New In The New Year: 1.5 degree warmer world looms, but it’s not the end

Source: The post is based on the article “New In The New Year: 1.5 degree warmer world looms, but it’s not the end” published in Indian Express on 29th December 2022

What is the News?

The COP27 meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt was hailed as ‘historic’ for its decision to create a fund to help developing countries recover from climate-induced disasters. 

But the final outcome of the meeting can be seen as a half-adequate response to an extremely urgent global climate emergency.

What has been the progress towards keeping the temperature within 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial times?

The Sharm el-Sheikh outcome acknowledges that global greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced by at least 43% from 2019 levels by the year 2030, if hopes of keeping the temperature within 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial times are to remain alive. 

But the problem is that this reduction has not even started.

In fact, greenhouse gas emissions are still on the rise. Latest estimates suggest that the emissions for 2021 still to be calculated would be higher than 2019 and a new record.

According to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the year 2022 is likely to end up being about 1.15 degree Celsius warmer than pre-industrial times. It could have been even hotter if not for the cooling effect of the unusually prolonged La Nina event which has entered its third year now. 

The warmest year on record, 2016, was about 1.28 degree Celsius hotter than pre-industrial times.

What will happen if the temperature crosses 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial times?

The 1.5 degree Celsius warmer world would not be dramatically different from what we have today. The frequency and intensity of extreme weather events are predicted to increase with a further rise in temperature. 

But, in itself, the 1.5 degree Celsius mark is no special trigger. Neither is the 2-degree Celsius mark. The effort is to restrict the rise in temperatures to as low a level as possible in order to minimize the impacts of climate change.

What has been the impact of climate disasters on human life and the economy?

According to the WMO Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes, climate or weather-related disasters across the globe increased from 711 incidents in the 1970-79 decade to 3,165 incidents in the 2010-2019 period, an almost five-fold increase.

However, the number of human lives lost declined by almost 70% from about 556,000 in the 1970s to just about 185,000 in the previous decade.

On the other hand, the economic losses increased manifold — from about 175 billion USD in the 1970s to nearly 1.4 trillion USD in the 2010s — mainly because of the increase in the frequency of disasters and also in the value of the assets and infrastructure.

What are the recent steps taken to fight against climate disasters?

Executive Action Plan for the Early Warnings for All initiative by WMO

Infrastructure for Resilient Island States(IRIS) Initiative

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