UN Reacts To Climate Report

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New Report: UN says COVID-19 did not slow down climate change

By Ben Burke (Producer)

According to the new report, the COVID-19 pandemic caused only a temporary reduction in carbon emissions and did not slow climate change. The video above shows two UN officials discussing the report.

The United in Science 2021 report was released Thursday by the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization.

“Last year, we estimated that there was a 5.6 percent drop in emissions and since the lifetime of carbon dioxide is so long, this one year anomaly in emissions doesn’t change the big picture,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said Thursday.

However, Taalas did find some positives in the climate change report.

“We saw some improvements in air quality, these short-lived gases, which are affecting air quality,” Taalas said. “Positive things have started to happen and the political interest to mitigate climate change is clearly growing.”

Among some of the other findings in the climate change report:

  • Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere continue at record levels.
  • Rising global temperatures are fueling devastating extreme weather throughout the world. Examples include recent Hurricanes Nicholas, Ida and Henri.
  • Billions of work hours have been lost through heat alone.
  • The average global temperature for the past five years was among the highest on record.
  • Because of the long-lasting effects of many emissions already released into the atmosphere, further impacts are inevitable.

The climate change report is expected to create more concern that countries will not achieve their goal of limiting the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius, set in the 2015 Paris Climate Accords.

“Now we are heading towards 2 to 3 degrees warming instead of 1.5 to 2 degrees,” Taalas said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres agreed that “unless there are immediate, rapid and large scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” the goal will not be reached.

“We have reached the tipping point on the need for climate action. The disruption to our planet and our climate is already worse than we thought and it is moving faster than predicted,” Guterres said. “This report shows just how far off course we are.”

 

Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations: “We have reached the tipping point on the need for climate action. The disruption to our planet and our climate is already worse than we thought and it is moving faster than predicted. Yet, we are far from meeting the goals of the five-year old Paris Agreement. This report shows just how far off course we are. The past five year period is among the hottest on record. We continue to destroy the things on which we depend on for life on earth.”

Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations: “Unless there are immediate, rapid and large scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, we will be unable to limit global heating to 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

“We have heard the encouraging news. It seems that quite many countries worldwide are aiming at becoming carbon neutral by 2050 or 2060, which is which is the aim of China and the good news is that they also have both the technological and financial means to be successful with climate mitigation and even theoretically reach the low limit of Paris Agreement, 1.5 degrees. But what needs to happen is that we have to start acting, during this decade. We cannot wait for several decades to act otherwise we will lose the chance to reach this Paris 1.5 to 2 degrees.”

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According to the new report, the COVID-19 pandemic caused only a temporary reduction in carbon emissions and did not slow climate change. The video above shows two UN officials discussing the report.

The United in Science 2021 report was released Thursday by the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization.

“Last year, we estimated that there was a 5.6 percent drop in emissions and since the lifetime of carbon dioxide is so long, this one year anomaly in emissions doesn’t change the big picture,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said Thursday.

However, Taalas did find some positives in the climate change report.

“We saw some improvements in air quality, these short-lived gases, which are affecting air quality,” Taalas said. “Positive things have started to happen and the political interest to mitigate climate change is clearly growing.”

Among some of the other findings in the climate change report:

  • Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere continue at record levels.
  • Rising global temperatures are fueling devastating extreme weather throughout the world. Examples include recent Hurricanes Nicholas, Ida and Henri.
  • Billions of work hours have been lost through heat alone.
  • The average global temperature for the past five years was among the highest on record.
  • Because of the long-lasting effects of many emissions already released into the atmosphere, further impacts are inevitable.

The climate change report is expected to create more concern that countries will not achieve their goal of limiting the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius, set in the 2015 Paris Climate Accords.

“Now we are heading towards 2 to 3 degrees warming instead of 1.5 to 2 degrees,” Taalas said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres agreed that “unless there are immediate, rapid and large scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” the goal will not be reached.

“We have reached the tipping point on the need for climate action. The disruption to our planet and our climate is already worse than we thought and it is moving faster than predicted,” Guterres said. “This report shows just how far off course we are.”

 

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