New climate change report & review of Paris targets


    In News

    • The State of the Global Climate 2022 report has been released by the World Meteorological Organization.

    More about the report

    • About:
      • It focuses on key climate indicators: 
        • greenhouse gases, temperatures, sea level rise, ocean heat and acidification, sea ice and glaciers. It also highlights the impacts of climate change and extreme weather.
      • Greenhouse gases & rising temperature:
        • It shows the planetary scale changes on land, in the ocean and in the atmosphere caused by record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. 
        • It has warned that at least one of the next four years could be 1.5 degrees hotter than the pre-industrial average. 
    • Report Highlights;
      • Increase in Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) emissions: 
        • Global GHGs emissions continued to increase in 2022. Carbon dioxide is at 149% of pre-industrial levels, Methane is at 262% of pre-industrial levels, Nitrous oxide is at 124% of pre-industrial levels.
        • The annual increase of methane was 18 ppb from 2020 to 2021. This is the largest increase on record.
      • High Global Mean Temperature: 
        • In 2022, the planet was 1.15 ± 0.13 °C warmer than the pre-industrial (1850-1900) average, making the last 8 years the warmest on record.
        • Despite cooling  La Niña conditions , 2022 was the 5th or 6th warmest year. 
      • Above Normal Precipitation: 
        • In 2022, large areas with above normal precipitation included large parts of Asia and the south-west Pacific, areas of northern South America and the Caribbean, the eastern Sahel region, parts of southern Africa, Sudan, and eastern Europe.
        • Meanwhile, regions with rainfall deficits included western and central Europe, northwest Africa, parts of the Middle East, Central Asia and the Himalayas, Eastern Africa and Madagascar, central and southern South America, and central and western North America.
      • Ocean Heat Content: 
        • As GHGs accumulate in the atmosphere, temperatures warm on land and in the ocean.  It is expected that the ocean will continue to warm well into the future – a change which is irreversible on centennial to millennial time scales.
        • In 2022, 58 percent of the ocean surface suffered at least one marine heatwave event and 25 per cent of the surface experienced at least one marine cold spell.
      • Rise in Sea Level: 
        • In 2022, global mean sea level continued to rise. The sea has risen approximately 3.4 ± 0.3 mm per year over the past 30 years .
      • Extreme Events: 
        • Rising global temperatures have contributed to more frequent and severe extreme weather events around the world, including cold and heat waves, floods, droughts, wildfires and storms.

    Analysing the report

    • IMO’s record for India:
      • The agency did not specify country-wise trends. 
      • However, the India Meteorological Organisation recorded 2022 as the fifth warmest year on record since 2021, and the last decade as the hottest 10 years in the country’s history. 
    • Worldwide impacts:
      • The Indian monsoon arrived earlier last year and withdrew before its normal date. 
        • Northeast India experienced floods in June and a dry spell in July and August. 
      • Floods in Pakistan claimed more than 1,500 lives and affected more than 30 million people. 
      • Heatwaves led to record temperatures in several parts of Europe last year, leading to droughts and reduced river flows. 
      • North America had its warmest August and forest fires raged in several parts of the US and Australia. 
    • What can be done?
      • Need of greater investments:
        • These weather vagaries have underlined the need for greater investments in building people’s resilience —interventions to risk-proof agriculture, build food security, develop flood and cyclone warning systems and strengthen the defences of coasts and other vulnerable areas. 
          • According to a UN report released at the end of last year, most countries have adaptation plans in place, and “instruments are getting better at prioritising disadvantaged groups”. 
          • However, the report also notes that international “adaptation finance flows to developing countries are 5-10 times below estimated needs and the gap is widening”.
      • Need of reviewing Paris targets:
        • At Paris in 2015, most nations agreed that checking global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels holds the key to keeping climate change at tolerable levels. 
          • It was clear then that achieving this goal required making drastic cuts in emissions. 
        • However, many experts now argue that the cumulative ambition expressed through the Paris Pact’s voluntary targetsthe Nationally Determined Contributions —was insufficient to keep the temperature rise below the tolerance threshold.

    Way ahead

    • The 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC, more commonly referred to as COP28, will be the 28th United Nations Climate Change conference, held from November 30th until December 12th, 2023 at the Expo City, Dubai.
      • The climate diplomats will take stock of the progress on meeting the Paris Pact’s targets at the COP-28 in Dubai. 
      • The latest WMO report should lead to rethinking targets and course corrections, especially to protect the most vulnerable.

    About Paris Agreement:

    • About:
      • It is a legally binding international treaty on climate change.
      • It replaced the Kyoto Protocol, an earlier agreement to deal with climate change.
      • It is a landmark agreement as it brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, for the first time.
      • It was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris, in December 2015 and entered into force in November 2016.
    • Conference of Parties(COP): 
      • It is the supreme decision-making body of the UNFCCC.
    • Aim:
      • The agreement seeks to limit global warming to well below 2°C, preferably to 1.5°C, compared to pre-industry levels
    • Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs): 
      • To achieve the targets under the agreement, the member countries have to submit the targets themselves, which they believe would lead to substantial progress towards reaching the Paris temperature goal. 
        • Initially, these targets are called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)
        • They are converted to NDCs when the country ratifies the agreement.


    Daily Mains Question

    [Q] There is a need for greater investments in building people’s resilience towards climate change and strengthening the defences of coasts and other vulnerable areas. Analyse.