LOCKDOWNS AND economic slowdown did not reduce warming trends or significantly affect climate change last year, State of Global Climate 2020 provincial report has said.
Compiled by World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the report was released on Monday ahead of Leaders Summit on Climate, hosted by US President Joe Biden, on April 22 and 23. India will be among 40 participating countries to deliberate on reducing carbon emissions, economic benefits of climate action and employability, mobilising finances to drive net-zero transition, measures to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and opportunities to strengthen capacity to protect livelihoods from the impact of climate change.
“The pandemic-related economic slowdown failed to put a brake on climate change,” the WMO statement read.
The report stated that along with the pandemic, people across the world struggled to survive as they faced extreme weather in the form of storms, cyclones, heavy rainfall and record heat.
On limitations and challenges posed by Covid-19, the report said, “Mobility restrictions and economic downturns owing to Covid-19 slowed down delivery of humanitarian assistance to vulnerable and displaced populations, who live in dense settlements. Response and recovery to people hit by cyclones, storms and similar extreme weather was constrained throughout the pandemic last year.”
Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General, who jointly released the report, said, “This report shows that we have no time to waste. The climate is changing, and the impacts are already too costly for people and the planet. This is the year for action.”
The climate report further stated that the pandemic added further dimension to human mobility concerns, highlighting the need for an integrated approach to understanding and addressing climate risk and impact on vulnerable populations.
The report also stated that there was a temporary reduction in levels of carbon dioxide and other emissions in 2020, but overall data indicated a continued rise in CO2, methane, nitrous oxide. Likewise, due to La Nina — the abnormal cooling observed along equatorial Pacific Ocean — the global mean sea level rise showed a marginal decrease last year, but these were inter-annual variabilities, the report stated.
India experienced one of its wettest monsoons since 1994, with a seasonal surplus of 9 per cent that led to severe floods and landslides, the report noted.
Cyclone Amphan, which hit Kolkata in May last year, has been named as the costliest tropical cyclone for the North Indian Ocean region that brought about an estimated loss of $14 billion. This event killed 129 across India and Bangladesh.
The year 2020 was among the three warmest years ever recorded, with an average mean temperature (till October) touching 1.2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial era. The warming was despite prevalence of cool La Nina conditions over the equatorial Pacific Ocean.