Physical & economic impacts of climate change are accelerating: WMO study

WMO says physical signs of climate change are accelerating as temperatures drive towards increasingly dangerous levels

WMO says physical signs of climate change are accelerating as temperatures drive towards increasingly dangerous levels

Several countries had already signaled they would bring more ambitious plans to the NY climate summit, said Taalas, who is among the event's organizers.

FILE - The Eiffel Tower is illuminated in green with the words "Paris Agreement Is Done", to celebrate the day that the United Nations climate change agreement went into force, in Paris, Nov. 4, 2016.

The physical signs and socio-economic impacts of climate change are accelerating as record greenhouse gas levels drive global temperatures towards increasingly unsafe levels, according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

"Global temperature has risen to close to 1 [degree Celsius] above the pre-industrial period", Petteri Taalas, the secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization, said in a statement.

The report warns that key climate change indicators are becoming more pronounced.

The UN will convene a Climate Action Summit at Heads of State level in September this year and Guterres sent out a strong message to leaders warning against complacency ahead of the meeting.

"Don't come with a speech, come with a plan", he said, adding: "This is what science says is needed".

UN Secretary General António Guterres said that the report's findings are in line with the latest findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC).

The world's top diplomat said states should look at enhancing their national plans to reduce planet-warming emissions under the Paris Agreement to limit temperature rise.

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Across the globe, disasters affected almost 62 million people in 2018, mostly in floods, the WMO report said.

When it first came out in 1993, carbon dioxide levels were at 357 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere.

Super typhoon Mangkhut affected more than 2.4 million people and killed at least 134 people, mainly in the Philippines, said the report.

New evidence showed a continuing rise in world hunger after a prolonged decline, according to data compiled by United Nations agencies including the Food and Agriculture Organisation and World Food Programme.

The destruction wrought by Cyclone Idai in Africa earlier this month was a stark reminder of a planet out of whack due to greenhouse gas emissions blamed for climate change, he said, describing how extreme weather previous year disrupted a growing number of lives.

"For those who still think we can leave tackling climate change for tomorrow the message here is thunderous: the Perfect Storm is no longer brewing, it has arrived".

The report notes that 2018 was the fourth warmest year on record and 2015-2018 were the four warmest years on record as the long-term warming trend continues. Outlining the report's key findings, Professor Taalas warned of record greenhouse gas concentrations a year ago, that drove global temperatures towards increasingly unsafe levels.

Dr Sally Brown, research fellow, University of Southampton, said: "This report highlights the increase in the rate of sea level rise and this is a real concern for those living in low-lying coastal areas, for both developed and developing countries".

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