Energy systems are the engine of economic and social development. Energy is essential to practically all aspects of human welfare, including access to water, agricultural productivity, health care, education, job creation and environmental sustainability. Energy investments represent a sizeable portion of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and energy emission account for the largest share of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
All life depends on a healthy planet, but the interwoven systems of atmosphere, oceans, watercourses, land, ice cover and biosphere, which form the natural environment, are threatened by human activities. Moreover, while a fragile environment becomes more vulnerable to natural disasters, the natural disasters also degrade the environment in a pernicious circle of causes and effects.
Natural hazards are severe and extreme weather and climate events that occur in all parts of the world, although some regions are more vulnerable to certain hazards than others. Natural hazards become disasters when people’s lives and livelihoods are destroyed.
WMO promotes the protection of the marine environment and the efficient management of marine resources, based on the timely collection and distribution of marine meteorological and oceanographic data.
It is now clear that these changes are indicators of the effects of human activities elsewhere on Earth and will have profound effects on human society around the world if they continue. The sensitivity of the polar regions is increasingly understood as an issue of global significance.
Human health and the wellbeing of individuals and communities are closely linked with weather and climate conditions. Through its Members, WMO provides weather and climate services to the public health community. Furthermore, in 2014, WMO partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) to establish a unique Joint Office for Climate and Health, located at the WMO.
Some 3.5 billion people reside in urban areas. This number is projected to reach 6.3 billion by 2050, increasing from 50% to more than 70% of the world’s population. Cities are centres of creativity and economic progress but they also face many environmental challenges due mainly to air pollution and weather, climate and water-related hazard.