Experts warn world "nowhere near" meeting Paris Climate Agreement targets


Michael Staines
Michael Staines

09.05 3 Dec 2019


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This year will be one of the three hottest on record.

The World Meteorological Organisation is delivering its provisional statement on the world’s climate to the UN COP25 Climate Conference this morning.

It notes that this year is on course to be the second or third warmest on record.

The organisation notes that 2019 rounds off a decade of “exceptional global heat, retreating ice and record sea levels driven by greenhouse gases from human activities.”

Data from January to October this year reveals that temperatures have been 1.1C above pre-industrial levels.

Meanwhile, average temperatures five years since 2015 and the ten years since 2010 are now almost certain to be the highest on record.

The statement notes that concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit record levels in 2018 and continued to rise this year.

At its current rate, the concentration will hit 450ppm in ten years time. Scientists have long warned that allowing concentrations to pass this point will see the effects of climate change become catastrophic and irreversible.

It also notes that ocean heat is now at record levels, with sea water now 26% more acidic than at the start of the industrial era. This is leading to the degradation of vital marine ecosystems.

“If we do not take urgent climate action now, then we are heading for a temperature increase of more than 3C by the end of the century, with ever more harmful impacts on human wellbeing,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

“We are nowhere near on track to meet the Paris Agreement target.”

“On a day-to-day basis, the impacts of climate change play out through extreme and ‘abnormal’ weather and once again in 2019 weather and climate related risks hit hard.

“Heatwaves and floods which used to be ‘once in a century’ events are becoming more regular occurrences.

“Countries ranging from the Bahamas to Japan to Mozambique suffered the effect of devastating  tropical cyclones. Wildfires swept through the Arctic and Australia,” said Mr Taalas.

“One of the main impacts of climate change is more erratic rainfall patterns. This poses a threat to crop yields and, combined with population increase, will mean considerable food security challenges for vulnerable countries in the future.”

The WMO delivered its statement on day two of the COP25 summit.

Representatives of almost 200 countries are attending the event in Madrid over the next two weeks.

Delegates will discuss how the aims of the Paris Agreement can be met while also ensuring a just transition for less advanced nations.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, the UN Secretary General António Guterres said the climate disaster facing the planet can be averted with the right political will.


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