2021 – the make or break year for climate action
“This is a frightening report,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, “it needs to be read by all leaders and decision-makers in the world.”
“This report shows that 2020 was also another unprecedented year of extreme weather and climate disasters. The cause is clear. Anthropogenic climate change – climate disruption caused by human activities, human decisions and human folly,” he said.
The report is accompanied by a story map showing details of key climate indicators, including record greenhouse gas concentrations, increasing land and ocean temperatures, sea level rise, melting ice and glacier retreat and extreme weather.
It also highlights impacts on socio-economic development, migration and displacement, food security and land and marine ecosystems.
2020 was one of the three warmest years on record, despite a cooling La Niña event. The global average temperature was about 1.2° Celsius above the pre-industrial (1850–1900) level. The six years since 2015 have been the warmest on record. 2011–2020 was the warmest decade on record.
“Our challenge is clear,” said the UN Secretary-General. “To avert the worst impacts of climate change, science tells us that we must limit global temperature rise to within 1.5 degrees of the pre-industrial baseline. That means reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030 and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050,” he said.
“I count first on developed countries to deliver on climate finance and, as I mentioned, the promised 100 billion dollars a year at the G7 Summit in June. Then, I will urge the G20 countries to take on the greening of the broader financial architecture, to address debt and make climate-related financial disclosure mandatory,” said Mr Guterres.
“This is truly a pivotal year for humanity’s future. This report shows we have no time to waste,” he said.
Compiled by Reinhold Pape