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State of the Climate in 2018 shows accelerating climate change impacts
by World Meteorological Organization, agencies
1:29pm 29th Mar, 2019
28 Mar. 2019
State of the Climate in 2018 shows accelerating climate change impacts (WMO)
The physical signs and socio-economic impacts of climate change are accelerating as record greenhouse gas concentrations drive global temperatures towards increasingly dangerous levels, according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organization.
The WMO Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2018, its 25th anniversary edition, highlights record sea level rise, as well as exceptionally high land and ocean temperatures over the past four years. This warming trend has lasted since the start of this century and is expected to continue.
“Since the Statement was first published, climate science has achieved an unprecedented degree of robustness, providing authoritative evidence of global temperature increase and associated features such as accelerating sea level rise, shrinking sea ice, glacier retreat and extreme events such as heat waves,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.
These key climate change indicators are becoming more pronounced. Carbon dioxide levels, which were at 357.0 parts per million when the statement was first published in 1994, keep rising – to 405.5 parts per million in 2017. For 2018 and 2019, greenhouse gas concentrations are expected to increase further.
The WMO climate statement includes input from national meteorological and hydrological services, an extensive community of scientific experts, and United Nations agencies. It details climate related risks and impacts on human health and welfare, migration and displacement, food security, the environment and ocean and land-based ecosystems. It also catalogues extreme weather around the world.
“Extreme weather has continued in the early 2019, most recently with Tropical Cyclone Idai, which caused devastating floods and tragic loss of life in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. It may turn out to be one of the deadliest weather-related disasters to hit the southern hemisphere,” said Mr Taalas.
“Idai made landfall over the city of Beira: a rapidly growing, low-lying city on a coastline vulnerable to storm surges and already facing the consequences of sea level rise. Idai’s victims personify why we need the global agenda on sustainable development, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction,” said Mr Taalas.
The start of this year has also seen warm record daily winter temperatures in Europe, unusual cold in North America and searing heatwaves in Australia. Arctic and Antarctic ice extent is yet again well below average.
According to WMO’s latest Global Seasonal Climate Update (March to May), above average sea surface temperatures – partly because of a weak strength El Niño in the Pacific – is expected to lead to above-normal land temperature, particularly in tropical latitudes.
“The data released in this report give cause for great concern. The past four years were the warmest on record, with the global average surface temperature in 2018 approximately 1°C above the pre-industrial baseline,” Mr Guterres wrote in the report.
“These data confirm the urgency of climate action. This was also emphasized by the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C. The IPCC found that limiting global warming to 1.5°C will require rapid and far reaching transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport and cities and that global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide need to fall by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching net zero around 2050,” wrote Mr Guterres.
“There is no longer any time for delay,” said Mr Guterres, who will convene a Climate Action Summit at Heads of State level on 23rd September 2019.
The WMO report says that some 62 million people were directly affected by extreme weather and climate in 2018.
"The average number of people exposed to heatwaves has increased by 125 million since the beginning of the century, with deadly consequences."
Earlier this week the International Energy Agency published worrying data, indicating that in 2018 carbon emissions were up 1.7%, as a result of the fastest growth in energy use in the last six years.
* Access the report via the link below:
26 Mar. 2019
Cyclone Idai and floods hit Southern Africa: underlining the reality of climate change, reports Daud Kayisi for Oxfam
The devastating Cyclone Idai that hit south-eastern Africa may be the worst ever disaster to strike the southern hemisphere, according to the UN. Ever-worsening storms and climate change are destroying people''s lives - and the poorest are hit hardest.
It is 2am and you are fast asleep. Suddenly you hear people shouting and your neighbors are calling for you to wake up and leave the house immediately.
You grab your four-month old baby, wrap her tight around you, then grab your two daughters not worrying if they are awake or not.
Unimaginable thunder and the roaring of water keep bombarding your ears. The moment you step out of the house, you can hardly see for the thick clouds and heavy rain. You hear an unseen voice shouting at you: “Run, it is flooding!”
Everyone is in a panic with no sense of no direction and you do not know where to run to. You cannot go back into the house, so the only option you have is climb the nearest tree.
This is exactly happened to 36-year-old Malita Mishoni from Ntowa Village in Mozambique.
“For a second, I thought the world was ending - but I looked at my three children and said to myself, I need to do something. I climbed the tree near my house and clung to it while holding onto my three children until dawn,” she explains with tears welling in her eyes.
“I saw the waters rising and getting closer to where we were and I thought we would die.”
I asked Malita what food she and her children had while they were in the tree.
“We ate nothing and we never felt hungry,” she says.. I stayed in the tree with my two daughters and the baby for two days until the water began subsiding and people with canoes came.”
She made it with her children to Bangula Camp in Nsanje district in the southern tip of Malawi. The camp is now home to 5,000 displaced children, women and men from both Malawi and Mozambique who fled their homes with the arrival of Cyclone Idai.
She says, once the waters have subsided, she would like to go back and begin a new life again. Malita is among the 1,000 households at the camp that are receiving aid from Oxfam.
John Makina, Oxfam in Malawi Country Director says “People have been left with nothing. They need help now and in the months and years ahead to rebuild their communities in a way, which equips them for a world where climate change means extreme weather events such as Idai happen more often.
“Idai is yet another deadly warning of the impact of unchecked climate change unless governments, particularly major emitters, fail to cut emissions fast.”
Surely the 5000 children, women, men and very old people I walked among at the camp must not be subjected to this ever again. When they have played no role in degrading our environment, why should they continue paying the steepest price?

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