4 key climate change indicator records broken in 2021: World weather body
World Meteorological Organization report flags human activities causing planetary-scale changes on land, oceans, atmosphere
Greenhouse gas concentrations, sea-level rise, ocean heat, and ocean acidification, set four new climate change records in 2021, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said Wednesday.
The four climate indicators are another clear sign that human activities are causing planetary-scale changes on land, in the ocean, and the atmosphere, said the weather body.
According to a new WMO report, the indicators are having harmful sustainable development and ecosystems with long-lasting ramifications for humanity.
The WMO State of the Global Climate in 2021 report confirmed that the past seven years have been the warmest.
Last year was “only” one of the seven warmest because of a La Nina weather pattern event at the start and end of the year.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for urgent action to grab the “low-hanging fruit” of transforming energy systems away from the “dead-end” of fossil fuels on publication of the report.
Jumpstart renewable energy
Guterres proposed five critical actions to jumpstart the renewable energy transition in a video message.
They include greater access to renewable energy technology and supplies, a tripling of private and public investments in renewables, and an end to subsidies on fossil fuels which amount to roughly $11 million a minute.
“Renewables are the only path to real energy security, stable power prices, and sustainable employment opportunities,” said the UN chief.
“If we act together, the renewable energy transformation can be the peace project of the 21st century.”
Extreme weather in the day-to-day “face” of climate change led to hundreds of billions of dollars in economic losses.
It wreaked a heavy toll on human lives and well-being and triggered shocks for food and water security and displacement that have accentuated in 2022.
The La Nina event at the start and end of 2021 had a temporary cooling effect but did not reverse the overall trend of rising temperatures.
The average global temperature in 2021 was about 1.11 (± 0.13) C above the pre-industrial level.
It is just a matter of time before the world sees another warmest year on record,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.
“Our climate is changing before our eyes. The heat trapped by human-induced greenhouse gases will warm the planet for many generations to come,” he said.
The WMO head said that sea-level rise, ocean heat, and acidification would continue for hundreds of years unless means to remove carbon from the atmosphere were invented.
He explained that some glaciers had reached the point of no return, and this will have long-term repercussions in a world in which more than 2 billion people already experienced water stress.
“Extreme weather has the most immediate impact on our daily lives,” said Taalas.
“Years of investment in disaster preparedness means that we are better at saving lives, though economic losses are soaring.”
However, the WMO head said much more needs to be done with the drought emergency unfolding in the Horn of Africa, the recent deadly flooding in South Africa, and the extreme heat in India and Pakistan.
Taalas said that early warning systems are critically needed for climate adaptation, yet these are only available to less than half of WMO's members.
He said, however much more needs to be done, as we are seeing with the drought emergency unfolding in the Horn of Africa, the recent deadly flooding in South Africa, and the extreme heat in India and Pakistan.
Early warning systems are critically needed for climate adaptation, and yet these are only available in less than half of the 187 WMO's members, said Taalas.
The WMO State of the Global Climate report will be used as an official document for the UN Climate Change negotiations known as COP27 to take place in Egypt later this year.