NAIROBI: Last year’s record shrinkage of Arctic sea ice and a spell of catastrophic droughts, floods and storms highlight the risk to the planet from climate change, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said today.
In an annual review of the world’s environment coinciding with ministerial-level talks in Nairobi, UNEP also warned of an alarming surge in elephant and rhino poaching.
In 2012, summer sea ice in the Arctic covered a record low area of 3.4 million square kilometres (1.31 million square miles), which was 18 percent below the previous recorded minimum in 2007, and 50 percent below the average in the 1980s and 1990s, UNEP said.
Land ice in Greenland also showed signs of melting and permafrost in high latitudes was in retreat, it said.
The report — the UNEP 2013 Year Book — also noted a string of weather disasters, of which the United States bore the brunt, including its worst drought in decades as well as Hurricane Sandy, which flooded parts of New York City and the coastline of New Jersey.