Europe 1 with AFP 12:10 p.m., May 18, 2022, modified at 12:13 p.m., May 18, 2022

The concentration of greenhouse gases, sea level rise, temperature and even ocean acidification broke records in 2021 according to a report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Some consequences are already "irremediable". 

"A lamentable litany of humanity's failure to combat climate change".

It is with these strong words that the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, commented on the recent report of the World Meteorological Organization.

In this document, entitled "State of the global climate in 2021", the WMO indicates that four key indicators of climate change had broken records during the past year.

The organization cites the concentrations of greenhouse gases, the rise in sea level, the temperature or even the acidification of the oceans.

For example, the sea level showed an average rise of 2.1 mm per year between 1993 and 2002, against 4.5 mm between 2013 and 2021. 

The past seven years have been the hottest on record

“The global energy system is broken and bringing us closer and closer to climate catastrophe,” Mr. Guterres warned, urging to “end fossil fuel pollution and accelerate the transition to renewable energy before 'cremate our only home.'

Separately, the report also confirmed that the past seven years have been the warmest on record with the average global temperature about 1.11°C above pre-industrial levels.

The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement aims to limit global warming to +1.5°C compared to the pre-industrial era.

“Heat trapped by human-made greenhouse gases will warm the planet for many generations to come. Sea level rise, heat and ocean acidification will continue for hundreds of years. unless ways to remove carbon from the atmosphere are invented."

The rise in ocean temperature, an "irreversible" change 

The ocean absorbs about 23% of annual man-made CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.

Although this slows the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations, the latter reacts with seawater and leads to ocean acidification.

It is also expected that the top 2,000 meters of ocean depth will continue to warm in the future.

"An irreversible change on timescales of centuries to millennia," the WMO said, adding that the heat was penetrating ever deeper.

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Meanwhile, the report says the Antarctic ozone hole is "unusually deep and extensive" at 24.8 million square kilometers in 2021, driven by a strong and stable polar vortex. 

Antonio Guterres has proposed five actions to kick-start the transition to renewables 'before it's too late': end fossil fuel subsidies, triple investment in renewables, cut red tape, secure supply raw materials for renewable energy technologies and make these technologies - such as battery storage - freely available global public goods.

"If we act together, the transformation of renewable energy can be the peace project of the 21st century," Guterres said.

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