Concentrations of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere are at record levels, and emissions that saw a temporary decline due to the pandemic are heading towards pre-COVID levels, while global temperatures continue to hit new highs, according to a major new United Nations (UN) report.
The UN co-ordinated report, United in Science 2020, released on 9 September 2020, “highlights the increasing and irreversible impacts of climate change on glaciers, oceans, nature, economies and its cost on people across the globe; manifest more and more often through disasters such as record heatwaves, wildfires, droughts and floods.”
The report brings together the latest climate science related updates from a group of key global partner organizations. It presents the very latest scientific data and findings related to climate change to inform global policy and action. The report is the second in a series coordinated by the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO), with input from the Global Carbon Project, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UK Met Office.
Speaking at the launch of the report, UN Secretary-General António Guterres “emphasized that there is “no time to delay” if the world is to slow the trend of the devastating impacts of climate change, and limit temperate rise to 1.5 degree-Celsius.” ( See the UN media statement.)
On the state of the global climate, the report indicates that the average global temperature for 2016-2020 is expected to be the warmest on record, about 1.1 degree Celsius above 1850-1900 (a reference period for temperature change since pre-industrial times) and 0.24 degree Celsius warmer than the global average temperature for 2011-2015.
Download the full report here (pdf, 3.9 MB)