UAE Press: Rapid action needed to tackle climate crisis


ABU DHABI, 17th January, 2020 (WAM) -- With the World Meteorological Organisation, WMO, confirming that last year was the second warmest on record, it is clear that countries across the globe need to do much more to tackle the grave danger posed by climate crisis to all lives on the planet, said the Gulf Today.

In its editorial on Friday, the UAE paper said that the British naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough, who is renowned for his ground-breaking wildlife programmes for the BBC and whose popular TV series 'Blue Planet II', "hit the nail on the head by stating that 'The moment of crisis has come, we can no longer prevaricate.'"

It went on to credit Attenborough for raising global awareness about the damage caused by discarded plastics to oceans and marine life, who also said "We can’t go on saying ‘but there’s hope’ and leave it to next year. We have to change."

"There is a perceptible change in public opinion about climate crisis, particularly among young people, and politicians need to listen," the English language daily noted, adding that "The average global temperature has risen by about 1.1 C since the pre-industrial era and ocean heat content is at a record level, as per WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas."

Noting the recent findings by the WMO, the local daily said, "On the current path of carbon dioxide emissions, the world is heading towards a temperature increase of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius by the end of century. Only 2016 was hotter, due to a very strong El Niño which causes warming, combined with long-term climate change. Adding to the concern, average temperatures for the past five years and 10 years, respectively, were the highest on record.

"Since the 1980s, each decade has been warmer than the previous one: a trend the UN agency expects will continue due to the record level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The year 2019 and the past decade also were characterised by retreating ice, record sea levels, increasing ocean heat and acidification, and extreme weather, all of which have major impacts on human health and the natural environment."

"The United Nations World Food Programme," the paper continued, "has stated that a record 45 million people in the 16-nation Southern African Development Community face growing hunger following repeated drought and widespread flooding. Southern Africa is in the grips of a severe drought, as climate change wreaks havoc in impoverished countries already struggling to cope with extreme natural disasters, such as Cyclone Idai which devastated Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi in 2019."

"Mercifully," it added, "there are some positive developments in Europe. Germany will pay utility companies billions of euros to speed up the shutdown of their coal-fired power plants as part of the country’s efforts to fight climate change. An agreement reached after late-night deliberations between federal ministers and representatives of four coal-mining states removes a key hurdle in Germany’s plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades.

"Poland and Germany will be the biggest beneficiaries of a new 100-billion-euro European Union, EU, fund designed to help coal-dependent regions move towards a greener economy. All EU countries, except Poland, agreed last month they should transform their economies over the next 30 years to combat climate change and ensure they do not emit more carbon dioxide than they absorb."

"Europeans rank climate change as the biggest challenge they are facing, a survey by the European Investment Bank suggested this week. Poland did not sign up to the 2050 neutral-emissions goal, arguing its energy systems and economy are too dependent on coal and lignite.

"The world does not have the luxury of complacency on climate change. It’s time for action," the Sharjah-based daily concluded.

WAM/Nour Salman