The new Working Group II report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has provided policymakers with a clear view of the state and threat of global climate change. The latest climate science continues to reiterate that every fraction of a degree of warming spells more dangerous and costly consequences.
The COP26 Presidency (United Kingdom) and the designate COP27 Presidency (Egypt) convened a briefing at WMO headquarters on 7 March on the findings of the report to strengthen the global response for protecting communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis.
“The point of no return is now in sight… this latest report offers solutions… the way forward is to help the people in this world live sustainably and with dignity,” IPCC Working Group II co-chair Debra Roberts told the briefing.
Speakers outlined how to take forward the progress made in Glasgow to COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, priorities for the global climate agenda in light of the new IPCC report, and practical steps the humanitarian, development, and other international communities can take to ensure we heed the warnings.
As COP26 President Alok Sharma stated in January, “Just as the science has become starker, the risks have become clearer, and the calls to action have grown louder, the opportunities presented by tackling climate change are increasingly evident.”
"We need to make sure that science comes first," said Archie Young, the UK lead climate negotiator.
Wael Aboulmagd, Special Representative of the COP27 President-Designate, said that only 8 percent of climate finance has gone to adaptation. For COP 27 the world is expecting stronger commitments. Finance shouldn’t come only from developing countries, but creativity is needed to have everyone involved, he said.
WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas said carbon dioxide levels are at record high, committing the planet to future warming, more extreme weather, and long-term impacts.
The melting of glaciers and sea level rise will continue for centuries, he cautioned.
“We must pay attention to adaptation and mitigation. Early warning systems are a very powerful way to adapt to climate change. We must continue investing in basic observing systems and fill in data gaps,” he said, adding that WMO is spearheading the creation of the Systematic Observations Financing Facility to ensure more sustainable investments.
Mami Mizutori, head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, urged governments to fulfill commitments for US$ 100 billion in climate change mitigation and adaptation financing.
“Every dollar that is withheld is someone’s life on the line,” she said.
Selwin Hart, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Climate Action, said the world was simply running out of time on climate change.
“We now know with certainly what needs to be done and over what time frame and what are the critical thresholds we dare not cross. Coal and other fossil fuels are choking humanity,” he said.
“The commitment made in Glasgow climate pact is a step in the right direction but it is clearly not enough,” said Mr Hart.