Warming weather on Earth and sea levels are getting worse, and faster than before, the World Meteorological Organization warned as world leaders began gathering in Egypt for international climate talks at Cop27.
The latest State of the Global Climate report is a chronicle of climate chaos,” said United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “We must respond to the planet’s distress signal with action — ambitious, credible climate action.”
In its annual climate report, the United Nations Meteorological Agency said sea level rise over the past decade has been twice what it was in the 1990s and has been rising even faster since January 2020.
According to the WMO, the past eight years have been the warmest on record.
“The game we lost to the melting (of the ice) and also the sea level rate,” WMO chief Petteri Taalas said. “So far there are no positive signs.”
The only reason the globe hasn’t broken annual temperature records in recent years is due to a rare three-year weather phenomenon in La Nina, he said.
The data on sea levels and average temperatures are nothing compared to how climate change has affected people in extreme weather.
The report highlights the summer floods in Pakistan that killed more than 1,700 people and displaced 7.9 million people, a crippling four-year drought in East Africa that left more than 18 million hungry, the drying up of the Yangtze River at its lowest As of August and record heat waves grilling people in Europe and China.
Concentrations of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide all hit record highs, with strong methane increasing at record speeds, the report said.
Ice, both the Greenland ice sheet and the world’s glaciers, are shrinking precipitously, the report said. For the 26th year in a row, Greenland has lost ice if all types of ice are included.
The amount of glacial snow in Switzerland fell by more than a third from 2001 to 2022, the report says.
But 90% of the heat trapped on Earth goes to the ocean, and the upper part of the ocean is warming faster. The rate of warming over the past 15 years is 67% faster than since 1971, the report said.
This ocean heat “will continue to warm into the future — a change that is irreversible on timescales ranging from centuries to millennia,” the report said.
Political leaders from around the world have a “special responsibility” to drive the change needed to tackle climate change, Taoiseach Micheal Martin said ahead of the conference.
He made the comments as he prepared to attend the Cop27 UN climate talks in Egypt.
Mr. Martin will attend the event, as will Eamon Ryan, Secretary of State for Environment, Climate Change and Communications, Simon Coveney, Secretary of State, and Colm Brophy, Secretary of State for International Development Assistance and Diaspora.
At the Summit, the Taoiseach will participate in a series of high-level events and roundtables, including on food security and the sustainability of vulnerable communities.
He will join Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for a working breakfast on The Global Shield Against Climate Risks, a new initiative sponsored by and aimed at the G7 and V20 Group of Vulnerable Countries to increase the funding needed to protect against climate risks Climate risks in poor countries.
On Tuesday afternoon, Mr Martin will deliver Ireland’s national statement, outlining Ireland’s climate ambitions and the Government’s commitment to support vulnerable countries which, despite having contributed the least to climate change, are bearing the brunt of its impacts.
He will also have a series of bilateral meetings with other side leaders.
Cop27 will focus on the acute climate-related challenges facing many African countries and on delivering on commitments made by previous Cops.
Delegates will seek to make progress on tackling loss and damage caused by climate change and increasing resources for climate resilience.
Before the summit, the Taoiseach said, “Climate change is the greatest challenge facing the world.
“Its effects are already being felt in more extreme weather events, and its consequences are fueling conflict, global instability, competition for resources and abject human misery in some of the world’s poorest countries.
“Political leaders meeting at Cop27 have a special responsibility to drive the transformation needed to ensure the sustainable future of our planet and its people.
“It is quite clear that some of the countries that have contributed the least to climate change are bearing the brunt of its impacts.
“Many of these vulnerable countries lack the resources they need to address the challenges they face.
“I expect climate finance to be a prominent topic in our discussions at the summit and I hope that developed countries will step up and ensure commitments made at previous meetings are honored.”
Mr Ryan said: “The devastating effects of climate change are clear to all as extreme weather events become more common around the world. We know we must act now to protect people and the planet, and it’s important that we act together.
“We must act as hard and as quickly as possible to reduce our emissions. Every kg of emissions saved counts here. Cop27 is an opportunity to work together to keep commitments already made on track and make further progress towards net zero ambition.
“Ireland has committed to reducing its emissions by 51% by 2030 and to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, as set out in the Climate Action Plan 2021.
“This year’s follow-up to that plan, which we will release in December, will emphasize the need to accelerate action to decarbonize our economy and transition to renewable energy.
“The magnitude of the changes we need to make is unparalleled, but I am optimistic that we can do it and that we will do our part to ensure that we have a greener, healthier and more prosperous world that we can pass on to our children and families whose children can pass on .”
Mr Coveney said: “2022 was a year of devastating climate impacts.
“The deadly floods in Pakistan are just one recent example of why the decisions to be made at Cop27 are so important.
“I look forward to attending the conference on Wednesday to hold discussions with climate-sensitive countries and with Ireland’s partners to see what else Ireland can do to encourage strong and rapid climate action.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/environment/last-eight-years-hottest-ever-on-record-un-report-warns-as-cop27-gets-under-way-42122823.html The past eight years have been the hottest ever, the UN report warns at the start of COP27