Last 8 years were the warmest ever recorded, UN agency says

The COP27 climate summit kicked off on Sunday with yet another harrowing report on the planet’s condition. As world leaders gathered for the conference in Egypt, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said the past eight years were the warmest in recorded history.

In the period from 2013 to 2022, the global average temperature was an estimated 1.14 degrees Celsius above 1850-1900 levels, according to the UN agency’s preliminary State of the Global Climate in 2022 report.

And according to the agency, “warming continues” — accompanied by accelerating sea level rise, record-breaking glacier melt in Europe and extreme weather.

“We’ve just had the 8 warmest years on record,” UN agency says said. “The global average temperature in 2022 will be about 1.15°C above pre-industrial levels.”

For years, officials warned that to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, the world must stay below a global average of 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming compared to pre-industrial times. Now WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas warns that that looks unlikely.

“The greater the warming, the worse the consequences,” he said. “We have such high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now that the lower 1.5ºC of the Paris Agreement is barely within reach.”

The development joins a series of reports released by the UN less than two weeks ago, which found that countries are failing to make and implement sufficient plans to tackle the climate crisis. The reports showed that based on current actions, plans and emissions, the Earth is on track to nearly hit 3 degrees Celsius warming in less than 80 years.

The WMO’s latest report says the record heat is because “the telltale signs and effects of climate change are getting more dramatic.”

In its preliminary report State of the Global Climate in 2022, the WMO finds that greenhouse gases have reached record levels. The rate of sea level rise has doubled since 1993 and has risen by nearly 10 millimeters since January 2020, reaching a record high in 2022. Ocean heat also reached record levels in 2021.

“In the past two and a half years alone, 10 percent of the total sea level rise has been responsible since satellite measurements began nearly 30 years ago,” the WMO said.

Glaciers played a major role in this. In Europe, glaciers in the European Alps are believed to have had a “record-shattering melt” since January alone. The Greenlandic Ice Sheetwhich, combined with Antarctica, stores about two-thirds of the planet’s fresh water, lost some of its mass for the 26th consecutive year and received its first rain in September, the report found.

“It is already too late for many glaciers and melting will continue for hundreds if not thousands of years, with major implications for water safety,” Taalas said. “The rate of sea level rise has doubled in the last 30 years. While we still measure this in millimeters per year, it amounts to half a meter per century and that is a long-term and major threat to many millions of coastal and low-lying residents. states.”

The WMO said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is expected to unveil a plan for a global early warning system at COP27, which half of the countries are missing, according to the agency. The Early Warnings for All initiative will seek $3.1 billion in investments over the next five years to help with “disaster risk knowledge, observations and predictions, preparedness and response, and early warning communication.”

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