It wasn't that long ago that we were warned to prepare for sea level rise of a centimetre per decade. Today it's averaging 5 mm. per year. And it's still accelerating.
The World Meteorological Organization, WMO, has released a report in time for this week's climate summit at the United Nations. Guess what? C'mon, take a shot.
The warning forms part of a "united in science" review for the UN climate action summit at which countries are being urged to increase their ambition to tackle emissions. The report studied climate change and its impacts over the past five years between 2015 and 2019, the hottest five-year period on record.
The world has warmed by 1.1C since pre-industrial times, and by 0.2C just compared to the previous five-year period 2011-2015, the report showed.
And with levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases rising more quickly than before, to new highs in the atmosphere, further warming is already locked in, the WMO warned.By now we're getting accustomed to periodic reports that climate change is getting worse much faster than we had previously imagined. There's a measure of monotony to the same thing repeated again and again. A new report from the WMO? Oh, let me guess. The climate crisis is getting worse, even faster. Isn't that beginning to seem just a bit monotonous? Won't we be hearing that again in six months, maybe three months?
I think the best way to treat these reports is to consider them as mile markers, the sort of thing we have on our highways. They mark our progress, a drawing closer to some point of no return that we'll only recognize once we're well past it.
Each of these repetitions marks how much further we've fallen behind and how much more difficult it has become to pull out of this nose dive.