The COP27 climate summit kicked off on Sunday with yet another dire report on the state of the planet. As world leaders gathered for the conference in Egypt, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said the past eight years had been the hottest on record.
In the period from 2013 to 2022, the global average temperature was about 1.14 degrees Celsius above 1850-1900 levels, according to the UN agency’s interim report on the state of the world’s climate in 2022.
And according to the agency, “warming continues” — accompanied by accelerating sea-level rise, record-breaking glacier melting in Europe and extreme weather events.
“We’ve just had the 8 hottest years on record,” the UN agency he said. “The global average temperature in 2022 is about 1.15 °C above pre-industrial levels.”
Officials have warned for years that to avoid the most severe effects of climate change, the world must stay below the global average of 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming compared to pre-industrial times. Now WMO Secretary-General Petri Taalas is warning that this seems unlikely.
“The greater the warming, the worse the effects,” 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 achievable.”
The development echoes a series of reports issued by the UN less than two weeks ago that found nations are failing to create and enact adequate plans to tackle the climate crisis. The reports found that based on current actions, plans and emissions, Earth is on track to hit nearlyof overheating in less than 80 years.
The latest WMO report said the record heat comes as “indicators and impacts of climate change become more dramatic”.
In its interim report on the state of the world’s climate in 2022, the WMO found that greenhouse gases have reached record levels. The rate of sea level rise has doubled since 1993 and has increased by almost 10mm since January 2020, setting a record high in 2022. Ocean heat also set record levels in 2021.
“The last two and a half years alone account for 10 percent of the total sea-level rise since satellite measurements began nearly 30 years ago,” the WMO said.
Glaciers played a big part in this. In Europe, glaciers in the European Alps are believed to have had “record-breaking melt” since January alone. Thewhich along with Antarctica stores about two-thirds of the planet’s fresh water, lost some of its mass for the 26th consecutive year and saw its first rain in September, according to the report.
“It is already too late for many glaciers and melting will continue for hundreds if not thousands of years, with significant implications for water security,” Taalas said. “The rate of sea-level rise has doubled in the last 30 years. Although we still measure it in millimeters per year, it adds up to half a meter to a meter per century, and this poses a long-term and major threat to many millions of coastal residents and states with low altitude”.
The WMO said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is expected to unveil a plan at COP27 for a global early warning system, which the organization noted half the countries do not have. The Early Warnings for All Initiative will seek $3.1 billion in investment over the next five years to help with “disaster risk awareness, observations and predictions, preparedness and response, and early warning communication.”
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