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Climate change hits harder

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Children and adults make their way, on foot and in rafts, through flooded streets to higher ground at a highway median, in eastern Jakarta, Indonesia. / Photograph courtesy of UN

Extreme weather and climate events have increased in frequency, intensity and severity as a result of climate change, hitting vulnerable communities disproportionately hard, a new UN report has revealed, calling for greater investment in effective early warning systems.

The State of Climate Services 2020 Report: Move from Early Warnings to Early Action, released on Tuesday by the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO), underscored the need to switch to impact-based forecasting — an evolution from “what the weather will be” to “what the weather will do” so that people and businesses can act early, based on the warnings.

“Early warning systems constitute a prerequisite for effective disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. Being prepared and able to react at the right time, in the right place, can save many lives and protect the livelihoods of communities everywhere,” Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of WMO, said.

He also highlighted that while it could take years to recover from the human and economic toll of the coronavirus disease pandemic, it is crucial to remember that climate change will continue to pose an ongoing and increasing threat to human lives, ecosystems, economies and societies for centuries to come.

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