According to a UN report released on Wednesday, this summer’s floods in Pakistan served as a stark reminder that the world’s climate is changing and will likely result in more disasters in the future.
While some regions “suffered from a lack of water,” other regions “were hit by catastrophic floods,” according to the United Nations’ 2022 Year in Review report on Climate and Environment.
As a result of severe flooding and landslides brought on by monsoon rains, a national emergency was declared in Pakistan in August. At the height of the crisis, about one-third of the nation was underwater. According to the report, millions of people were displaced.
On January 9, the UN will host an international conference in Geneva on a climate-resilient Pakistan to discuss various ways to help the nation cope with the effects of the changing climate.
The report, which quotes from numerous UN-sponsored studies, highlights the continued warming of the Earth as a serious threat and laments how humanity has failed to reduce carbon emissions and address the climate emergency.
The report also highlights the need to reduce fossil fuel consumption and aid developing nations in coping with man-made climate changes that are causing droughts, floods, and other extreme weather events.
The UN report also makes reference to a recent World Meteorological Organization (WMO) study that indicates that heat waves will continue to increase in frequency through the 2060s.
The pattern is related to the planet’s warming, which is brought on by human activity, according to WMO, a UN weather agency. The report warns that the changing climate raises “serious concerns for the future of the planet.”
The UN report also includes a quote from the WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, which details record levels of the three primary gases — carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane — which experienced the largest year-over-year increase in concentrations in 40 years.
It says that one of the main causes of this change is human activity. The report notes that the world’s major economies reopened outdated power plants and looked for new oil and gas suppliers in response to the energy crisis brought on by the war in Ukraine, “despite all the evidence that a shift to a low-carbon economy is urgently needed.”
Their response has been criticized as “delusional” by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who also reminded the wealthy countries that they could have avoided the volatile fossil fuel markets’ prices if they had previously invested in renewable energy.
In a different statement, Mr. Guterres likened the behavior of the fossil fuel industry to that of the major tobacco companies in the middle of the 20th century, saying that “fossil fuel interests and their financial accomplices must not escape responsibility.” “The argument that climate action should be put on hold in order to address domestic issues also rings hollow.”
The UN General Assembly proclaimed in July that having access to a safe and healthy environment is a fundamental human right. Mr. Guterres hoped the historic statement would lessen environmental injustices, close protection gaps, and give people the tools they need to deal with climate disasters.
The UN report does, however, note with satisfaction that a funding mechanism was established in November at the UN Climate Conference in Egypt to reimburse vulnerable countries for the loss and damage brought on by climate-related disasters.
The inclusion was hailed as a significant advancement because vulnerable nations have fought for such a clause for decades, according to the report. But it also acknowledges that there hasn’t been much progress on other crucial issues, particularly when it comes to the phase-out of fossil fuels and the tightened language on the need to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.