The global slowdown from the COVID-19 pandemic has not curbed rising levels of greenhouse gases, said the World Meteorological Organization in releasing its latest WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. Carbon dioxide levels have pushed passed another record threshold, after rising in 2019 at a rate faster than the average for the last 10 years.
2020 will likely be one of three warmest years on record, according to the provisional 2020 WMO State of the Global Climate report. Ocean heat is at record levels. Extreme heat, wildfires and floods, as well as a record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season, have affected millions of people. Climate impacts are compounding threats to human health, security and economic stability posed by COVID-19. Even with pandemic lockdowns slowing economic activity, atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases continued to rise.
Increasing temperatures and sea levels, changing precipitation patterns and more extreme weather are threatening human health and safety, food and water security and socio-economic development in Africa, according to the State of the Climate in Africa Report devoted exclusively to the continent. The report provides a snapshot of current and future climate trends and associated impacts on the economy and sensitive sectors like agriculture. It highlights lessons for climate action in Africa and identifies pathways for addressing critical gaps and challenges.
Between 1970 and 2019, 79% of disasters worldwide involved weather, water, and climate-related hazards. These disasters accounted for 56% of deaths and 75% of economic losses from disasters associated with natural hazards reported during that period. As climate change continues to threaten human lives, ecosystems and economies, risk information and early warning systems (EWS) are increasingly seen as key for reducing these impacts. This latest WMO report highlights progress made in EWS capacity – and identifies where and how governments can invest in effective EWS to strengthen countries’ resilience to multiple weather, water and climate-related hazards.
Climate change has not stopped for COVID19. United in Science 2020, a new multi-agency report from leading science organizations, highlights the increasing and irreversible impacts of climate change, which affects glaciers, oceans, nature, economies and human living conditions and is often felt through water-related hazards like drought or flooding. It also documents how COVID-19 has impeded our ability to monitor these changes through the global observing system.
The tell-tale physical signs of climate change, such as increasing land and ocean heat, accelerating sea level rise and melting ice, contributed to making 2019 the second warmest year on record according to a new report compiled by a network led by the World Meteorological Organization. The report documents the increasing impacts of weather and climate events on socio-economic development, human health, migration and displacement, food security and land and marine ecosystems.
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.
Limiting global warming to 1.5ºC would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in a new assessment. With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, limiting global warming to 1.5ºC compared to 2ºC could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society.
The WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin reports on atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere. The report found that levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached another new record high, according to the World Meteorological Organization. There is no sign of a reversal in this trend, which is driving long-term climate change, sea level rise, ocean acidification and more extreme weather.
The Synthesis Report (SYR) of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) provides an overview of the state of knowledge concerning the science of climate change. It shows that human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history. Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems.
People waste a substantial share of food, which is associated with up to 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Until now, the true scale of food waste and its impacts have not been well understood. Efforts to reduce it have been minimal, despite a global Sustainable Development Goal commitment to halving per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels. The Food Waste Index Report generates a new estimate of global food waste, and offers a methodology for countries to measure the problem and track national progress on reducing it.
The Initial NDC Synthesis Report shows nations must redouble efforts and submit stronger, more ambitious national climate action plans in 2021. That will be the only way to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise ideally by no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. The report looks at 75 new or updated action plans – known as NDCs – covering around 30 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Together, they would cut emissions by less than 1 per cent by 2030 compared to 2010 levels. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has indicated that emissions should be around 45 per cent lower.
Making Peace with Nature lays out the gravity of the Earth’s triple environmental emergencies – climate, biodiversity loss and pollution – through a unique synthesis of findings from major global assessments. It flags interlinkages between environmental and development challenges and describes the roles of all parts of society in the transformations needed for a sustainable future. Advances in science and bold policymaking can open pathways towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and a carbon neutral world by 2050, while bending the curve on biodiversity loss and curbing pollution and waste. Taking that path means innovation and investment only in activities that protect both people and nature; COVID-19 recovery plans are an unmissable opportunity to do so.
From Ambition to Impact: How companies are reducing emissions at scale with science-based targets is the first study to look at how setting science-based targets correlates with actually reducing corporate emissions. The study surveyed 338 companies with such targets, finding they have slashed combined emissions by 25 per cent since 2015. Annual emissions declined at a rate exceeding the one required to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Further, 2020 saw a milestone: the doubling of science-based climate commitments.
UN Environment | Global Climate Litigation Report: 2020 Status Review
The report provides an overview of the current state of climate change litigation globally, finding a rapid increase around the world. In 2017, 884 cases were brought in 24 countries. By July 2020, the number of cases had nearly doubled with at least 1,550 filed in 38 countries. The report shows how climate litigation is compelling governments and corporate actors to purse more ambitious climate change mitigation and adaptation goals. It looks at the role of fundamental human rights connected to a safe climate, and outlines how cases are forcing greater climate disclosures and ending “corporate greenwashing”.
The UNEP Adaptation Gap Report 2020 looks at progress in planning for, financing and implementing adaptation, with a focus on nature-based solutions. It finds some advances in planning, but also huge gaps in finance for developing countries. Implementation of adaptation projects lags behind, with many not yet delivering real protection against climate impacts such as droughts, floods and sea-level rise. The report calls for closing the gaps fast, and prioritizing nature-based solutions, or locally appropriate actions offering benefits to people and nature.
