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Check climate change impact today for a secure tomorrow

The theme for the World Meteorological Day 2024 is ‘At the frontline of climate action’

Check climate change impact today for a secure tomorrow

WMO has been providing weather and climate predictions which helps in planning food production. It also helps in mitigating and taking preventive measures to reduce the impact of any climate related disasters

World Meteorological Day, which was dedicated in 1951, commemorates the establishment of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on March 23, 1950.

The Geneva-headquartered organization is a premier institute when it comes to national meteorological and hydrological services that are aimed at ensuring the safety and well-being of the society. In keeping with the current climate change and its impact on the well-being of civilisation, the theme for this year’s World Meteorological Day has been ‘At the frontline of climate action’.

In the world that we live in, this slogan fits the bill as the entire universe is concerned about the fallout of climate change, an undeniable threat whose ill-effects are already visible. Any further delay in taking suitable remedial measures can destroy human, animal and plant life.

Given the intensity and threat perceptions, one feels that the 185-member World Meteorological Congress should meet more often than once in four years and come up with a general policy and adopt regulations finalised thereof.

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 exhorts us on the need for taking “urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.” A more significant factor is that this goal determined the progress of all other SDGs.

This goal is further divided into five targets to create action to combat climate change.

Target 13.1: Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate related disasters; 13.2: Integrate climate change measures and policies and planning; 13.3: Build knowledge and capacity to meet climate change; 13.4: Implement the UN Framework Convention on climate change and 13.5: Promote mechanisms to raise capacity for effective climate related planning and management.

WMO has been providing weather and climate predictions which helps in planning food production. It also helps in mitigating and taking preventive measures to reduce the impact of any climate related disasters. The early warning systems pre-warn of impending climate disasters like storms, heavy rainfall, flooding, cloud bursting, earthquake and warming and how we should be prepared to face the same and limit its impact.

The work of WMO involves a wide variety of activities and services, spanning from research to delivery of weather, climate and water related services. It advances knowledge of the earth’s system, monitors the state of climate and water resources, provides scientific information to inform greenhouse gas emissions reductions and delivers climate services and early warnings to climate adaptation. These are essential to monitor the progress under SDG 13 as well as other development goals.

According to WMO "We will remain in the frontline of climate action as we embrace a journey of cooperation and innovation, leveraging collective expertise to overcome challenges and achieve our shared vision of a safer, more resilient world for future generations."

The organisation has further divided the action plan four areas-state of climate, climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation and the future.

According to Celeste Saulo, Secretary General, WMO, "The lives of future generations are in our hands. Our efforts today will ensure a safer, healthier world for future generations - a world where children thrive in harmony with nature, as we leverage our collective expertise for shaping a resilient tomorrow."

The year 2023 has been the hottest year on record with global mean temperature at about 1 45°C above the 1850-1900 average, which is mainly due to human induced climate change and EL Nino. This rising temperatures is followed by heat waves, floods, droughts, wildfires and rapidly intensifying tropical cyclones. The excessive greenhouse gases are heating the ecosystem, including ocean, while glaciers and ice sheets, which are retreating will affect future water security and essential ecosystems. WMO helps in providing climate information, tools and guidance to support country-level decision making and solutions apart from facilitating climate finance.

Climate change mitigation should be the top priority. There is no other way but by reducing greenhouse gases which necessities moving from fossil fuels to cleaner energy solutions. To keep the global temperature rise to no more than 1.5°C above the pre-industrial era, there must be steep reductions in greenhouse gases, leading to global net zero emissions by the early 2050s. If there is no urgent action, current mitigation policies will lead to estimated global warming of around 2.8°C by the end of the century.

In its bid to measure and effectively manage and support mitigation actions, WMO has introduced Global Greenhouse Gas Watch, which provides a more solid scientific basis to inform mitigation actions taken under the Paris Agreement on Climate change. This will provide a wealth of quantitative data to help improve our understanding of greenhouse gas cycles. This will boost predictions of long-term climate trajectories.

Sustainable Development Goal 7 seeks to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all rapid decarbonisation to achieve net zero by 2050. Last year, the world has added almost 510 gigawatts (GW) of renewable capacity and today, some 30% of power generation globally is renewable. Water resources are a pre requisite for zero emissions which are increasingly under pressure.

The WMO provides comprehensive data and analysis to ensure the resilience of energy systems to climate related shocks. The WMO community is strengthening activities and partnerships to provide targetted services and information to support the transition to renewables.

The world body has prioritised climate services for disaster risk reduction, agriculture and food security, energy, health and water resources management thereby helping in achieving SDG 2 of about creating a world free of hunger by 2030, SDG 3 calls for promoting the wellbeing of all people, while SDG 6 focuses on ensuring availability, quality and sustainable management of water and sanitation.

There is a need for urgent action from all stakeholders and to achieve these SDGs and to prepare the world and be better prepared to manage the challenges we face now and in the future for the sake of all humanity and for future generations. At the cost of repetition, global action today is crucial because it will shape the future planet and there is no Planet B. Moreover, early-warning systems help reduce poverty by giving people a chance to prepare and limit the impact of extreme weather.

(The author is former Chairman & Managing Director of Indian Overseas Bank)

Dr M Narendra
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