The latest State of the Global Climate report released by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has confirmed that 2023 was the hottest year on record.

According to the report, the global average near-surface temperature soared to 1.45 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial baseline, with a margin of uncertainty of ±0.12 degrees Celsius. Moreover, it marked the warmest decade on record.

The findings of the report indicate a series of alarming milestones, as records were not only surpassed but also substantially exceeded across various metrics. These include greenhouse gas levels, surface temperatures, ocean heat and acidification, sea level rise, Antarctic sea ice coverage, and glacier retreat.

The repercussions of these climate shifts were profound, as heatwaves, floods, droughts, wildfires, and intensifying tropical cyclones wreaked havoc, disrupting the lives of millions and causing extensive economic losses amounting to billions of dollars.

The persistence of extreme weather patterns in 2023 continued to inflict severe socio-economic repercussions globally. Widespread extreme heat events affected numerous regions, while devastating wildfires ravaged Hawaii, Canada, and Europe, resulting in loss of life, widespread property destruction, and significant air pollution.

Flooding triggered by intense rainfall associated with Mediterranean Cyclone Daniel caused devastation in Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, with Libya experiencing particularly heavy loss of life. The repercussions of these events, including food insecurity, population displacement, and impacts on vulnerable communities, remain pressing concerns exacerbated by weather and climate hazards across the globe. Ocean heat content soared to its highest level in the 65-year observational record.

WMO Secretary-General Prof. Celeste Saulo emphasized the organization's commitment to intensifying collaboration with the international community to address the magnitude of this crisis.

“WMO  and  its  Members  are  expanding  life-saving  early  warning  services  to  achieve  the ground-breaking Early Warnings For All initiative. A new Global Greenhouse Gas Watch seeks to provide scientifically-based information for climate change mitigation. The transition to renewable energy must be supported by tailor-made weather and climate services.”

In order to achieve success, Prof. Saulo emphasized the critical importance of leveraging efforts across the entire value chain. This includes enhancing climate data and monitoring capabilities, bolstering prediction and projection accuracy, and investing in capacity-building initiatives.

“We must make climate information more accessible and actionable to serve society. I hope this report will raise awareness of the vital need to scale up the urgency and ambition of climate action.”

Climate Policy Initiative

In 2021/2022, global climate finance reached an impressive USD 1.3 trillion, almost doubling from the levels seen in 2019/2020. According to the report, this substantial increase was primarily fueled by a significant uptick in mitigation finance, which rose by USD 439 billion compared to the previous reporting period. The remaining growth observed in 2021/2022 can be attributed to methodological enhancements and the inclusion of additional data sources in the Global Landscape of Climate Finance.

However, despite this notable surge in climate finance, the tracked flows represent only around 1% of global GDP. When compared to the estimated climate finance needs, it becomes evident that there exists a substantial financing gap that needs to be addressed.

“In  an  average  scenario, for  a  1.5°C  pathway,  annual  climate  finance  investments need to grow by more than six times, reaching almost USD 9 trillion by 2030 and a further USD 10 trillion through to 2050. Despite the large financing gap, the cost of inaction is even higher. Aggregating over the period  2025-2100,  the  total  cost  of  inaction  is  estimated  at  USD  1,266  trillion;  that  is,  the  difference in losses under a business-as-usual scenario and those incurred within a 1.5°C pathway.

This figure is, however, likely to be a dramatic underestimate of the true cost of inaction, since it does not capture losses to nature and biodiversity, and those induced by conflict and migration, among others. Indeed, the cost of inaction only promises to rise with insufficient mitigation and inadequate adaptation,” the report said.

The report highlighted that the increase in global climate finance during 2021/2022 was primarily driven by substantial boosts in clean energy investments concentrated in a select few regions. Notably, China, the USA, Europe, Brazil, Japan, and India collectively received 90% of the increased funds.

However, this disproportionate distribution leaves other regions, including many climate-vulnerable countries, and critical sectors such as agriculture and industry, largely neglected. Despite their significant potential for mitigation, these sectors receive disproportionately low levels of finance, exacerbating the existing imbalance in climate finance allocation.

“In  addition,  emerging  mitigation  technologies,  including  battery  storage  and  hydrogen,  are  only beginning to attract private finance and yet to be scaled-up. Of particular concern, adaptation finance continues to lag.  Though adaptation finance reached an all-time high of USD 63 billion in 2021/2022, the global adaptation financing gap is widening, falling well short of the estimated USD 212 billion per year needed up to 2030 in developing countries alone.  Tracked  adaptation  finance  remains  dominated  by  public  actors  (98%)  while  tracking  challenges  continue  to  impede  a  clear  picture  of  adaptation action by the private sector.

"The majority of adaptation finance is directed to the water and wastewater sector, reflecting efforts to build resilience to water stress, while other sectors with wide-ranging adaptation potential – for example, agriculture – continue to receive only minimal finance. Mainstreaming adaptation and resilience into development pathways is imperative, particularly in highly vulnerable developing countries."

The report emphasized the need for all actors must urgently work to scale the quantity and quality of climate finance.

“Key  priorities  for  ensuring  more  and  better  climate  finance  include:  transforming the  financial  system  with  an  emphasis  on  concessional  financing  and  de-risking;  bridging climate and development needs, harnessing synergies to deliver co-benefits for both people and nature; mobilizing domestic capital, with an emphasis on enabling policies and regulatory frameworks; and improving the availability and accessibility of quality, granular data to measure and manage progress.”

DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.

DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.