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Since the 1980s, each decade has seen higher temperatures than the last, signalling alarming global warming trends. Image: Unsplash

Weathering the Storm: WMO Leads The Charge On World Meteorological Day

Climate change presents a critical threat to our world, impacting every facet of our lives. The theme of World Meteorological Day 2024, “At the Frontline of Climate Action,” underscores the urgent need for collective efforts to combat this pressing issue.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, ratified by all member states of the United Nations in 2015, offers a collective roadmap for fostering peace and prosperity for both humanity and the environment, both presently and in the years ahead.

Central to this agenda are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which serve as an urgent plea for collaboration among nations, irrespective of their developmental status, in a global alliance.

These goals acknowledge the interconnectedness of eradicating poverty and addressing other forms of deprivation alongside efforts to enhance healthcare and education, diminish inequality, and stimulate economic advancement – all while combatting climate change and striving to safeguard our marine and forest ecosystems.

The Sustainable Development Goal 13 urges immediate action to combat climate change and its consequences, recognising that progress in this area is fundamental to achieving all other Sustainable Development Goals.

Escalating temperatures, extreme weather events, ocean warming, acidification, sea-level rise, and glacial retreat demand immediate attention. These challenges necessitate robust monitoring, research, and global cooperation.

The vital role of WMO

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) plays a pivotal role in climate action and sustainable development. Its work is integral to addressing hunger, poverty, health, clean water, energy, biodiversity, and urban resilience.

Scientific advancements are crucial in driving progress across the Sustainable Development Goals. WMO’s commitment to scientific research and collaboration is paramount in tackling the challenges posed by climate change.

WMO, along with its partners, monitors global climate indicators, fosters research, and provides critical climate information and tools to support decision-making at all levels, facilitating the mobilisation of climate finance.

Looking to the future

Here’s a sobering fact: Every successive decade since the 1980s has registered higher temperatures than the previous one, marking an alarming trend in global warming.

The year 2023 set a new record as the hottest year on record, with the average global temperature soaring approximately 1.45°C above the baseline average from 1850 to 1900. This concerning spike can be attributed primarily to a blend of human-induced climate change and the natural climatic event known as El Niño.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued a stark warning, stressing that urgent and drastic measures must be taken to address the escalating climate crisis. UN Secretary-General António Guterres has intensified his calls for unlocking financial resources crucial for both climate mitigation and adaptation efforts in developing nations.

It is imperative that developed countries ramp up their funding for adaptation, and aim to double it to a minimum of $40 billion annually by 2025. Guterres is rallying support across the entire United Nations system to facilitate governments in committing to new national climate strategies, referred to as Nationally Determined Contributions, which align with the imperative of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

Grounds for hope

Positive strides, such as the recovery of the ozone layer and the momentum towards renewable energy, provide hope for the future. International agreements, like the UAE consensus, demonstrate a collective commitment to transition away from fossil fuels and increase climate finance.

The upcoming Summit of the Future on 22 Sep this year aims to accelerate efforts to meet international commitments and address emerging challenges. Collaboration among governments, corporations, financial sectors, and civil society is imperative for a sustainable future.

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