On Wednesday, the World Meteorological Organization said that the world’s oceans reached their warmest and most acidic last year — the highest record in 26,000 years.
Meanwhile, the United Nations also expressed concern saying that the Russia-Ukraine tension disrupted commitments by countries to environmental preservation.
The report of WMO saw alarming signs of danger to the oceans brought by the climate crisis. In 2021, the melting of the ice sheets had reached record high, causing global sea levels to increase. As stated, the rise of ocean levels may lead to a number of irreversible damages like species extinction, and frequent flooding, among others.
Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of WMO, said, “Our climate is changing before our eyes. The heat trapped by human-induced greenhouse gases will warm the planet for many generations to come.”
The United Nations echoes the call for countries to take more responsibility for the environment. In the recent U.N. climate assessment, the organization emphasized the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Otherwise, future damage would be ‘catastrophic.’
Due to the overwhelming headlines concerning the COVID-19 crisis and the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, talks about climate challenges are only given minimal airtime. This is specifically problematic, according to Taalas.
Special adviser for U.N.’s Secretary-General called out countries for allegedly backing out on climate commitments amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict. “We are … seeing many choices being made by many major economies which, quite frankly, have the potential to lock in a high-carbon, high-polluting future and will place our climate goals at risk,” Hart said.
MSCI told the public that should countries replace gas with coal, the effects on the environment will be grave.
It was earlier reported by the WMO that the levels of carbon dioxide and methane in 2021 is among the highest since then. And with countries expressing the intention to turn to coal, the levels are expected to reach critical levels. Last year, average global temperatures were 1.15 degrees above normal. However, this year, it is expected to reach the 1.5-degree threshold.
“It is just a matter of time before we see another warmest year on record,” Taalas warned.
As temperatures increase, oceans are affected
The reported steady increase in global temperatures poses a grave threat to the world’s oceans and biodiversity. It has reached its most acidic level in 26,000 years. According to scientists, oceans absorb 90% of the accumulated heat of the world and about 23% of the carbon dioxide emitted by human industries.
Warmer weather meant melting ice sheets — chasing away polar wildlife and eventually threatening its population. Sea levels have also risen by about 4.5 centimeters or 1.8 inches in the last decade. The figure is expected to increase geometrically.
If this goes on, WMO warns that life-threatening climate-related disasters are bound to happen. Extreme wildfires, heatwaves, frequent floods, more extreme cyclones, and other natural disasters will threaten lives and countries. WMO estimates $100 billion in possible damages and probably higher.
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