Climate change indicators reach record highs in 2021: UN

Four key indicators of climate change set new all-time highs in 2021, the United Nations said on Wednesday, warning that the global energy system was driving humanity toward catastrophe.

Greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rise, ocean heat and ocean acidification set new records last year, the UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in its “State of the Global Climate” report. in 2021″.

“The global energy system is broken, bringing us ever closer to climate catastrophe.”

WMO chief Petteri Taalas said the war in Ukraine has been overshadowing climate change, which “remains the biggest challenge we have as humanity.”

The report confirmed that the last seven years were the seven hottest years on record.

Even so, it was one of the warmest years ever recorded, with the average global temperature in 2021 about 1.11 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level.

“Frankly, all the major climate indicators are headed in the wrong direction and without much greater ambition and urgency, we are about to miss the narrow window of opportunity to keep the 1.5 degree target alive,” said Selwin Hart, climate action adviser to Guterres. Press conference.

“The heat trapped by human-induced greenhouse gases will warm the planet for many generations. Sea level rise, ocean heat and acidification will continue for hundreds of years unless means are invented to remove carbon. of the atmosphere,” he said.

Four key indicators of climate change “build a consistent picture of a warming world that touches all parts of the Earth system,” the report said.

Data indicates they continued to rise in 2021 and early 2022, according to the report.

Global mean sea level hit a new record high in 2021, rising an average of 4.5 millimeters per year between 2013 and 2021, according to the report.

Taalas said melting glaciers would raise sea levels for hundreds to thousands of years, due to CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

– Price of failure –

And the upper 2,000 meters of the ocean is expected to continue to warm in the future, “a change that is irreversible on centennial to millennial timescales,” the WMO said.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded with “very high confidence” that the open ocean’s surface acidity is the highest “for at least 26,000 years.”

“We are now headed for 2.5 to 3 degrees warming instead of 1.5, which would be best for our future.

rjm/nl/raz

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