United in Science 2021_00.1
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United in Science 2021

 

Relevance

  • GS 3: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

Context

  • Recently, World Meteorological Organization (WMO) under the direction of the United Nations Secretary-General compiled a report titled United in Science 2021 to bring together the latest climate science related updates from a group of key global partner organizations.

 

Key points

  • The United in Science 2020 report, the second in a series, presents the very latest scientific data and findings related to climate change to inform global policy and action.
  • It is coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), with input from the Global Carbon Project, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, the UN Environment Programme and the UK Met Office.

 

Key findings

World Meteorological Organization

  • Atmospheric CO2 concentrations showed no signs of peaking in 2020 and have continued to increase to new records.
  • Reductions in emissions due to COVID-19 will only slightly impact the rate of increase in the atmospheric concentrations so, sustained reductions in emissions to net zero are necessary to stabilize climate change.

 

Global Carbon Project

  • CO2 emissions in 2020 will fall by an estimated 4% to 7% in 2020 due to COVID-19 confinement policies.
  • During peak lockdown in early April 2020, the daily global fossil CO2 emissions dropped by an unprecedented 17% compared to 2019.

 

UN Emission Gap report

  • The report showed that the cuts in global emissions required per year from 2020 to 2030 are close to 3% for a 2 °C target and more than 7% per year on average for the 1.5 °C goal of the Paris Agreement.

 

State of Global Climate

  • The average global temperature for 2016–2020 is expected to be the warmest on record, about 1.1 °C above 1850-1900, and 0.24°C warmer than the global average temperature for 2011-2015.

 

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

  • The global ocean has warmed unabated since 1970 and has taken up more than 90% of the excess heat in the climate system.
  • Global mean sea-level is rising, with acceleration in recent decades due to increasing rates of ice loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, as well as continued glacier mass loss and ocean thermal expansion.

 

Climate and Water Resources

  • By 2050, the number of people at risk of floods will increase from its current level of 1.2 billion to 1.6 billion.
  • In the early to mid-2010s, 27% of the global population lived in potential severely water-scarce areas.
  • In 2050, this number will increase to 2.7 to 3.2 billion people.

 

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