As the global community prepares for November’s meeting of the United Nations Climate Change Convention, there has been a rising crescendo on how to manage this existential crisis for humankind.
“We are on the verge of the abyss,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned starkly at last week’s launch of an authoritative State of the Global Climate report by the World Meteorological Organisation, describing 2020 as one of the hottest years on record.
Last year, our planet’s average temperature was about 1.2° Celsius above pre-industrial times, despite cooling La Niña conditions — one of the three hottest years ever, the others being 2016 and 2019.
Concentrations of major greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide increased overall last year despite a temporary reduction due to the Covid-19 effect on economic activity. Record low Arctic sea-ice was documented in two months of 2020 while about 80 per cent of the ocean experienced at least one marine heatwave.