Responding to the Challenges of Climate Change

Geneva, mid-autumn 2015 – The motto of the city of Paris – Fluctuat nec mergitur (Tossed about by swelling waves, she does not sink) is perfectly suited for upcoming events in that city. The challenge of climate change is tossing humanity about. We need to mitigate climate change impacts and adapt in order not to sink. Most of all, we need a new binding agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions at the upcoming 21st session of the Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Paris from 30 November to 11 December.

Initiatives to limit emissions and to move toward renewable energy sources are already being put in place by individuals, schools, communities, businesses and municipal, provincial and federal governments. Public and private enterprises are also integrating climate-related policies into their business plans. No one can afford to keep ignoring the signs: our climate is changing and we must make decisions to mitigate the risks and maximize the benefits that change will bring. This decision-making demands reliable climate prediction information.

The Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai, Japan, emphasized the reduction of weather and climate-related disaster risks as one of the key areas in which it is urgent to act in order to save lives and property. Many countries, for example China, are turning to impact-based multi-hazard early warning systems as a means of mitigating these impacts.

There are also win-win solutions for energy efficiency, which are both cost-effective and climate-friendly. While underlining that there is overwhelming evidence that climate change endangers human health, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan emphasized that solutions do exist. Similarly, United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is implementing climate-smart agricultural approaches for food security.

In the context of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), WMO is partnering with UNISDR, WHO, FAO and many more to tailor climate information for decision-making in all of the above areas. As demand for climate information increases, it is also assisting WMO Members in forming partnerships to generate accessible and useful information for their stakeholders. The articles in this Bulletin tell the story. Given climate information on which we can base good decision-making for our future, we will be able to face the challenges of climate change head on.

Expectations are high for Paris. People and countries are calling for action on climate change. The COP process cannot be allowed to fail. In Paris and around the world, mankind must rise to the swelling challenges of climate change in order not to be swallowed.


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