The effects of climate change are “heading into uncharted territories of destruction”, United Nations secretary-general António Guterres said on Tuesday on the release of the United In Science 2022 report.
“Our climate is heating rapidly. Floods, droughts, heatwaves, extreme storms and wildfires are going from bad to worse, breaking records with ever alarming frequency,” Guterres, who just returned from Pakistan, said in a video message. “Heatwaves in Europe. Colossal floods in Pakistan. Prolonged and severe droughts in China, the Horn of Africa and the United States.”
The report, compiled by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and other scientific agencies, warned that the world is “going in the wrong direction” on climate change, citing the latest research on the subject.
“There is nothing natural about the new scale of these disasters. They are the price of humanity’s fossil fuel addiction. The number of weather, climate and water-related disasters has increased by a factor of five over the past 50 years,” Guterres said.
He complained that world leaders, especially those of developed countries, had failed to implement strategies to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures.
The global average temperature has already risen 1.1 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average, and scientists say there’s a chance we could pass the 1.5C warming threshold in the next five years.
It has never been warmer than it has been in the past seven years. Floods, heat, droughts, wildfires, and storms affect nearly half of the world’s population.
Global warming is expected to reach 2.8C at the end of the century without aggressive climate action. By 2050, over 1.6 billion urban residents will regularly suffer through three-month average temperatures of at least 35 degrees Celsius.