20 March 2014 – Weather and Climate: Engaging Youth is the theme of World Meteorological Day 2014, seeking to increase awareness among young people about climate change and mobilize them as champions for action.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is also using the 23 March occasion as a rallying call for more young people – especially women – to become meteorologists: a profession which makes a vital contribution to the safety and well-being of society.
Today’s youth will benefit from thedramatic advances being made in our ability to understand and forecast the Earth’s weather and climate. Most will live into the second half of this century and experience the increasing impacts of climate change.
“Atmosphere and ocean temperatures continue to increase, ice caps and glaciers around the world are steadily declining, sea level is rising and a number of extreme weather and climate events are becoming more frequent and/or more intense,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.
“Maintaining our current dependence on fossil fuels will lead us to a significantly warmer planet: by the end of the century the temperature could be up to 4 degrees Celsius higher than in pre-industrial times. Limiting the warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius can still be achieved, but it will require a rapid significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.”
“Achieving this objective demands urgent, decisive and courageous action. The world’s youth can be a powerful actor of change in this regard. Climate action is not just about CO2 emissions, it is about people, about the values we share and what each of us is ready to do to promote them. Young people are a source of innovation and of fresh insights into problems and their possible solutions. They call for just, equitable solutions,” said Mr Jarraud.
“While the challenges facing the next generations are enormous, the opportunities for addressing them have never been greater,” he said.
In order to help increase understanding of our weather and climate, WMO revamped its Youth Corner ahead of World Meteorological Day. It is available in English, French, Chinese and Spanish. It is also being translated into Arabic and Russian.
WMO has also updated its book A Career in Meteorology to encourage more young people to enter into this varied and challenging profession and so contribute to future understanding of and forecasting of both our daily weather and our long-term climate.
World Meteorological Day is held 23 March every year and marks the entry into force in 1950 of the WMO Convention creating an inter-governmental organization, as a successor to the non-governmental International Meteorological Organization (IMO) established in 1873.
National Meteorological and Hydrological Services around the world are marking World Meteorological Day with activities reaching out to young people and local communities.
Ahmed Alhendawi, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, said the theme of Youth was timely.
“Youth represent the majority of population in many countries around the world and have an increasingly strong social and environment awareness and they have the power to transform our societies to low carbon and climate resilient future,” he said in a video message.
“We need to strengthen formal and informal education about climate change, promote sustainability and support youth to become environmental champions in their own communities. We must ensure that youth are ready to join the emerging green economies around the world. Let’s remember there is always a Plan B, but there is no Planet B.”
Notes to Editors
The formal ceremony at WMO headquarters takes place 24 March 2013, starting at 2.30. Media are invited. WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud will give the welcome address. Special guest is Alain Ratier, Director-General of the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), will give a live video address.
There will also be a live video discussion with young researchers at the Neumayer-Station III in Antarctica (Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research). Students from the Ferny Model United Nations (FerMUN) will present the outcomes of their conference on climate change held earlier this year.
Details of the Programme
Weather, Climate and Water
For more information, please contact:
Clare Nullis, Media Officer, Communications and Public Affairs, Tel: +(41 22) 730 8478; (41-79) 7091397, email: cnullis (at) wmo.int