UN issues a stark warning on rising temperatures, with Secretary-General Guterres calling for immediate global measures to combat climate collapse and protect vulnerable communities from catastrophic impacts
A provisional report from the UN World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) indicates that 2023 is poised to become the warmest year on record, with global temperatures soaring 1.4 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. UN Secretary-General António Guterres has declared a race to preserve the 1.5-degree limit set in Paris in 2015, warning of ongoing climate collapse.
Guterres, who recently witnessed the impacts of global warming in Antarctica and Nepal, expressed shock at the rapid recession of glaciers and record low sea ice. The WMO's report reveals alarming trends, including a drastic reduction in Antarctic sea ice extent and extreme melting in glaciers across western North America and the European Alps.
The report underscores a surge in atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, reaching record highs in 2022 and continuing to rise in 2023. Carbon dioxide levels, now 50 percent above the pre-industrial era, signal prolonged temperature increases.
WMO chief Petteri Taalas stressed the urgency for action to mitigate climate risks, emphasising the report's real-world impacts, from deadly Cyclone Daniel in Libya to devastating floods in the Horn of Africa and severe smoke pollution from Canada's forest fires.
UN Secretary-General Guterres called upon world leaders to triple renewables, double energy efficiency, and phase out fossil fuels, aligning with the roadmap to limit global temperature rise. He urged governments to set clear expectations for climate action plans and invest in implementation.
As COP28 kicks off, a global stocktake will assess collective progress in emission reduction and adaptation efforts. Guterres emphasised the need for swift action, including global coverage for early warnings against extreme weather by 2027 and operationalizing a loss and damage fund for vulnerable regions. Developed countries must honour climate finance commitments, delivering $100 billion annually and doubling funding for adaptation efforts.