Don’t Let Coronavirus Distract From Fighting Climate Change, UN Chief Warns

Following the publication this week of a grim report in regards to the ever-worsening local weather change disaster, U.N. Secretary-Basic António Guterres issued a stark warning: The world should act now and with urgency — or it can quickly be too late to avert the worst impacts of world warming.

“Local weather change is the defining problem of our time,” Guterres wrote within the foreword of the U.N. World Meteorological Group’s 2019 world local weather evaluation printed Tuesday. “We’re at the moment method off observe to assembly both the 1.5C or 2C targets that the Paris settlement requires.” 

Guterres additionally mentioned this week that whereas it’s essential for governments to take instant motion to defeat the novel coronavirus spreading across the globe, he burdened that world leaders shouldn’t be distracted from the necessity to battle local weather change as effectively.

Whereas the coronavirus, often known as COVID-19, is predicted to be a brief scourge, Guterres mentioned in a press release that local weather change will “stay with us for many years and require fixed motion.” 

Scientists have echoed this warning.

The WMO’s new local weather report “factors to a menace that’s better to our species than any identified virus,” Brian Hoskins, a climatologist at Imperial Faculty London and founding director of the Grantham Institute on Local weather Change, instructed The Guardian.

“We should not be diverted from the urgency of tackling it by decreasing our greenhouse fuel emissions to zero as quickly as potential,” Hoskins added.

The WMO report exhibits clearly that local weather change is accelerating on land, within the oceans and within the environment ― and the impacts are already being felt.

The oceans had been the most well liked on document in 2019, the report mentioned; and 2018-2019 was the 32nd 12 months in a row by which extra glacial ice was misplaced than gained.

Sea ranges had been additionally pushed final 12 months to the very best mark since information started. 

The report additionally confirmed that 2019 was the second-warmest 12 months on document; and the last decade that started in 2010 was the warmest. 

WMO Secretary-Basic Petteri Taalas warned that 2016, the warmest 12 months on document, might quickly be usurped. 

“On condition that greenhouse fuel ranges proceed to extend, the warming will proceed. A latest decadal forecast signifies {that a} new annual world temperature document is probably going within the subsequent 5 years. It’s a matter of time,” Taalas mentioned in a press release. 

In 2019, excessive climate occasions, a few of them unprecedented in scale, disrupted many components of the globe, the WMO mentioned. These included lethal floods within the Indian subcontinent, droughts in Australia and components of Africa and South America, and an above-average variety of tropical cyclones. 

Such excessive climate occasions, coupled with an unpredictable and altering local weather, has fueled an increase in starvation worldwide. In 2018, greater than 820 million individuals had been affected by starvation, the WMO report mentioned. 

Excessive climate and different climate-related disasters have additionally triggered the displacement of hundreds of thousands of individuals. In 2019, an estimated 22 million individuals globally had been displaced internally due to such disasters, up from 17 million the 12 months earlier than. 

“The implications [of climate change] are already obvious,” Guterres mentioned within the report’s foreword. “Extra extreme and frequent floods, droughts and tropical storms, harmful heatwaves and rising sea ranges are already severely threatening lives and livelihoods throughout the planet.”

“I name on everybody ― from authorities, civil society and enterprise leaders to particular person residents – to heed these information and take pressing motion to halt the worst results of local weather change,” he added.

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