The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has issued their provisional statement on the State of the Climate in 2018, in which they warn that we are running out of time to combat climate change, reported the Guardian.
As global temperatures continue to rise, data shows that 2018 will be the fourth hottest year in a row, with temperatures almost 1 degree C above pre-industrial levels. Additionally, the 20 warmest years on record have all occurred in the past 22 years. The WMO warned that, based on current trends, global warming could reach 3 degrees C to 5 degrees C by the end of the 21st century.
WMO deputy secretary general Elena Manaenkova commented on the organization’s warning.
“These are more than just numbers. Every fraction of a degree of warming makes a difference to human health and access to food and fresh water, to the extinction of animals and plants, to the survival of coral reefs and marine life.”
Climate change has already started to cause significant effects on global temperatures and weather patterns. Extreme weather, including droughts, flooding, wildfires, and hurricanes, have affected all continents and sea levels continue to rise with the melting of sea ice and glaciers.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has reported that the world’s commitment to limit rising temperatures to 2 degrees C, with an ideal limit of 1.5 degrees C, should help slow down sea-level rising, coral reef dieback, and extreme weather patterns. However, the IPCC has found that if greenhouse gas emissions continue the way they are now, global temperatures could exceed the ideal limit.
A U.N. report reiterated this week that the world needs to triple its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to stay within 2 degrees C, and to stay within the 1.5 degrees C limit, the efforts need to be five times greater.
The secretary general of the WMO, Petteri Taalas, is a leading expert on climate change and commented on the recent findings.
“We are not on track to meet climate targets and rein in temperature increases. If we exploit all known fossil fuel resources, the temperature rise will be considerably higher. We are the first generation to fully understand climate change and the last generation to be able to do something about it.”
However, Jens Mattias Clausen, Greenpeace’s head of delegation at the U.N. climate change conference in Poland, believes we still have hope to stop climate change.
“The recent IPCC report also showed that we still have hope. We have 12 years to move the needle and any leader who comes to COP24 unprepared to step up and take action needs to read the WMO report and understand it’s time to stop talking and start acting on climate – while we still have the chance.”