UN Climate Report | Indicators higher than ever

Sea level rise, concentration of greenhouse gases, global temperature: the key indicators of climate change are higher than ever. A new UN report released on Wednesday again sounds the alarm about “humanity’s failure” against the environmental crisis.

Posted at 5:00 am

Henri Ouellette-Vezina

Henri Ouellette-Vezina
The press

“Humanity’s Greatest Challenge”


PHOTOGRAPH DENIS BALIBOUSE, REUTERS

Petteri Taalas, head of the World Meteorological Organization

“The global energy system is broken, bringing us ever closer to a climate catastrophe,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned, calling on the world “to end fossil fuel pollution and accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources” . In a press conference, the head of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Petteri Taalas expressed concerns that the war in Ukraine had overshadowed climate change, which “remains the greatest challenge facing humanity”.

Sea level rises sharply


PHOTOGRAPH L. TODD SPENCER, ASSOCIATED PRESS ARCHIVES

Sea level rise is accelerating at a rate of about 3.33 mm per year, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

Sign of the seriousness of the situation, sea level rise is accelerating at a rate of about 3.33 mm per year. Between 2013 and 2022, it has also increased by 4.5 mm annually with a peak in 2021, up from 2.1 mm between 1993 and 2002. Currently, sea levels are about 100 mm above normal, compared to the early 1990s. a record high last year.

Hot, very hot years


PHOTOGRAPH DARRYL DYCK, ASSOCIATED PRESS ARCHIVES

During the summer of 2021, British Columbia was ravaged by a heat wave and was also the prey of numerous wildfires, most notably in Lytton (pictured), which broke the record for the highest temperature ever recorded in the country.

We learn in the report that the past seven years have been the warmest on record in the world. The year 2021 was also one of the most critical, with an average global temperature about 1.11°C above pre-industrial levels. In early April, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned in a new report that limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C is still possible if global greenhouse gas emissions peak by 2025 at the latest.

“Not surprising”

For Damon Matthews, professor in the Research Chair in Climatology at Concordia University, such data is “not surprising.” “Despite all the discussions and efforts being made, the issue of climate change is not yet taken really seriously,” he says. “It just goes to show that we’re not working hard enough yet. Progress has been made in several areas, but much more will be needed to resolve the crisis,” estimates the expert, who mainly needs political courage to “stop not wanting to bully the fossil fuel industry”.

GHGs are shooting up


PHOTOGRAPH EDGARD GARRIDO, REUTERS ARCHIVES

Mexico City shrouded in a cloud of smog in early May

413.2. This is the parts per million of airborne carbon dioxide that reached the world in 2020, an unprecedented record that represents about 149% of the emissions observed before industrialization. And this figure appears to have continued to rise in 2021 and early 2022. Mr Taalas also confirmed that the incarcerations related to the health crisis did not ultimately affect the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Pollution and death


PHOTOGRAPH JASON FRANSON, THE CANADIAN PRESS ARCHIVES

Refinery in Edmonton, in 2018

A study from the scientific journal the lancet revealed this week that pollution has caused nearly 9 million deaths a year on the planet since 2019. Four years after an initial report, the situation has therefore not changed: about one in six premature deaths in the world is related to pollution. Unsurprisingly, low- and middle-income countries bear the brunt of the consequences, with 92% of these deaths and most of the resulting economic losses.

With Agence France-Presse

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