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Climate ‘abyss’ draws near — UN chief



PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF UN Icebergs fill the seemingly endless void of the Bellingshausen Sea in Antarctica.

The Earth’s temperature continues to rise unabated, with 2020 being one of the three warmest years on record, as extreme weather events combine with the Covid-19 pandemic, impacting millions.

According to the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) flagship State of the Global Climate report, the global average temperature in 2020 was about 1.2-degree Celsius above pre-industrial level.

That figure is “dangerously close” to the 1.5-degree Celsius limit advocated by scientists to stave off the worst impacts of climate change.

The six years since 2015 have been the warmest on record, and the decade beginning up to this year was the warmest ever.

“We are on the verge of the abyss,” Secretary-General António Guterres said at a press conference announcing the findings.

The stark warning from WMO comes ahead of the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate this week, convened by United States President Joe Biden, to galvanize efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet the targets of the historic 2015 Paris Agreement, agreed by all the nations of the world.

The UN chief underscored that 2021, “must be the year for action,” calling for a number of “concrete advances,” before countries gather in Glasgow in November, for COP26 — the 26th session of Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“Countries need to submit ambitious new nationally determined contributions that were designed by the Paris Agreement. Their climate plans for the next 10 years must be much more efficient.”