With weather disasters costing $200 million per day and irreversible climate catastrophe looming, the world is “heading in the wrong direction,” according to the United Nations in a new report that compiles the most recent science on climate change.
Weather-related disasters have increased fivefold over the last 50 years, killing 115 people per day on average, according to the World Meteorological Organization, and the fallout is expected to worsen.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres blamed fossil fuels for floods in Pakistan, heat waves in Europe, and droughts in China, the Horn of Africa, and the United States.
“The new scale of these disasters is anything but natural. They are the cost of humanity’s addiction to fossil fuels “He stated. “According to this year’s United in Science report, climate impacts are heading into uncharted territory of destruction.”
“Yet, year after year, we double down on this fossil fuel addiction, even as the symptoms worsen,” he added.
The report, based on data compiled by several United Nations agencies and partners, stated that there is a 48% chance that global temperature rise over pre-industrial times will reach 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) in the next five years. There is a 93% chance that one of the next five years will see record heat.
It comes after scientists warned last week that if the temperature threshold set in the 2015 Paris climate agreement is exceeded, four climate “tipping points” will most likely be reached.
Many governments are already attempting to address the threat of more severe weather caused by climate change, and data show that natural disaster deaths have decreased in recent years. Nonetheless, the economic cost of climate-related disasters is expected to skyrocket.
According to the United Nations report, such “losses and damages” can be limited by taking timely action to prevent further warming and adapt to the temperature increases that are now unavoidable. Compensation for the damage caused by rich-country emissions will be a major topic of discussion at the upcoming United Nations climate talks in Egypt this fall.