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United Nations: World headed in 'wrong direction' on climate change

The word is headed in the wrong direction when it comes to climate change, according to a report released Tuesday by the World Meteorological Association. Photo by World Meteorological Organization
The word is headed in the wrong direction when it comes to climate change, according to a report released Tuesday by the World Meteorological Association. Photo by World Meteorological Organization

Sept. 13 (UPI) -- The world is headed in the wrong direction when it comes to climate change, according to a report released Tuesday by the World Meteorological Association.

The U.N. agency's annual report, titled "United in Science," found that greenhouse gas concentrations are continuing to rise to record high levels. It blamed fossil fuel emission rates returning to pre-pandemic levels, after they fell temporarily during lockdowns, as human demand and consumption of them persist.

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The past seven years were the warmest on record, while emission reduction pledges for 2030 need to be seven times higher to be in line with the 34.7-degree goal of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, according to the report.

There is a 48% chance that one year in the next five years will see the mean temperature temporarily rise 34.7 degrees higher than the average between 1850 and 1900. Levels of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere continue to rise. The temporary reduction in emissions in 2020 during the pandemic had little impact on the overall growth of atmospheric concentrations, the report found.

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"As global warming increases, 'tipping points' in the climate system can not be ruled out," the report states.

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"This year's United in Science report shows climate impacts heading into uncharted territory of destruction. Yet each year we double-down on this fossil fuel addiction, even as the symptoms get rapidly worse," U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement.

The report also highlights the future monetary and human costs.

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"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," WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement.

"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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