“United in Science” will tell you all.
The landmark new report, United in Science, compiled by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and presented to the UN Climate Action Summit has underlined “the glaring and growing gap” between “agreed targets” to tackle global warming and “the actual reality”.
While presenting the state of the climate, United in Science, projects the trends in the emissions and atmospheric concentrations of the main greenhouse gases.
Among key findings is accelerating climate impacts from melting ice caps to sea-level rise and extreme weather were to blame for the record as the global average temperature increased by 1.1°C above pre-industrial (1850-1900) times and 0.2°C warmer than 2011-2015.
The findings spotlight the sense of urgency. Amid growing recognition that climate impacts are hitting harder and sooner than climate assessments indicated even a decade ago, there is now a real risk of crossing critical tipping points, according to the scientists.
For example, the report shows that the average global temperature for 2015–2019 is on track to be the warmest of any equivalent period on record. It is currently estimated to be 1.1°Celsius (± 0.1°C) above pre-industrial (1850–1900) times.
Widespread and long-lasting heatwaves, record-breaking fires and other devastating events such as tropical cyclones, floods and drought have had major impacts on socio-economic development and the environment.
Moreover, as climate change intensifies, cities are particularly vulnerable to impacts such as heat stress and can play a key role in reducing emissions locally and globally.
Against this backdrop, meeting the targets set under the 2015 Paris Agreement requires immediate and all-inclusive action encompassing “deep decarbonization”, complemented by ambitious policy measures, protection and enhancement of carbon sinks and biodiversity, and effort to remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
“Strategies for mitigation and for upscaling adaptive risk management are necessary going forward. Neither is adequate in isolation given the pace of climate change and magnitude of its impacts,” says the report.
It further warns that to stop a global temperature increase of more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the level of ambition needs to be “tripled”.
The scientists say that “only immediate and all-inclusive action encompassing: deep de-carbonization complemented by ambitious policy measures, protection and enhancement of carbon sinks and biodiversity, and efforts to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, will enable us to meet the Paris Agreement.”
“The scientific data and findings presented in the report represent the very latest authoritative information on these topics. It highlights the urgent need for the development of concrete actions that halt the worst effects of climate change,” said the Science Advisory Group to the Climate Action Summit, co-chaired by WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas and Leena Srivastava, former Vice Chancellor of TERI School of Advanced Studies.
The report also highlights the urgency of fundamental socio-economic transformations and carbon-curbing actions in key sectors such as land use and energy to avert dangerous global temperature increase, with potentially irreversible impacts.
It also examines tools to support both mitigation and adaptation.
The assessment from the world’s top climate experts and scientific organizations comes not just ahead of the UN summit, but also against the backdrop of last week’s global ‘climate strike,’ which saw millions of students across the world take to the streets to demand real action from politicians and big corporations.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called this as a “climate emergency.”
Swedish teen activist Greta Thundberg told hundreds of young people gathered at UN Headquarters on Saturday for the first-ever Youth Climate Summit that “young people are unstoppable”.
Mr. Guterres told the young activists that he feared “there is a serious conflict between people and nature, between people and the planet.”
Saying that there was no time to lose, with so many people around the world already suffering from the impacts of climate change, the UN chief bluntly told the world leaders “Don’s come to the Summit with beautiful speeches … come with concrete plans.”