Some of the world’s foremost meteorologists have issued an urgent appeal for world leaders to ratify the Paris Agreement as soon as possible to protect the planet from runaway global warming.
The stark warning from the World Meterological Organisation (WMO) was made at the release of its annual Status of the Climate report earlier this week, which concludes the record-breaking extreme weather seen in 2015 is a sign of things to come.
“The future is happening now”, WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement. “The alarming rate of change we are now witnessing in our climate as a result of greenhouse gas emissions is unprecedented in modern records.”
Talaas added that average temperatures have already increased by one degree above pre-industrial levels, but said “urgent and far-reaching measures” to cut carbon emissions can stave off the worst-case scenarios.
“Our planet is sending a powerful message to world leaders to sign and implement the Paris Agreement on climate change and cut greenhouse gases now before we pass the point of no return,” he said.
These weather patterns are already continuing into 2016, with January and February both setting new monthly temperature records and Arctic sea ice dropping to record lows.
David Carlson, head of the WMO’s World Climate Research Programme, said 2016’s high temperatures have sent “shockwaves” through the scientific community as the scale and pace of climate impacts become increasingly apparent.