The United Nations has issued the latest warning that global warming is having an increasingly serious impact on mankind. With the approach of irreversible climate disaster, the global impact of climate change is entering an unknown area of destruction, countries have failed to effectively deal with climate change, and the world is moving in the wrong direction.
The report, entitled “Uniting in Science”, was compiled by the World Meteorological Organization and coordinated by many institutions, bringing together the latest research, impacts and countermeasures of climate change. According to the report, the number of deaths caused by climate disasters has decreased in recent years, but its economic cost has risen sharply. In the past five years, climate-related disasters have increased fivefold, resulting in an average of 115 deaths and a daily loss of $202 million, and the consequences will be further aggravated.
The report quoted data collected by many UN agencies and partners as saying that the past seven years (2015 -2021) were the hottest period on record. The global average temperature from 2018 to 2022 (as of June 2022) is estimated to be 1.17 degrees Celsius (0.13 degrees Celsius) higher than the average from 1850 to 1900.
After a temporary decline during the blockade of the COVID-19 epidemic, fossil fuel emissions have now returned to the pre-epidemic level, and the concentration of greenhouse gases has also risen to a record high. Preliminary data show that the global carbon dioxide emissions from January to May 2022 were 1.2% higher than the same period in 2019, which was mainly due to the increase in emissions from the United States, India and most European countries.
As the concentration of greenhouse gases continues to hit a new high, and the global efforts to slow down climate change are insufficient, it is difficult to achieve the goal of limiting the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in the Paris Agreement. From 2022 to 2026, the global average temperature is expected to be 1.1-1.7 degrees Celsius higher than the pre-industrial level. In the next five years, the probability of global temperature rising by 1.5 degrees Celsius is 48%. In the next five years, there is a 93% chance that the world will experience a record high temperature.
At last year’s United Nations Global Climate Summit, nearly 200 participating countries made commitments on methane gas pollution, deforestation and coal financing. However, according to the latest United Nations report, the scale of emission reduction commitments in 2030 must be quadrupled to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, and to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, it needs to be increased sevenfold.
In a video released at the same time as the report, UN Secretary-General Guterres quoted Pakistani floods, heat waves in Europe, droughts in China, the Horn of Africa and the United States, saying that the scale of these disasters is not a natural phenomenon, but the price of human addiction to fossil fuels. “This year’s report shows that the impact of climate is developing towards unknown areas of destruction … However, even if more and more indicators have a rapidly deteriorating impact, our dependence on fossil fuels is still increasing year by year.
According to a study published in Science magazine last week, if the goal of controlling global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius cannot be achieved, when most climate changes become irreversible, a series of “tipping points” may be triggered, such as the disappearance of ice sheets in Greenland and western Antarctica and the death of coral reefs.
The United Nations report on Tuesday also said that about 90% of the accumulated heat in the earth system is stored in the ocean, and the ocean heat content from 2018 to 2022 is higher than that in all five years in history, and the ocean warming rate has shown a particularly strong growth in the past 20 years. This report points out the importance of early warning system. More than ever, the international community needs to take greater action, not only to reduce emissions, but also to adapt to climate change. Early warning system is an effective adaptive measure, which can save lives, reduce losses and damages, and is cost-effective.
At present, 3.3 billion to 3.6 billion people live in an environment that is extremely vulnerable to climate change. However, less than half of countries have multiple disaster early warning systems, especially in Africa, least developed countries and small island States.
Last week, the World Meteorological Organization put forward a plan to ensure that everyone can get early warning services in the next five years, and it is expected that a specific action plan will be launched at COP27 in October. The organization said in a press release that the primary task of the international community is to ensure that everyone on the planet is protected by multiple disaster early warning systems in the next five years, which requires cooperation between different participants and innovative financing solutions.
Early warning system has been recognized as an effective and feasible climate adaptation measure, which can save lives and provide a ten-fold return on investment. The initiative was first put forward by UN Secretary-General Guterres, who said on World Meteorological Day on March 23rd this year that “early warning can save lives”.