The United Nations said on Wednesday, warning that the global energy system is leading humanity to disaster.
Concentrations of greenhouse gases, rising sea levels, ocean heat and ocean acidity have all set new records last year, according to a report by the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on the state of the global climate in 2021.
The annual review is “a sad litany of humanity’s inability to fight climate change,” said UN President Antonio Guterres.
“The global energy system is broken and is bringing us closer to a climate catastrophe.”
The WCO has stated that human activities are causing changes on a planetary scale on land, in the ocean and in the atmosphere with detrimental and long-lasting effects on ecosystems.
WTO chief Petro Taalas said the war in Ukraine was overshadowing climate change, which “remains the biggest challenge we face as humanity.”
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– Record heat –
The report confirms that the last seven years have been seven of the hottest years in history.
The events in La Nine in early and late 2021 had a cooling of global temperatures last year.
Despite this, it was still one of the warmest years ever recorded, with the average global temperature in 2021 being about 1.11 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change agreed to limit global warming to a level “well below” 2 degrees above the average level measured between 1850 and 1900, and, if possible, 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“All major climate indicators are, frankly, going in the wrong direction, and without much ambition and urgency, we will soon lose the narrow window of opportunity to maintain the 1.5-degree target,” said Catherine Hart, Guterres’ climate adviser. press conference.
Taalas said the climate is changing “before our eyes”.
“The heat captured by man-made greenhouse gases will warm the planet for many generations to come. Sea level rise, ocean heat and oxidation will continue for hundreds of years unless means are invented to remove carbon from the atmosphere, ”he said.
– “Sustainable picture of global warming” –
The four main indicators of climate change “create a coherent picture of global warming that affects all parts of the earth’s system,” the report said.
Greenhouse gas concentrations reached a new global high in 2020, when carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations reached 413.2 parts per million worldwide, or 149 percent of pre-industrial levels.
The data show that they continued to increase in 2021 and early 2022, the report said.
Taalas reiterated that the blocking of Covid-19 did not affect the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
The global average sea level reached a new record high in 2021, rising by an average of 4.5 millimeters per year during 2013-2021, the report said.
This is more than twice the average annual growth of 2.1 mm per year between 1993 and 2002, with the increase between the two time periods “mainly due to the accelerated loss of ice mass from the ice sheets,” the report said.
Taalas said melting glaciers would raise sea levels hundreds or thousands of years ahead due to the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.
“It’s already a lost game,” he said.
– The price of failure –
Last year, ocean heat reached a record high, exceeding 2020, the report said.
And it is expected that the upper 2,000 meters of the ocean will continue to heat up in the future – “a change that is irreversible on a time scale from century to millennium,” said the WTO.
The ocean absorbs about 23 percent of annual man-made CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. While this slows the increase in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, CO2 reacts with seawater and leads to ocean acidification.
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has concluded with “very high confidence” that the acidity of the open ocean surface is at the highest level of “at least 26,000 years”.
“We need to take action now,” Taalas told AFP.
“Now we are going for a warming of 2.5-3 degrees instead of 1.5, which would be best for our future.
“It is better to invest in climate-safe technologies than to live with the effects of climate change, which in the event of failure will be even 20 times more expensive.”