In recent years, the focus of climate discussions has shifted from what humans are doing to the planet to what we can do to prepare for the effects of climate change. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) launched the Early Warnings For All Initiative in response to this challenge, aiming to ensure that everyone on Earth has access to early warning systems for hazardous weather and climate events by 2027. This involves providing information about hazards before they occur, delivering that information to the right people, and equipping communities with response capabilities to save lives and reduce damages.
One of the driving factors behind this initiative is global equity. Many of the countries most affected by climate change are not the ones responsible for causing it, and they are often the least prepared to handle its impacts. The WMO, as a global community of 193 countries, aims to leave no one behind in tackling climate risks.
One of the challenges the WMO faces is delivering critical information to those who need it. This is where partnerships with companies like Google become crucial. Google’s global reach makes it an ideal partner in reaching people who search for information online, especially during natural hazards. Google has been sharing Public Alerts from governments for over a decade, helping to keep people safe, and now there is an opportunity to build on this partnership to enhance early warning systems.
Technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) also play a crucial role in protecting citizens from climate-related disasters. AI can analyze vast amounts of weather data to better forecast hazards and their impacts. With AI, forecasts can be generated quickly based on current conditions and a training dataset of decades of analysis. This enables the sharing of information earlier, giving people and aid organizations more time to take action. Google’s flood forecasting initiative is an example of how AI can be applied to improve early warning systems, and the WMO is exploring the incorporation of AI into their data products.
Public-private sector partnerships, like the one between the WMO and Google, are deemed important in addressing climate change. These partnerships bring together the technical and human capabilities of the private sector with the global framework and expertise of organizations like the WMO. Collaboration and advances in technology are seen as key to tackling the challenges posed by climate change and making a positive impact on people’s lives.