World running out of time to tackle climate crisis: UN

UN Secretary-General António Guterres says the world is “on the verge of the abyss”

2021 must be the year of action for protecting people against the “disastrous” effects of climate change, the United Nations said on Monday ahead of a crucial US-convened summit.

Time is fast running out to tackle the climate crisis, the UN warned, with the Covid-19 pandemic having failed to put the brakes on “relentless” climate change.

Forty world leaders have been invited to attend Biden’s virtual talks aimed at galvanising efforts by the major economies to tackle the climate crisis.

“This is truly a pivotal year for humanity’s future. And this report shows we have no time to waste, climate disruption is here,” Guterres said, as he urged countries to “end our war on nature.”

Last year featured “extreme weather and climate disruption, fuelled by anthropogenic climate change, affecting lives, destroying livelihoods and forcing many millions from their homes,” Guterres said.

– Stabilising the temperature –

The WMO believes there is at least a one in five chance of the average global temperature temporarily exceeding the 1.5 C mark by 2024.

“As long as we are not actually treating the crisis like a crisis, of course we won’t be able to achieve any major changes,” Thunberg told a World Health Organization event.

It also highlights impacts on socio-economic development, migration and displacement and food security.

Stabilising global mean temperature at 1.5 to 2 Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century “will require an ambitious reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, which must begin to occur during this decade.”

– Hottest years –

Statistics showed that 2020 was one of the three warmest years on record. The past six years, including 2020, have been the six warmest on record.

The report said sea-level rise was accelerating, while ocean heat storage and acidification is increasing, diminishing the ocean’s capacity to moderate climate change.

Extreme heatwaves, severe droughts and wildfires also led to tens of billions of dollars in economic losses and many deaths.

“This year is pivotal. At the United Nations climate conference, COP26, in November, we need to demonstrate that we are taking and planning bold action on mitigation and adaptation,” said Guterres.


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