As the world continues its war against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it looks like other pressing global issues are taking a backseat. As per ABS-CBN News Online, the United Nations (UN) said that the world remains behind in its battle to cut carbon emissions.
The economic turndown propelled by the virus caused only a temporary downturn in CO2 emissions last year. However, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said that it was sadly not enough to reverse rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
“There was some thinking that the COVID lockdowns would have had a positive impact on the atmosphere, which is not the case,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said. The world in 2021 was missing the mark of building back sustainably from the COVID-19 crisis and “not going in the right direction,” he explained.
The WMO stated in its United in Science 2021 Report that carbon emission reduction targets are not being met. Plus, there is a huge chance that the world will miss its Paris Agreement aim of reducing global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
“This is a critical year for climate action,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said and the results were an “alarming appraisal of just how far off course we are.” “This year has seen fossil fuel emissions bounce back, greenhouse gas concentrations continuing to rise and severe human-enhanced weather events that have affected health, lives and livelihoods on every continent,” he said.
The UN also disclosed that concentrations in the atmosphere of the major greenhouse gases – CO2, methane and nitrous oxide – continued to increase in 2020 and the first half of 2021. To put things into perspective, the average global temperature for the past five years was among the highest on record, estimated at 1.06C to 1.26C above pre-industrial levels.
While the world is busy trying to manage the rising number of COVID-19 cases, it is important that other pressing concerns such as climate change don’t get forgotten. The consequences will likely be more catastrophic than the rampage of the pandemic.