World weather agency says insufficient action on climate puts lives in danger


Anjali Sharma

GG News Bureau

UNITED NATIONS, 15th Sept. The UN Weather agency released a report on Thursday said that insufficient progress towards climate goals is slowing down the global fight against poverty, hunger and deadly diseases, putting millions of lives in danger.

UN head  António Guterres echoed that message, warning that record temperatures and extreme weather were “causing havoc” around the world.

Mr. Guterres said the global response has fallen “far short” as latest UN data indicates that the Sustainable Development Goals are only 15 per cent on track at the midway point of the 2030 Agenda.

According to WMO, current policies will lead to global warming of at least 2.8 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels over the course of this century – well above the Paris Agreement target of 1.5°C.

This year’s northern hemisphere summer has been the hottest on record, prompted UN chief to reiterate his call for a “surge in action”.

Mr. Guterres in his foreword to the report underscored that weather, climate, and water-related sciences can “supercharge progress on the SDGs across the board”.

The United in Science report put together by expertise from 18 UN organizations and partners, showed how climate science and early warnings can save lives and livelihoods, advance food and water security, clean energy and better health.

The recent flooding in Libya has claimed thousands of lives.

WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas stressed that a lack of adequate forecasting capacity can have deadly consequences for a country when faced with extreme weather events.

He highlighted the risky situation developing in Sudan, where conflict has crippled the agency’s capacity to forecast hazards.

He said that the head of Libya told him that most of her staff members escaped Khartoum and were unable to “run their business in a normal way”, he said.

“They are not able to forecast this kind of high-impact weather events anymore,” he warned.

WMO noted extreme weather events are a key factor in the spread of global hunger and the new report seeks to inform urgent action on this front as the UN estimates that nearly 670 million people may be food insecure in 2030.

The report’s authors explored the link between life-saving food production and nutrition, and investments in weather sciences and services which enable farmers to make decisions on crops and planting.

The early warnings are also crucial to “helping identify potential areas of crop failure that may lead to emergencies”.

“United in Science” includes analysis from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that climate change and extreme events such as heatwaves are set to “significantly increase ill health and premature deaths”.

The report’s findings showed that integrating epidemiology and climate information makes it possible to forecast and prepare for outbreaks of climate-sensitive diseases, such as malaria and dengue.

Early-warning systems can help to reduce poverty by giving people the chance to anticipate and “limit the economic impact” of disasters.

The WMO-led report showed that between 1970 and 2021, there were 12,000 reported disasters from weather, climate and water extremes, causing $4.3 trillion in economic losses the majority of them in developing countries.

WMO deplored the fact that so far, there has been “very limited progress” in reducing the gap between promises that countries made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the level of emissions cuts really needed to achieve the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement.

To limit global warming to 1.5°C, global greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 45 per cent by 2030, with carbon dioxide emissions falling close to net zero by 2050.

The report’s authors wrote thatsome future changes in climate are unavoidable, “every fraction of a degree and ton of CO2 matters to limit global warming and achieve the SDGs”.

The agency underscored the importance of the UN’s “Early Warnings for All” initiative aiming to ensure that “everyone on Earth is protected from hazardous weather, water, or climate events through life-saving early warning systems by the end of 2027”.

It said that only half of the countries worldwide report having adequate multi-hazard early warning systems.

The United in Science report was issued ahead of the SDG Summit and Climate Ambition Summit which will be held next week at the UNGA.

Secretary General told reporters in New York on Wednesday that “These meetings will “shine a spotlight on how to rescue the SDGs at the half-way mark to 2030” and “boost ambition to tackle the climate crisis”.

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