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Secretary-General Vows to ‘Boost Power of Prediction’, Extend Climate Disaster Early Warning Systems across Globe, in World Meteorological Day Message

Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for World Meteorological Day, observed on 23 March:

Human-caused climate disruption is now damaging every region.  The most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change details the suffering already happening.

Half of humanity is already in the danger zone.  Each increment of global heating will further increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.  That is why we must limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.  Keeping 1.5 alive requires a 45 per cent reduction in global emissions by 2030 to reach carbon neutrality by mid-century.

But, according to current national commitments, global emissions are set to rise by almost 14 per cent this decade.  The world must end its addiction to fossil fuels, especially coal.  At the same time, we must invest equally in adaptation and resilience.  That includes the information that allows us to anticipate storms, heatwaves, floods and droughts.

Today, one third of the world’s people, mainly in least developed countries and small island developing States, are still not covered by early warning systems.  In Africa, it is even worse:  60 per cent of people lack coverage.

This is unacceptable, particularly with climate impacts sure to get even worse.  Early warnings and action save lives.  To that end, today I announce the United Nations will spearhead new action to ensure every person on Earth is protected by early warning systems within five years.

I have asked the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) to lead this effort and to present an action plan at the next United Nations climate conference, later this year in Egypt.  We must boost the power of prediction for everyone and build their capacity to act.

On this World Meteorological Day, let us recognize the value of early warnings and early action as critical tools to reduce disaster risk and support climate adaptation.

Early warning systems save lives.  Let us ensure they are working for everyone.

For information media. Not an official record.