World’s oceans at most acidic level in 26,000 years, climate report warns
'The heat trapped by human-induced greenhouse gases will warm the planet for many generations to come'
The world's oceans grew to their warmest and most acidic levels on record last year, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Wednesday.
This comes as United Nations officials warn that the war in Ukraine threatens global climate commitments.
Oceans saw the most striking extremes as the WMO detailed a range of turmoil wrought by climate change in its annual "State of the Global Climate" report. For example, it said melting ice sheets had helped push sea levels to new heights in 2021.
"Our climate is changing before our eyes. The heat trapped by human-induced greenhouse gases will warm the planet for many generations to come," said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas in a statement, according to Reuters.
The report follows the latest UN climate assessment, which warns that humanity must drastically cut its greenhouse gas emissions or face increasingly catastrophic changes to the world's climate.
Taalas told reporters there was scant airtime for climate challenges as other crises, such as the Covid pandemic and war in Ukraine, grabbed headlines.
Selwin Hart, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres's special adviser on climate action, criticized countries reneging on climate commitments due to the conflict, which has pushed up energy prices and prompted European nations to seek to replace Russia as an energy supplier.
"We are... seeing many choices being made by many major economies which, quite frankly, have the potential to lock in a high-carbon, high-polluting future and will place our climate goals at risk," Hart told reporters, Reuters reported.