NEW DELHI :
Signalling a climate crisis, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on Tuesday said 2019 marks the end of warmest decade on record with global average temperatures about 1.1 °C above the pre-industrial period.
According to WMO, concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which had hit a record level of 407.8 parts per million (ppm) in 2018, continued to rise in 2019. Carbon dioxide lasts for centuries in the atmosphere and the oceans, thus locking in climate change.
“If we do not take urgent climate action now, then we are heading for a temperature increase of more than 3°C by the end of the century. We are nowhere near on track to meet the Paris Agreement target," said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. The agreement calls for limiting the global average temperature rise this century to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, while pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.
The provisional statement on the ‘State of the Global Climate 2019’ was in the backdrop of the United Nations (UN)’s key meet on climate change- 25th Conference of Parties COP- underway in Madrid, Spain, with delegates from 200 countries including India set to engage in climate change negotiations.
The WMO said Asia remained the world’s most disaster displacement-prone region due to both sudden and slow-onset disasters. The heat waves and floods which used to be “once in a century" events are becoming more regular occurrences.
According to the report, 7 million internal displacements were recorded between January and June 2019 which were triggered by hazard events which also included displacements caused by Cyclone Fani which hit Odisha coast in May and was the strongest tropical cyclone to hit the state since 1999.
The ocean heat was at record levels this year and tropical cyclone activity globally was also above average. The northern hemisphere, till date in 2019, has had 66 tropical cyclones compared with the average at this time of year of 56. “So far in 2019, the ocean has on average experienced around 1.5 months of unusually warm temperatures and the sea-levels continue to rise," said Tallas.
Erratic rainfall patterns dominated global climate, posing a threat to crop yields and thus food security in vulnerable countries. The report also highlighted how the onset and withdrawal of the Indian monsoon were delayed, causing a large precipitation deficit in June but an excess of precipitation in the following months.
The 25th COP kicked off in Madrid on Monday and will conclude on 13 December. The Indian delegation would be led by Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar.