Conference of the Parties 28

The UN Climate Change Conference, held from 30 November to 12 December in Dubai, is the twenty-eighth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which entered into force in 1994.

More than 60,000 delegates are expected to attend the conference, including UNFCCC member states, industry leaders, youth activists and representatives of indigenous communities.

All eyes will be on the conclusions of the first global assessment — referred to as a “temperature check” to see where the world stands on meeting its commitments under the Paris Agreement — and countries’ willingness to use them as a stepping stone toward more ambitious and accelerated climate action.

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