Insurance and Climate Change column

World Meteorological Organization: Good Chance for More Record-Setting Global Temps

By | June 7, 2024

A new study on adoption of behaviors that reduce personal carbon emissions in 37 countries and territories classified as “high-emissions” shows that daily household behaviors are far more common than higher-cost, infrequent behaviors.

Lower-cost, daily behaviors to reduce carbon emissions like reducing food waste and meat consumption are more common than higher-cost, infrequent behaviors like converting to heat pumps and purchasing electric vehicles, according to the study.

Respondents to the study were most likely to have tried to reduce food waste in the prior month and were least likely to have owned or leased an electric car or truck, the study shows.

The study, International Public Opinion on Climate Change: Household Climate Actions – Adoption and Barriers, 2023, conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication in partnership with Data for Good at Meta and Rare’s Center for Behavior & the Environment, also shows large differences in adoption rates across countries.

Adoption of heat pumps, for example, ranged from 45% in New Zealand to 3% in Israel and the United Kingdom.

Fossil Fuel Advertising

The head of the United Nations said this week that fossil fuel industries should be banned from advertising to help save the world from climate change.

UN Secretary General António Guterres drew a parallel between fossil fuel and tobacco advertisers, calling coal, oil and gas corporations the “godfathers of climate chaos” who had distorted the truth and deceived the public for decades, the BBC reported.

Guterres said the industry has greenwashed its activities through advertising campaigns, along with lobbying, and legal maneuvers.

“We must directly confront those in the fossil fuel industry who have shown relentless zeal for obstructing progress – over decades,” he said. “I urge every country to ban advertising from fossil fuel companies,” he told an audience in New York. And I urge news media and tech companies to stop taking fossil fuel advertising.”

Representatives of fossil fuel groups responded to the remarks, saying they were committed to reducing their emissions, the BBC reported.

“Our industry is focused on continuing to produce affordable, reliable energy while tackling the climate challenge, and any allegations to the contrary are false,” said Megan Bloomgren, senior vice president of communications at the American Petroleum Foundation.

Record Streak

All of the past 12 months ranked as the warmest on record, the EU’s climate change monitoring service said this week, as U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres called for urgent action to avert “climate hell,” Reuters reported in an article on Insurance Journal.

The average global temperature for the 12-month period through the end of May was 1.63 degrees Celsius (2.9 degrees Fahrenheit) above the pre-industrial average. That makes it the warmest such period since record-keeping began in 1940, the Copernicus Climate Change Service reported.

The New York Times reported that “global carbon dioxide emissions may have peaked last year.” Coal, oil and gas still provide more than three quarters of the world’s energy, with global oil demand remaining strong, according to Reuters.

The latest climate data show that the world far away from the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 C (see item below).

“We must urgently do more to cut greenhouse gas emissions, or we will pay an increasingly heavy price in terms of trillions of dollars in economic costs, millions of lives affected by more extreme weather, and extensive damage to the environment and biodiversity,” WMO Deputy Secretary-General Ko Barrett told Reuters.

WMO Temperature Forecast

The World Meteorological Organization said there is an 80% likelihood that the annual average global temperature will temporarily exceed 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels for at least one of the next five years.

The global mean near-surface temperature between 2024 and 2028 each year is foreast to be between 1.1°C and 1.9°C higher than the 1850-1900 baseline, according to the WMO report. There’s an 86% chance that at least one of those years will set a new temperature record, beating the 2023 record, and a 47% likelihood that the global temperature averaged over the five-year period will exceed 1.5 °C above the pre-industrial era.

Other messages in the report:

  • Arctic warming over the next five extended winters (November to March), relative to the average of the 1991-2020 period, is predicted to be more than three times as large as the warming in global mean temperature.
  • Predictions of sea-ice for March 2024-2028 suggest further reductions in sea-ice concentration in the Barents Sea, Bering Sea and Sea of Okhotsk.

At current levels of global warming, there are already “devastating climate impacts,” the report notes. These impacts include: more extreme heatwaves, extreme rainfall events and droughts’ reductions in ice sheets, sea ice, and glaciers; accelerating sea level rise and ocean heating.

Past columns:

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.