2015 to 2021 were the hottest seven years on record: UN

2015 to 2021 were the hottest seven years on record: UN

The years 2015 to 2021 are set to be the seven hottest on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization, which has warned the world is entering “uncharted territory.”

According to the preliminary report on the state of the climate of the World Meteorological Organization, published at the start of the UN climate conference COP26, global warming from greenhouse gas emissions threatens “profoundly. repercussions for present and future generations “.

Based on data from the first nine months of the year, the World Meteorological Organization predicted that 2021 would be the fifth to seventh hottest year on record, despite the cooling effect of the La Nina phenomenon, which lowered temperatures at the start of the year.

“From the depths of the oceans to the peaks of the mountains, from melting glaciers to relentless extreme weather events, ecosystems and communities around the world are being devastated,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement on the report.

He went on to say that the two-week COP26 climate conference “must be a turning point for people and the planet”.

According to the WMO, the average temperature in 2021 will be about 1.09 degrees Celsius higher than pre-industrial levels.

And, for the first time, the average temperature over the past 20 years (2002-2021) has exceeded the symbolic threshold of 1 degree Celsius above the mid-19th century, when humans began to burn fossil fuels at large scale.

This will “focus the minds of delegates to COP26 aspiring to keep global temperature rise within limits agreed in Paris six years ago,” according to Stephen Belcher, chief scientist at the Met Office in the UK.

Countries agreed in 2015 to limit global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and to 1.5 degrees Celsius if possible.

Since then, the world has witnessed a series of weather disasters, including record-breaking wildfires in Australia and Siberia, a thousand-year-long heat wave in North America, and extreme precipitation that caused massive flooding in Asia, Africa, the United States and Europe.

“Extreme events are the new normal,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

“There is growing scientific evidence that some of them bear the imprint of human-induced climate change. “

“Unimaginable” ramifications

The State of the Climate report provides an overview of global health, including temperature, extreme weather conditions, retreating glaciers and melting ice.

The acidification of the oceans caused by the uptake of carbon dioxide by the seas was “unprecedented” for at least 26,000 years, according to the WMO, and will reduce the ability of the oceans to absorb more CO2.

In the meantime, sea level rise had reached a new high, mainly due to expanding seawater warming and melting land ice.

According to Jonathan Bamber, director of the Bristol Glaciology Center, the report is “shocking and deeply disturbing, and yet another red flag to world leaders that the time is up for discussion”.

If current trends continue, he said, sea level rise could exceed two meters (over six feet) by 2100, displacing an estimated 630 million people globally.

“The consequences of this are unimaginable,” Bamber said.

“What is needed now is deep and comprehensive action by each nation and state actor to limit a deeper and deeper degradation of the climate.”