WWF urges urgent Climate Action with warning ‘Planet’s thermostat is cranked up’

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has issued an urgent call for climate action, warning that “the planet’s thermostat is cranked up” as global temperatures continue to break records.

The latest data reveals that May 2024 marks the 12th consecutive month of record-high temperatures, underscoring the pressing need for immediate and decisive measures to reduce emissions and protect natural ecosystems.

This announcement coincides with the latest data from Copernicus Climate Change, which reveals that May 2024 is the 12th consecutive month of record-high temperatures. “The global average temperature for the past 12 months (June 2023 – May 2024) is the highest on record, at 0.75°C above the 1991-2020 average and 1.63°C above the 1850-1900 pre-industrial average,” according to Copernicus.

Earth’s thermostat is ‘cranked up’

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has issued a stark warning that global temperatures are likely to exceed 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels within the next five years, prompting the WWF to call for immediate action to reduce emissions and protect natural ecosystems

“The planet’s thermostat is cranked up, with records being broken more regularly than when Usain Bolt was competing,” stated Stephen Cornelius, WWF Deputy Climate and Energy Lead.

“Every fraction of a degree of global warming matters. The hotter it gets, the more harm climate change causes to people and nature. We need to slash greenhouse gas emissions or we’ll overshoot way past 1.5°C of global warming. To limit warming, we must phase out fossil fuels – coal, oil, and gas – and swiftly move to 100% clean renewable energy, as well as protect and restore natural ecosystems.”

Stephanie Roe, WWF Global Climate & Energy Lead Scientist, highlighted the continuous influx of alarming data. “We keep obtaining more and more alarming data. We’re continuously seeing record-breaking temperatures, droughts, floods, and economic damage from climate change. It’s wake-up call after wake-up call. We should be accelerating efforts to meet the Paris Agreement goals and avert the worst of the climate crisis now. Future generations depend on the actions we take today.”

The WMO predicts an 80% likelihood that at least one year between 2024 and 2028 will see temperatures exceeding the 1.5°C threshold. While this short-term annual warming does not constitute a permanent breach of the Paris Agreement goal, it serves as a grave warning. Sustaining global temperatures above 1.5°C for a 20-year period would signify a permanent breach. Without immediate and significant emission reductions across all sectors, the Earth is on track to overshoot this critical threshold in the early 2030s.

As Pakistan grapples with the effects of climate change, including extreme weather events such as recent heatwaves with temperatures crossing 52 Celsius in some parts of Pakistan, the urgency for robust climate action has never been more apparent. The WWF’s call to action serves as a reminder of the collective effort required to combat the escalating climate crisis and safeguard the country and the planet for future generations.

Heatwave hits Pakistan May 2024
Excessive heatwave hits Pakistan in May 2024. (Image Credit: NDMA/Royal Meteorological Society)

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