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WMO predicts a negative trend in climate change through the 2060s.

The secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has cautioned that the unfavorable trend in climate will persist for the ensuing decades even with successful attempts to mitigate it.

However, Petteri Taalas told Anadolu in an interview that “the negative trend in climate will continue until the 2060s regardless.”

The melting of glaciers and the rise in sea level, however, are a game we have essentially lost and will persist for the next several thousand years, Taalas said. “And if we are successful in climate mitigation, we could phase out this negative trend,” he added.

The good news, he said, is that the world now has the technological tools to be successful in climate mitigation. He emphasized that it will be a long-term threat in many locations around the world, especially for coastal areas and the Mediterranean region.

He added that governments started taking action against climate change, but stressed that those countries that are going through an economic transition ought to join in as well.

Despite the fact that the cost of solar and wind energy is declining and there are an increasing number of electric vehicles on the road, the world is not likely to achieve the Paris Agreement objective of limiting global warming to 1.5Β°C.

“It is a challenge because we are now not moving toward the Paris 1.5 degrees target. We must step up our efforts to reduce global warming, he said, adding that the research community has determined that a 1.5C objective would be best for the welfare of people, the environment, and the world economy.

Turkey, the Mediterranean region

Two hotspots exist where global warming and climate change are “more effective” than they are elsewhere, according to Taalas.

“Number one is the Arctic, and the second largest warming we have seen taking place is in the Mediterranean region,” he declared. And this downward tendency is predicted to continue for the foreseeable future.

Accordingly, the Mediterranean region will become “both warmer and also drier,” and the rising sea level will have an effect on coastal areas.

Of course, this is bad news for agriculture. It’s awful news for the region’s economy and population,” he continued.

The secretary-general stated that Turkey, which is anticipated to be among the nations that would feel the effects of climate change the most strongly, will see “much higher temperatures in the future, especially during the summer half of the year.”

“There will be less precipitation overall, and ground evaporation will be increased. In the long run, there is a possibility of a sea level rise of up to several meters, he added. Gradually, we will also notice the effects of sea level rise. But that’s a pretty slow development.

However, he went on to say that in the ensuing decades, heatwaves and droughts will become “more frequent.”

WMO’s yearly climate change report

Taalas also discussed the WMO’s yearly report on the state of climate change in 2022, which was released on Friday.

Droughts, floods, and heatwaves harmed populations on every continent and cost many billions of dollars in 2022, according to the report, which concluded that climate change continued to march from the tops of mountains to the depths of the ocean.

He noted that the melting of some European glaciers was “off the charts” and that Antarctic sea ice reached its “lowest extent” in history.

In the last 10 years, which have been the warmest on record, we have hit 1.15 degrees warming, he added. “By the end of last year, we had again broken records in main greenhouse gas concentrations, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.”

In terms of ocean heat content, “we have seen a record where we have stored more than 90% of the heat,” the secretary-general stated. “The increase in sea level has doubled. In the past, it was 2.3 millimeters annually.

Recent years have seen a sea level rise of about five millimeters per year and a record-low amount of sea ice in the Antarctic region.

He added that a number of extreme weather events occurred last year, citing the devastating floods in Pakistan and the heatwaves that hit Europe, China, the US, and Mexico along with a severe drought as examples.

For instance, the main Yangtze River in China had the least amount of water. The all-time high temperature in the UK was 40 degrees (Celsius), while the all-time low temperature in Sweden was 37.2 degrees, he said.

Therefore, Taalas cautioned, “We haven’t yet observed an improvement in the actual atmosphere, and all of these climate indicators are moving in the wrong direction.”

The longest such run in 40 years occurred in East Africa, where rainfall was below average for five straight rainy seasons as 20 million people experienced severe food insecurity.

In Pakistan, massive flooding caused by record-breaking rain in July and August resulted in 1,700 fatalities, nearly 8 million displaced residents, and $30 billion in damage and lost revenue, it was stated.

Over 15,000 people have died as a result of the heat in Europe as a whole, including in Spain, Germany, the UK, France, and Portugal.

According to the report, the devastating effects of the drought on pastoral and agricultural livelihoods as well as hunger during the year led to the internal displacement of approximately 1.2 million people in Somalia.

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