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United Nations’ World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) warns of warming ahead of COP26

WMO’s latest Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Bulletin recorded a new emission high

The WMO lit a fire under many shipping executives days ahead of the upcoming UN conference. In its latest bulletin, the WMO warned that the world is off-course in slowing down greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Stressing the urgency for decarbonisation
Days to the Conference of the Parties summit (COP26), the UN’s WMO issued something more pressing for the maritime industry to act upon. Its GHG Bulletin showed the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) reached 413.2 parts per million in 2020 – nearly 150 per cent of the pre-industrial level. The last time Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5 million years ago, when the temperature was 2-3°C warmer and sea level was 30-60ft (9-18m) higher than today. Clearly, this year’s infamous global port congestions did minimal to reduce emissions from halted shipping.

The bulletin added that the concentration of methane (CH₄), a far more powerful greenhouse gas reached 262 per cent of the levels seen in 1750, when human industry started disrupting Earth’s natural equilibrium. Professor Petteri Taalas, WMO’s Secretary General said, “The GHG Bulletin contains a stark, scientific message for climate change negotiators at COP26. At the current rate of increase in GHG concentrations, we will see a temperature increase by the end of this century far in excess of the Paris Agreement targets of 1.5-2°C above pre-industrial levels.”

World leaders and shipping executives are due to attend the COP26 summit, taking place from 31 Oct 2021 – 12 Nov 2021 in Glasgow, UK. Rising temperatures have accelerated many countries’ decarbonisation efforts through detailed schedules. WMO highlighted that global temperatures will continue to rise as long as emissions persist. That will also result in another cocktail of extreme weathers such as intense heat and rainfalls, rising sea-levels, ocean acidification, and socioeconomic aftermaths. Despite that, there is a difference between talk and action. While recommendations can be presented, implementing involves time and resources, which is the biggest challenge.


Marine Online Media Team
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