A potential fall in carbon dioxide emissions due to the Covid-19 pandemic will not be enough to stop climate change.
That’s according to a recent report published by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) which forecasts a new global temperature record is likely to occur in the next five years.
It also suggests carbon dioxide levels at a key global observing station are about 26% higher than in 1970, while the average global temperature has increased by 0.86°C since then and is 1.1°C warmer than the pre-industrial era.
The scientific team also says coronavirus may result in a temporary reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but it is not a substitute for sustained climate action.
Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General, said: “Whilst Covid-19 has caused a severe international health and economic crisis, failure to tackle climate change may threaten human well-being, ecosystems and economies for centuries.
“Extreme weather has increased and it will not go away because of the coronavirus. On the contrary, the pandemic exacerbates the challenge of evacuating people and keeping them safe from tropical cyclones, as we saw with Category-5 strength Harold in the South Pacific.
“And there is a risk that over-stretched health systems may not be able to cope with an additional burden of patients due to, for example, heatwaves.”