The head of the United Nations warned that climate impacts are heading to “areas of unknown destruction, chaos and permanent suffering if fossil fuels are not stopped”, and the bleak words of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres come with the release of the annual United in Science report, which outlines the scale of the climate crisis.
The report details how levels of greenhouse gases, largely carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, continue to rise.
And according to the British newspaper, “Daily Mail”, levels were higher at the beginning of this year than they were before the pandemic, which saw a temporary reduction in emissions due to the lockdown around the world.
The United In Science Report, coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), brings together the latest science on climate change, its impacts and responses.
This year’s data reveal that the world is experiencing rising global temperatures, floods, droughts and heat waves caused by climate change.
“Without ambitious action, the physical, social and economic impacts of climate change will be devastating,” the report warns.
According to the Global Carbon Project, global emissions recorded between January and May this year were 1.2% higher than those recorded in the same period in 2019.
The past seven years have been the warmest on record, but analysis by the Met Office shows there’s a 93% chance that the next five years will surpass all of them.
The report predicts that we may soon see irreversible changes occur in climate systems, such as the melting of the polar ice sheets, and it also cannot rule out levels of heat and humidity beyond which human outdoor work is not possible.
Densely populated cities will face more heat waves, torrential rains and coastal flooding, putting billions of people at risk.
According to the data, there is a huge gap between the pledges countries made under the Paris Agreement to curb global warming and the measures they are taking.