Climate change – ‘we are going in the wrong direction’, WMO says

There is a 66% chance that global warming rises by 2.8°C this century if policies don’t change, it claims

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“The climate science is clear. We are heading in the wrong direction.”

That’s the key claim from a new report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), revealing there is currently a great gap between climate aspirations and the changes actually being made at the front line.

The report finds that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have climbed to new record highs – above pre-pandemic levels – and that if the Paris Agreement’s aim of maintaining 1.5°C is to remain tangible, emission reduction targets need to be seven times higher.

It declares that within five years, there’s almost a 50/50 chance that during one of these years, the temperature will spike 1.5°C above the 1850-1900 average – labelled a “tipping point.”

In the report, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said: “Floods, droughts, heatwaves, extreme storms and wildfires are going from bad to worse, breaking records with alarming frequency. Heatwaves in Europe.

“Colossal floods in Pakistan, prolonged and severe droughts in China, the Horn of Africa and the United States. There is nothing natural about the new scale of these disasters. They are the price of humanity’s fossil fuel addiction.”

The collaborative report between the WMO and various parts of the UN is calling on urgent changes to be made to fossil fuel exploitation, with Mr Guterres adding: “Each year we double-down on this fossil fuel addiction, even as the symptoms get rapidly worse.”

On the origin of emissions, a quarter are deemed to be from global trade between countries.

If current climate policies don’t change, there is a 66% chance that global warming rises by 2.8°C throughout the 21st century, the scientists warn.

WMO Secretary-General, Petteri Taalas, said: “Climate science is increasingly able to show that many of the extreme weather events that we are experiencing have become more likely and more intense due to human-induced climate change.

“We have seen this repeatedly this year, with tragic effect. It is more important than ever that we scale up action on early warning systems to build resilience to current and future climate risks in vulnerable communities.”