Updated: Jul 3, 2020
Photo: Harry Strharsky
Amid all the news attention to the WHO announcement that the corona virus has risen to the level of a global pandemic, the post-primary analysis of Biden’s miraculous turnaround in the U.S. Presidential Democratic primaries, and the many Trump administration foibles, the arrival of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) State of the Global Climate in 2019 report by the UN weather agency has gotten overlooked by many.
Antonio Guterres, head of the United Nations, in a foreword to the report, warned the world is currently “way off track meeting either the 1.5 degree Centigrade or the 2 degree Centigrade targets made by the 195 nations party to the Paris Agreement of 2015. The report confirms that 2019 was the second warmest year on record ending with a global average temperature already 1.1 degree Centigrade above estimated pre-industrial levels.
This report was released at a press conference given by the UN Secretary-General Guterres and the WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas at UN headquarters on March 10.
It outlines the latest science on Greenhouse Gases, Ocean warming, acidification and deoxygenation as well as sea level rise, glacier melting and the climate-related impacts to health and food security. It is not a pretty picture that further illustrates the urgency for far-reaching climate action.
“We just had the warmest January on record. Winter was unseasonably mild in many parts of the northern hemisphere. Smoke and pollutants from damaging fires in Australia circumnavigated the globe, causing a spike in C02 emissions. Reported record temperatures in Antarctica were accompanied by large-scale ice melt and the fracturing of a glacier which will have repercussions for sea-level rise,” Mr. Taalas said.
“Let us have no illusions: the climate crisis is already causing calamity and more is to come,” said Mr. Guterres. “I call on all countries to show more ambition—and on individuals to hold your governments to account. This is a battle we can—and must—win.”