According to the latest flagship report of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), published on Wednesday, the concentration of greenhouse gases, rising sea levels, ocean heat and oxidation – all set new records for 2021, while some glaciers have not reached the point .

Climate status 2021 Opens in a new window shows that extreme weather – the daily face of climate change – has claimed difficult human lives, caused food and water security shocks and resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars in economic losses last year.

The report, which describes even more obvious signs that human activities are harming the planet – our land, oceans and atmosphere – also confirms that the last seven years have been the warmest of all time: global temperatures in 2021 reached about 1 , 1 ° C above pre-industrial level.

“It’s only a matter of time before we see another warmest year in history. Our climate is changing before our eyes. The heat contained in man-made greenhouse gases will warm the planet for generations to come, ”WMOOpens head of the new window warned Peter Taalas. “Sea level rise, ocean heat and oxidation will continue for hundreds of years unless means are removed to remove carbon from the atmosphere.”

Renewable energy plan

Calling the report a “gloomy litany of humanity’s inability to combat climate change”, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Opens in a New Window said that while time is running out to prevent the worst effects of the climate crisis, there is a right to a “lifeline”. in front of us.

“We must stop polluting fossil fuels and accelerate the use of renewable energy sources. It opens in a new window before we burn our only home … The transformation of energy systems is a low-hanging fruit,” he said in a video message.

Emphasizing that renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar are readily available and in most cases cheaper than coal and other fossil fuels, the UN chief suggested five key actions. 21st century project ”.

1. Attitude towards renewable energy technologies as a major global public good

This means removing barriers to knowledge sharing and technology transfer, including restrictions on intellectual property.

Mr Guterres called for a new global coalition on battery savings led by governments and to bring together technology companies, manufacturers and financiers for rapid innovation and deployment.

2. Provide, increase and diversify supplies of components and raw materials for renewable energy technologies

Supply chains of technology and raw materials for renewable energy sources are concentrated in several countries, and more international coordination is needed to overcome this obstacle.

3. Create a framework and reform the fossil fuel bureaucracy

The head of the UN calls on governments to accelerate and streamline the approval of solar and wind projects, modernize networks and set ambitious renewable energy targets that provide confidence to investors, developers, consumers and producers.

4. Abolish fossil fuel subsidies

Every year, governments around the world invest about half a trillion dollars in artificially lowering fossil fuel prices – more than three times the amount of subsidies provided to renewable energy sources.

“While people are suffering from high pump prices, the oil and gas industry is raising billions in a distorted market. This scandal must be stopped, ”Guterres emphasizes.

5. Private and public investment in renewable energy should triple

The head of the UN calls for an adjustment of the risk framework and greater flexibility to increase funding from renewable sources.

“It is time to move quickly to the use of renewable energy until it is too late,” he said.

Climatic emergency

The UN chief’s plan is long overdue, at a time when extreme weather conditions continue to affect the lives of millions of people in recent weeks, as evidenced by the drought emergency in the Horn of Africa, the deadly floods in South Africa and the extreme heat in India and Pakistan.

The The state of the WTO global climate The report complements the latest assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCCOpens in new window), which included only data up to 2019, and will be used as a negotiating document during the forthcoming UN Climate Conference in Egypt (COP 27) later this year. year.

Here are some of his key findings:

  • Concentrations of greenhouse gases

Levels reached a new global high in 2020 and continued to rise in 2021, with carbon dioxide concentrations reaching 413.2 parts per million worldwide, up 149% from pre-industrial levels.

Another record. In 2021, ocean water at a depth of 2,000 meters continued to heat, and is expected to continue to heat in the future – a change that is irreversible on a scale of centuries to millennia and affects deep-sea ecosystems such as coral reefs.

Due to the excess carbon dioxide (CO2) that absorbs the ocean (about 23% of annual emissions), its waters are becoming increasingly acidic.

This has implications for organisms and ecosystems and also threatens human food security and tourism.

Decreased PH levels also mean that the ocean’s ability to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere is also declining.

Sea levels rose by a record 4.5 mm per year for 2013-2021, mainly due to the accelerated loss of ice mass from ice sheets.

This has serious consequences for hundreds of millions of coastal residents and increases vulnerability to tropical cyclones.

The world’s glaciers, which scientists use as a benchmark, have shrunk by 33.5 meters since 1950, and by 76% since 1980.

In 2021, glaciers in Canada and the northwestern United States had a record loss of ice mass due to heat and fires in June and July.

Greenland also experienced an exceptional thaw in mid-August and the first-ever recorded rainfall at its highest point.

The heat broke records in western North America and the Mediterranean in 2021. On July 9, in Death Valley, California, temperatures reached 54.4 ° C, equivalent to 2020 as the highest recorded in the world since at least the 1930s, and Syracuse in Sicily reached 48.8 ° C.

The heat in British Columbia, Canada, has killed more than 500 people and caused devastating forest fires.

The floods caused $ 17.7 billion in economic damage in China’s Henan province and $ 20 billion in Germany. It was also a factor that led to the heavy deaths.

Droughts have affected many parts of the world, including the Horn of Africa, South America, Canada, the western United States, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey.

Drought in the Horn of Africa has intensified by 2022. East Africa faces the very real prospect that the rains will not go for the fourth season in a row, leaving Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia in droughts of a duration that has not been seen for the past 40 years.

The complex effects of conflicts, extreme weather events and economic shocks, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, have undermined decades of progress towards improving food security globally.

The worsening of the humanitarian crisis in 2021 has also led to an increase in the number of countries at risk of starvation. Of the total number of malnourished in 2020, more than half live in Asia (418 million) and a third in Africa (282 million).

The dangers associated with water events continued to contribute to internal movement. The countries with the highest number of movements recorded as of October 2021 were China (more than 1.4 million), the Philippines (more than 386,000) and Vietnam (more than 664,000).

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG).

This press release was published by APO. The content is not controlled by the African Business Editorial Team, and the content has not been reviewed or validated by our editorial teams, proofreaders or factual verifications. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this notice.

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