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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO. A truck engine was tested for pollutants near Otay Mesa (California), September 10, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake/

ZURICH (Reuters) – The pace of climate change has not been slowed by the global COVID-19 pandemic and the world remains behind in its battle to cut carbon emissions, the United Nations said on Thursday.

According to the World Meteorological Organization, although the virus-related economic recession caused a slight decrease in CO2 emission last year, it wasn’t enough to stop the rise in greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.

The WMO’s United in Science 2021 report stated that the reduction targets have not been met, and the likelihood of the world failing to meet its Paris Agreement goal to reduce global warming by 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.

U.N. SecretaryGeneral Antonio Guterres declared that this year is crucial for climate action, stating that the results showed an “alarming evaluation of just how far away we are.”

He said that “this year saw fossil fuel emissions rebound, greenhouse gas concentrations increasing and severe human-enhanced events which have affected lives, livelihoods, and health on all continents.”

According to the U.N., concentrations in the atmosphere of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane – have continued to climb in 2020 and the first two-thirds of 2021.

With an average temperature of 1.06C- 1.26C higher than preindustrial levels, the global average temperature over the last five years was one of the highest ever recorded.

According to the report, there’s a 40% chance the average global temperature will rise by 1.5C or more over the five-year period.

Guterres stated that limiting global warming to 1.5C is impossible unless there are rapid, large-scale and immediate reductions in greenhouse gases emissions. This will have catastrophic effects on people and the environment.

The United in Science 2021 report presents the latest scientific data and findings related to climate change.

Petteri Takas, Secretary General of WMO said that “through the pandemic we heard that it was important to build back stronger to put humanity on a sustainable path to prevent the worst effects of climate change on societies and economies.”

He said, “This report shows us that in 2021 we’re not moving in the right direction.”

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