New findings from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reveal national commitments to reduce emissions, known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs), currently fall far short of what is needed to achieve the target.
The findings show that, there’s a 40% chance of at least one year being 1.5C warmer than the pre-industrial level by 2025.
The Paris Agreement aims to keep global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase further to 1.5°C.
But according to the WMO findings, the probability of reaching temporary 1.5°C has roughly doubled compared to last year’s predictions. This is primarily due to the use of an enhanced temperature dataset to estimate the baseline rather than sudden changes in climate indicators.
“It is very unlikely (10%) that the 5 year mean annual global temperature for the entire 2021-2025 period will be 1.5°C warmer than preindustrial levels,” the statement says.
There is also a 90% chance of at least one year exceeding the current warmest year, 2016, by 2025.
Almost all regions, except parts of the southern oceans and the North Atlantic are likely to be warmer than the recent past in the same period.
Also, high latitude regions and the Sahel are likely to be wetter than the recent past by 2025.
The forecast models do not take into account changes in emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols as a result of the coronavirus lockdown.
According to WMO’s media officer, Clare Nullis, the research was not specific to Africa, but the continent which is the most vulnerable though it is the least contributor of greenhouse gases.
She adds that the research findings are “more than mere statistics”.
“It matters a lot because rising temperatures mean we are going to see more heat waves, more temperature record broken,” she states.
Climate change is also accompanied by uncertain precipitation patterns and that is, “very important all over the world but particularly in African countries where people depend heavily on rainfall agriculture.”
She states, climate change means sea levels are rising and that leads to coastal hazard.
“Oceans are becoming warmer and more acidic because of carbon dioxide so this has a major impact on fisheries migrating to cooler and the acidity of the water is having a harmful effect.”
Nullis says many government leaders throughout the world recognized the need to be much more ambitious and take quicker to reduce greenhouse gases.
“We are definitely not on target to reach the Paris agreement but we should not give up. There is a huge amount of momentum now, much more commitment from political leaders, industries and the corporate world.”
But what the WMO observes due to the increasing temperatures heat related problems especially among the vulnerable population such as elderly and the very young.
“Certainly heat related stress is on the rise and suspected to increase. And then you have water related health issues in situation where there is drought we see food insecurity which tends to lead to problems of malnutrition.”
Excess rainfall and flooding also increase waterborne disease such as cholera.
“We are also changes in the patterns of vector borne disease such malaria and dengue fever. But our instruments to deal with climate-related diseases are improving.”
The WMO is already working in Africa to increase the resilience of farmers and local communities to extreme weathers such flooding and heavy rainfall.
There are also works to improve seasonal climate outlook so that farmers will know ahead of time to expect less or more rainfall.
“People can make an impact by changing their lifestyles, changing the energy use.”
Nullis says forests are a very important carbon sink and deforestation in Africa makes carbon dioxide when the forest is brunt, but it also reduces the future capacity of carbon sink.
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