UN again claims ‘time is fast running out’: As Biden prepares for climate summit, U.N. says the world is ‘on the verge of the abyss’




By David Knowles

Just days before President Biden kicks off a climate summit with world leaders, the United Nations World Meteorological Organization released a report Monday warning that “time is fast running out” to keep global temperatures in check.

Titled “State of the Global Climate 2020,” the report finds that concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continued to climb in 2020, despite lockdowns imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Last year, the report notes, was the third warmest on record, worsening the melting of glaciers and sea ice, the acidification of the world’s oceans and the severity of wildfires and hurricanes.

A key goal of the Paris Agreement on climate change is to keep global temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius, and the U.N. report warns that doing so will require a massive effort from the governments of the world.

“The data in this report show that the global mean temperature for 2020 was around 1.2 degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industrial times, meaning that time is fast running out to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement,” U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said in a foreword to the report. “We need to do more, and faster, now.”

In an interview with Reuters, Guterres was even more direct, saying, “We are on the verge of the abyss.”

On Thursday, Biden will host leaders from around the world for a virtual summit, which is expected to include representatives from 40 countries who are responsible for the overwhelming majority of global carbon emissions. Among the leaders invited to the summit are Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.