Go green with pandemic recovery packages. That’s the message of the 2020 Emissions Gap Report. It predicts that green recovery could shave emissions by 25 per cent by 2030, bringing the world closer to Paris Agreement goals to limit global warming. Despite a recent dip in emissions from lockdowns and slowing economies, temperatures are still rising at a record clip.
The world must cut fossil fuel production by 6 per cent per year to avoid the worst of global warming. Instead, countries are projecting an average annual increase of 2 per cent. Those are among the sobering findings of the latest Production Gap Report, issued by leading research organizations and the United Nations. The report urges making COVID-19 recovery a turning point, where countries should steer investments into changing course to avoid “locking in” dependence on polluting coal, oil and gas.
As the world strives to cut greenhouse gas emissions and limit climate change, it is crucial to track progress towards globally agreed climate goals. For a decade, UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report has compared where greenhouse gas emissions are heading against where they need to be, and highlighted the best ways to close the gap.
The flagship report from UN Environment is the definitive assessment of the 'emissions gap' – the gap between anticipated emission levels in 2030, compared to levels consistent with a 2°C / 1.5°C target. It found that global emissions are on the rise as national commitments to combat climate change come up short. But surging momentum from the private sector and untapped potential from innovation and green-financing offer pathways to bridge the emissions gap.
CBD | The Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 Report (2020)
Despite encouraging progress in several areas, the natural world is suffering badly and getting worse. The Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 (GBO-5) calls for a shift away from “business as usual” across a range of human activities. The report outlines eight transitions that recognize the value of biodiversity, the need to restore the ecosystems on which all human activity de-pends, and the urgency of reducing the negative impacts of such activity. It also shows that governments will need to scale up national ambitions in support of the new Global Biodiversity Framework and ensure that all necessary resources are mobilized, and the enabling environment strengthened.
IPCC | Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (2019)
The IPCC Special Report highlights the urgency of prioritizing timely, ambitious and coordinated action to address unprecedented and enduring changes in the ocean and cryosphere. Without a radical change in human behavior, hundreds of millions of people could suffer from rising sea levels, frequent natural disasters and food shortages, it warns.
The Special Report provides new evidence for the benefits of limiting global warming to the lowest possible level – in line with the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement. It also finds that strongly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, protecting and restoring ecosystems, and carefully managing the use of natural resources would make it possible to preserve the ocean and cryosphere.
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Climate Change (UNFCCC) have been working together since 2014 to support countries in developing their national climate plans --Nationally Determined Contributions for the Paris Agreement or NDCs. This report is the most detailed review yet of momentum since the Paris Agreement and is designed to both inspire and inform the UN Climate Action Summit in New York on 23 September.
UN Environment’s sixth Global Environment Outlook (2019) calls on decision makers to take immediate action to address pressing environmental issues to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals as well as other Internationally Agreed Environment Goals, such as the Paris Agreement.
By bringing together a community of hundreds of scientists, peer reviewers and collaborating institutions and partners, the GEO reports build on sound scientific knowledge to provide governments, local authorities, businesses and individual citizens with the information needed to guide societies to a truly sustainable world by 2050.
Land is already under growing human pressure and climate change is adding to these pressures. At the same time, keeping global warming to well below 2ºC can be achieved only by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors including land and food, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states in its latest report.
The report provides key scientific input into forthcoming climate and environment negotiations, such as the Conference of the Parties of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (COP14) in New Delhi, India in September and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Santiago, Chile, in December.
The United Nations has released its latest annual stocktaking on its environmental impact. Greening the Blue 2020 finds a downward trend in emissions for nearly 60 UN system entities and 310,000 staff members. It also highlights advances in environmental management.
A new report outlines how 38 major banks from six continents are putting their portfolios and business practices behind the Collective Commitment to Climate Action. The initiative mobilizes banks to join the transition to a net-zero economy. Members are applying climate science and adopting policies to exclude financing activities that worsen global warming.
Delivering on the $100 Billion Climate Finance Commitment and Transforming Climate Finance
Meeting the pledge by developed countries to mobilize at least US$100 billion a year to support developing countries in mitigating and adapting to climate change, lagging even before the COVID-19 pandemic, requires urgent action, according to a new report by independent experts released today by the United Nations.
September’s Climate Action Summit delivered important new actions, a surge in climate momentum, and a clear destination: 45% emissions cuts by 2030 on the way to a carbon neutral world by 2050. The Secretary-General’s report on the outcomes of the Summit highlights the way forward in 2020, and outlines ten priority areas of action.
The report “Climate Action and Support Trends” was prepared as UN Climate Change input to the UN Climate Action Summit, and it puts a spotlight on the progress made over the past 25 years since the inception of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This can help in scaling up further action, as governments prepare to submit the next round of national climate action plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), by 2020.
The next 2-3 years are a critical window when many of the policy and investment decisions that shape the next 10-15 years will be taken. The New Climate Economy report found that leaders are already seizing the exciting economic and market opportunities of the new growth approach, while the laggards are not only missing out on these opportunities but are also putting us all at greater risk. More than US$26 trillion and a more sustainable planet are on offer, if everyone gets on board.