The United Nations wants to make sure every person on Earth can receive early warnings ahead of disastrous weather events. It set a goal of hitting that target within five years in an announcement. Early warning systems are needed urgently to save lives as climate change makes extreme weather even worse, UN officials said.
Such systems include technology to forecast dangerous weather systems and the ability to share those forecasts with the public so that they can take precautions ahead of storms, floods, heatwaves, and droughts. One in three people in the world still aren’t protected by early warning systems, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
“This is unacceptable, particularly with climate impacts sure to get even worse,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Every tenth of a degree of global warming leads to greater risks more extreme storms, floods, heatwaves, droughts, and fire seasons.
The WMO called for a $1.5 billion investment in early warning systems over the next five years, especially in countries where the need is greatest. The agency expects a big return on that investment. Every $800 million spent on such systems helps to avoid up to $16 billion in damages each year in developing nations, the agency says. Beyond giving people more time to prepare and find shelter, forecasters can even predict the path of a storm and pinpoint which communities might need the most help.