COP28: Year of record-breaking temperatures highlights the urgency of ambitious action
As we head toward the end of a year of record-breaking temperatures, Earth just had the hottest September ever – by a wide margin, according to the UN weather agency, WMO.
The data, sourced from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, paints a worrying picture of our changing climate.
The global average surface temperature soared in September to 16.38°C, a staggering 0.5°C above the previous record set by the same month of 2020. In a historical context, this September was approximately 1.75°C warmer than the pre-industrial period, while the Paris Agreement outlined 1.5°C degree rise as a frontier that should not be crossed.
The entire year appears to be well on its way to becoming the warmest on record, with temperatures around 1.4°C above pre-industrial averages.
The implications of these scorching statistics are far-reaching.
The UN weather agency has sounded the alarm, stating that these temperature anomalies surpass anything observed in the past.
Even more concerning is the fact that an El Niño event, known to contribute to warming, is currently developing, suggesting that these record-breaking temperatures may persist for months.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on the world to “stop the madness” of climate change during a visit to the Everest region in Nepal where melting glaciers are putting entire communities at risk of extinction. The country has lost almost a third of its ice volume in 30 years, with glaciers melting 65 per cent faster in the last decade than in the previous one.
“Glaciers are icy reservoirs – the ones here in the Himalayas supply fresh water to well over a billion people. When they shrink, so do river flows,” he added.With climate change-driven disasters on the rise, the UN chief António Guterres urges countries to enhance resilience and adaptation for a safer, fairer future.
Approximately 75 per cent of extreme weather events are now linked to climate change, primarily driven by carbon emissions. Paradoxically, the nations suffering the most from these disasters are often the smallest contributors to the issue. UN figures reveal that from 1970 through 2019, some 91 per cent of all of deaths from weather, climate, and water hazards occurred in developing countries.
The intertwined nature of the modern-day disasters is outlined in a new research by the UN University. The Interconnected Disaster Risks report 2023 delves into “risk tipping points,” a growing global challenge. Such points are reached when critical systems fail, heightening the risk of catastrophic consequences on various fronts.
On the road to COP28
All this alarming climate data reaffirms the need for the world to urgently scale up climate commitments, and the upcoming COP28 summit in the United Arab Emirates, is a crucial opportunity for nations to come together, agree on bold measures, and make meaningful strides towards a more sustainable and resilient future.
Moreover, with serious crises and strife in several parts of the world, it is a difficult and yet critical time for multilateral engagement.
Simon Stiell, the head of UN Climate Change, acknowledged the current global anxiety at the recent Pre-COP meeting to lay the groundwork for COP28 and emphasized: “Let us be united by the knowledge that climate change is our common challenge.”
In this edition of the UN News Climate Newsletter, we take stock of the latest developments and delve deep into the key reports by UN agencies on climate issues in the run-up to COP28, which will be held from 30 November to 12 December.
As usual, the Climate Dictionary and ‘Myth Busters’ sections close out this Newsletter’s line-up providing you with terminology and facts necessary to on the frontlines of climate action.
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