Last year’s climate-fueled disasters really were that bad, the UN World Meteorological Organization confirmed this morning. The concurrent droughts, flooding, heat, and wildfires and the knock-on effects they cause, all represent the present, and disproportionately inequitable, costs of failure to sufficiently slash fossil fuel use and address the climate crisis. “Communities and countries which have contributed least to climate change suffer disproportionately,” Omar Baddour, head of the Climate Monitoring and Policy Division at the WMO, told CNN.
Atmospheric levels of heat-trapping CO2 and methane reached record highs, along with global sea levels and ocean temperatures and acidity — all while Antarctic sea ice and European glaciers hit record lows. Average global temperatures over the last eight years are the highest on record. “In 2022, continuous drought in East Africa, record-breaking rainfall in Pakistan and record-breaking heat waves in China and Europe affected tens of millions, drove food insecurity, boosted mass migration, and cost billions of dollars in loss and damage,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement. (AP, Reuters, CNN, CBC)