First decade of 21st century was the warmest for both hemispheres as well as land & ocean temperatures
press trust of india
UNHQ, 4 July
The world experienced unprecedented high-impact climate extremes between 2001 and 2010, and more national temperature records were broken during the period compared to any other decade, a UN report has said.
The report, ‘The Global Climate 2001-2010, A Decade of Extremes’, says the first decade of the 21st century was the warmest for both hemispheres as well as land and ocean temperatures, since measurements began in 1850.
“Rising concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are changing our climate, with far reaching implications for our environment and our oceans which are absorbing both carbon dioxide and heat,” said Michel Jarraud, the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), which produced the report.
High temperatures were accompanied by a rapid decline in Arctic sea ice and an accelerating loss of the ice sheets of the world’s glaciers.
Floods, droughts and tropical cyclones were all experienced across the world throughout the decade, killing over 3,70,000 people, which is 20 per cent more than the casualties in previous decade due to such calamities.
Floods were the most frequently experienced extreme climatic event over the course of the decade.
Eastern Europe, India, Africa, and Australia were particularly affected, as well as Pakistan, where 2,000 people died and 20 million were affected by floods in 2010.
Droughts however, affected more people than any other natural disaster due to their large scale and long-lasting nature.
Some of the highest-impact and long-term droughts struck Australia, East Africa, and the Amazon Basin, with negative environmental impacts.
Tropical cyclones were also prominent throughout the decade, with more than 500 cyclone-related disasters killing nearly 1,70,000 people, affecting over 250 million, and caused estimated damages of $380 billion, the report said.
The report incorporates findings from a survey of 139 national meteorological and hydrological services and socio-economic data and analysis from several UN agencies and partners.
Meanwhile, another UN report said, 13 years after the world set the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), countries have made big strides to meet the eight anti-poverty targets by their 2015 deadline.
The report asserts that the unmet goals are still within reach, but nations need to step up their efforts to achieve them.
“In more than a decade of experience in working towards the MDGs, we have learned that focused global development efforts can make a difference,” Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says in the report’s foreword, in which he urges for accelerated action to close development gaps.
“Now is the time to step up our efforts to build a more just, secure and sustainable future for all.”
Agreed upon by world leaders at a UN summit in 2000, the MDGs set specific targets on poverty alleviation, education, gender equality, child and maternal health, environmental stability, HIV/AIDS and malaria reduction, and a global partnership for development.  The Millennium Development Goals Report 2013 shows how the combined actions of governments, civil society and the private sector have made substantial progress in meeting many of the targets, while also pointing out areas that are falling behind and require immediate attention. The targets that have already been met include halving the number of people living in extreme poverty and providing more than two billion people with access to improved sources of drinking water.
Countries have also made great strides on health targets, and are within close reach of achieving them by 2015.  These include reducing the mortality rates from malaria and tuberculosis and stopping HIV infections.