Effects of climate change on the rise-report

Climate changeKenya Red Cross volunteer Elelo Galmagal at Ebeso sublocation examines the carcass of a camel that died due to severe drought in Marsabit County. The government in collaboration with the red cross kicked off livestock offtake program to cushion pastoralists from losses incurred by drought. August 1, 2022. Jack Owuor

The impacts of climate change are set to worsen if countries fail to act, a new report has warned.

The report, United in Science 2022 was released on Tuesday. It is a multi-organization high-level compilation of the most recent science related to climate change, impacts and responses.

“Without much more ambitious action, the physical and socioeconomic impacts of climate change will be increasingly devastating,” the report says.

The report brings together the latest climate science-related updates from key global partner organizations such as World Meteorological Organization, Global Carbon Project, UNEP, Met Office (UK), Urban Climate Change Research Network), UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and World Climate Research Programme.

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World Meteorological Organization, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, the International Science Council, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change jointly sponsored it.

The new report comes in the wake of an ongoing drought that is affecting several counties in the country.

The National Drought Management Authority says the drought situation has deteriorated in 20 of the 23 ASAL counties.

These are Isiolo, Mandera, Samburu, Turkana, Wajir, Laikipia, Marsabit, Embu, Garissa, Kajiado, Kitui, Makueni, Meru, Narok, Nyeri, Tharaka Nithi, Taita Taveta, Tana River, Kwale and Kilifi counties.

The authority attributed the situation to the poor performance of the 2021 long rains, coupled with the previous three failed consecutive seasons.

The August National Drought Early Warning Bulletin says the number of people in need of assistance is projected to increase to 4.35 million by October.

The new report shows that greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise to record highs.

“Fossil fuel emission rates are now above pre-pandemic levels after a temporary drop due to lockdowns. The ambition of emissions reduction pledges for 2030 needs to be seven times higher to be in line with the 1.5 °C goals of the Paris Agreement,” it says.

The report says the past seven years were the warmest on record.

“There is a 48% chance that, during at least one year in the next 5 years, the annual mean temperature will temporarily be 1.5°C higher than the 1850-1900 average. As global warming increases, tipping points in the climate system cannot be ruled out.”

The report says cities that host billions of people and are responsible for up to 70% of human-caused emissions will face increasing socio-economic impacts.

The most vulnerable populations will suffer most, says the report which gives examples of extreme weather in different parts of the world this year.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres says floods, droughts, heat waves, extreme storms and wildfires are going from bad to worse, breaking records with alarming frequency.

“Heat waves in Europe. Colossal floods in Pakistan. {There are} prolonged and severe droughts in China, the Horn of Africa and the United States. There is nothing natural about the new scale of these disasters. They are the price of humanity’s fossil fuel addiction,” he says.

 Guterres says the report shows that climate impacts are heading into the uncharted territory of destruction.

WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas says climate science is increasingly able to show that many of the extreme weather events that we are experiencing have become more likely and more intense due to human-induced climate change.

“We have seen this repeatedly this year, with tragic effect. It is more important than ever that we scale up action on early warning systems to build resilience to current and future climate risks in vulnerable communities. That is why WMO is spearheading a drive to ensure Early Warnings for all in the next five years.”

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