Monday 24 April 2023

WMO: ‘Impacts of climate change only growing’

WMO: ‘Impacts of climate change only growing’

The impact of climate change on human life, the economy and wildlife is on the rise.

That’s according to the latest report by the UN’s World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), revealing the last eight years have been the eight warmest on record, with a new record hit for sea level rises.

Commenting on the findings, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said: “Massively scaled-up investments in adaptation and resilience [are needed]. Particularly for the most vulnerable countries and communities who have done the least to cause the crisis.”

Continual drought in East Africa, record rainfall and floods in Pakistan, as well as extreme heat in China and Europe are listed as the key threats to human life and the economy.

The WMO argued that the last year threatened “tens of millions” of lives and “cost billions of dollars in loss and damage.”

The three main greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide – all saw record highs in 2021, with the data not yet fully collected for 2022.

Fighting back against climate change to protect lives relies on ensuring “that every person on Earth is covered by early warning services,” WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas said.

“Achieving this ambitious task requires improvement of observation networks, investments in early warning, hydrological and climate service capacities,” he added.

From an environmental standpoint, the report reveals that temperatures have seen entire ecosystems upended in certain circumstances – with a large decline in migrant species of animals.

A tangible example given was that “the flowering of cherry trees in Japan has been tracked since the ninth century and in 2021 the date of the event was the earliest recorded in 1,200 years.”

Disruption to the timings of nature’s routines will have long-lasting impacts, the WMO stresses.

Written by

Bruna Pinhoni

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