WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas recorded message to IPCC Working Group III Press Conference on 4 April 2022
Dear participants of Working Group III
At the moment we are facing very challenging times. We have this conflict, this brutal war in Ukraine which also has an impact on the media environment and that has meant that attention for this long-term major challenge for the welfare of human kind and biosphere has been a bit lower than it used to be before.
This war that is ongoing in Ukraine has an impact on food security, prices of food and prices of energy. This is going to hit less developed countries, as is the case of climate change as well. We have already seen rises in prices of energy, both electricity and fossil fuels and that is very high on the global agenda. In the best case this would speed up reduction in the use of fossil energy and speed up green transition. In the worst case, interest to mitigate climate change will be challenged because of this development. Let’s concentrate on the results of this excellent report which form a very good basis for boosting the ambition level of climate mitigation.
Although I would like to praise the results of COP26 where the G7 and EU made pledges to keep us on 1.5°C track, it is worth keeping in mind that the rest of the G20 countries and the BRICS countries were not in a position to offer such pledges that would keep us on such a track. This report today shows us that the most effective means and the most affordable means of different types of economies to enhance the basis for mitigation.
I hope this will be used by governments in different parts of the world to proceed with mitigation.
The WGII report was showing that every corner of Earth is already affected by climate change. The report today shows that every region in the world has an impact on climate change problem today.
Classically we have been thinking that only the developed countries have used most of the fossil resources so far and are responsible for that. If we take the land use into account, especially deforestation in Latin America, Africa and Southern Asia, it’s shown that they also have a major impact on the climate problem, which is demonstrating that we need global efforts to be successful in climate mitigation. Besides that there is a need to pay attention to climate change adaptation. We know that the negative trend will continue in the coming decades anyhow and the melting of glaciers and sea level rise for the coming centuries.
We just celebrated World Meteorological Day on 23 March and there the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was tasking WMO to lead the preparation of major early warning package to be approved by COP27 in Sharm-El-Sheikh in Egypt. Only half of 193 Members of WMO have proper early warning services. This means that ever-growing impacts are causing dramatically growing economic and human losses. We also have gaps in weather, climate and hydrological observing systems which means that early warning systems in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries are in very poor shape. There is an urgent need to invest in basic weather, climate and water observing systems to enhance the early warning service abilities of especially LDC and SIDS.
The United Nations aims to reach 100 percent coverage of early warning services by 2028 though improved investments and capacity building of meteorological, climate and hydrological infrastructures and education of related national expertise.
To conclude we have two urgent challenges ahead of us. Adaptation and mitigation. Financing and visionary political initiatives and concrete actions are needed for the sake of the welfare of current and future generations and our biosphere.