Reveals fossil fuel emission rates now above pre-pandemic levels, calls for urgent action to mitigate emissions
RH Desk, Sept 15 2022
The world is heading in the wrong direction as the greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise to record highs, says a new report by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).
The report say that the fossil fuel emission rates are now above pre-pandemic levels after a temporary drop due to lockdowns across the world because of Covid 19.
“The science is clear – urgent action is needed to mitigate emissions and adapt to the changing climate”, says the report ‘United by Science’.
‘United by Science’ is a multiagency report coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization, which highlights the huge gap between aspirations and reality.
The report warns that without much more ambitious action, the physical and socioeconomic impacts of climate change will be increasingly devastating. It says the ambition of emissions reduction pledges for 2030 needs to be seven times higher to be in line with the 1.5 °C goal of the Paris Agreement.
Stating that the past seven years were the warmest on record, the report adds that there is a 48% chance that, during at least one year in the next 5 years, the annual mean temperature will temporarily be 1.5°C higher than 1850-1900 average.
“As global warming increases, “tipping points” in the climate system can not be ruled out,” the report says.
The multi-agency report provides an overview of the most recent science related to climate change, its impacts and responses.
The report includes input from WMO (and its Global Atmosphere Watch and World Weather Research Programmes); the UN Environment Programme, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, the World Climate Research Programme, Global Carbon Project; UK Met Office, and the Urban Climate Change Research Network. It includes relevant headline statements from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report.
The key Highlights of the report ‘United in Science’ include:
- Levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) continue to rise. The temporary reduction in CO2 emissions in 2020 during the pandemic had little impact on the growth of atmospheric concentrations (what remains in the atmosphere after CO2 is absorbed by the ocean and biosphere).
- Data from all global locations, including flagship observatories at Mauna Loa (Hawaii, USA) and Cape Grim (Tasmania, Australia) indicate that levels of CO2 continued to increase in 2021 and 2022.
- Global fossil CO2 emissions in 2021 returned to the pre-pandemic levels of 2019 after falling by 5.4% in 2020 due to widespread lockdowns. Preliminary data shows that global CO2 emissions in 2022 (January to May) are 1.2% above the levels recorded during the same period in 2019, driven by increases in the United States, India and most European countries.
- Despite a strong fluctuation in global emissions over the past two and a half years, fossil CO2 emissions fell significantly in 23 countries (many European countries, Japan, Mexico and the USA) during the pre-pandemic decade of 2010–2019.
- The most recent seven years, 2015 to 2021 were the warmest on record. The 2018–2022 global mean temperature average (based on data up to May or June 2022) is estimated to be 1.17 ± 0.13 °C above the 1850–1900 average. A La Niña event has had a slight cooling effect on temperatures in 2021/22 but this will be temporary.
- Around 90% of the accumulated heat in the Earth system is stored in the ocean, the Ocean Heat Content for 2018–2022 was higher than in any other 5-year period, with ocean warming rates showing a particularly strong increase in the past two decades.
- The annual mean global near-surface temperature for each year from 2022-2026 is predicted to be between 1.1 °C and 1.7 °C higher than pre-industrial levels (1850-1900).
- The likelihood of the annual mean global near-surface temperature temporarily exceeding 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels for at least one of the next five years is 48% and is increasing with time.
- However, there is only a small probability (10%) that the five-year mean will exceed this threshold. The Paris Agreement level of 1.5 °C refers to long-term warming, but individual years above 1.5 °C are expected to occur with increasing regularity as global temperatures approach this long-term threshold.