This year is turning out to be the hottest year in human history, according to the tentative version of the “2023 Global Climate Status Report” released by the World Meteorological Organization on the opening day of the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The report revealed that average temperatures for the year were about 1.4 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial baseline, marking a record high.
The report also warned of the likelihood of El Niño intensifying next year, contributing to the escalating heat. Additionally, greenhouse gas levels have reached record highs, with carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere currently 50% higher than in the pre-industrial era. Sea level rise has hit a record high and is accelerating, further highlighting the urgent need for global climate action.
In response to these alarming findings, the World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Taalas called on global leaders participating in COP28 to take more action to protect people from climate disasters. Specifically, he emphasized the need for developed countries to fulfill their commitment to provide $100 billion per year and provide clear plans to double adaptation funding by 2025, ensuring that every vulnerable developing country receives the necessary support.
Moreover, the report highlighted that the impacts of climate change are particularly severe in Asia. Extreme weather events in 2022 affected more than 50 million people in the region, resulting in significant economic losses. World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Pietri Taalas stressed that these events will significantly impact future food and water security and ecosystems.
Looking ahead, industry insiders have expressed concern about the future, with Andrew Pershing, vice president of the non-profit climate research organization Climate Center, suggesting that 2023 may be considered a relatively cooler year compared to what lies ahead. The report data indicated that the world is almost certain to warm temporarily by 1.5 degrees Celsius over the next four years, with significant implications for the future.
In light of the growing climate crisis, efforts to address climate change are being bolstered on the international stage. More than 130 countries signed a declaration on food, agriculture, and climate action at COP28. The declaration aims to mitigate global greenhouse gas emissions while protecting the lives and livelihoods of farmers in areas most affected by climate change.
Furthermore, a historic “Climate Disaster Compensation Fund” was launched, which will provide funding to prevent the worst impacts of global warming. Several countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States, have pledged substantial contributions to the fund. Additionally, 50 energy companies, accounting for over 40% of global oil production, have signed the Oil and Gas Decarbonization Charter, signaling a commitment to accelerating climate action and reducing emissions.
In China, the National Climate Center revealed that this year’s autumn has been the warmest since 1961, with the national average temperature registering a record high. Additionally, Urumqi has experienced a historically late onset of winter, bringing attention to the potential impacts of rising temperatures and shifting climate patterns.
As the global climate crisis continues to worsen, the urgency for robust and immediate action to combat climate change is unequivocal. It is essential for countries, businesses, and individuals to prioritize climate action, foster sustainable practices, and work collectively to address the pressing challenges posed by climate change.