Three of the United Nations’ major climate and development agencies each released worrying assessments just days before the COP26 environment summit in Glasgow, Scotland.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released data indicating that greenhouse gas emissions hit a new high in 2020. Carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere had increased at a greater rate in the preceding year than in the previous ten.
But according to the UN Environment Program (UNEP), the new and updated climate commitments by UN member states fell well short of what was required to meet the Paris Agreement’s goals and avoid a severe global temperature rise of at least 2.7 degrees Celsius this century.
Despite this dismal outlook, there are numerous reasons to be optimistic. The number of nations that have increased or pledged to increase their climate pledges increased from 75 in 2019 to 178 in 2021. The essential notion of adopting increasingly aggressive NDCs every five years has been followed by the majority of countries.
Away from the alarming headlines about climate change’s destructive effects, the three UN agencies, in collaboration with its Alliance for Hydromet Development partners, have created and will unveil in Glasgow a major new initiative that will transform the international response to climate change.
The Systematic Observations Finance Facility (SOFF) will fill data gaps that have hampered our understanding of climate change, especially forecasting extreme weather events. As a result, reactions to disasters like floods, hurricanes, and drought have weakened.
When the SOFF is completely operational, billions of dollars of infrastructure will be made climate-resilient and no longer be subjected to the constant hammering of extreme weather events. Furthermore, numerous lives may be saved.
the World hasn’t been able to close big data gaps in the last three decades. And the problem is only getting worse. Between 2015 and early 2020, the number of radiosonde observations across Africa — the most essential sort of data for weather forecasting and climate analysis — declined by around half. Since then, the figure has decreased much further, as it has in other regions of the world. This trend will be reversed by the SOFF.
When the SOFF is operational, the data foundations on which investment decisions are made will be improved, resulting in a considerable rise in the effectiveness of climate funding.
The SOFF’s potential global disaster management advantages are projected to be worth $66 billion per year. In addition, greater economic production and the use of weather forecasting in sectors such as agriculture, water, electricity, transportation, and construction are expected to save around $96 billion each year.
Weather and climate observations such as those produced by the SOFF are required if the world community is to fully appreciate the $162 billion in annual socioeconomic advantages of weather and climate forecasting.
The SOFF will enable some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities to get ahead of the game, adjust to climate change’s effects, and build much-needed resilience. The SOFF’s greatest value, though, maybe in demonstrating what the UN can do at its best.