‘Weather forecasts’ by children warning about climate hit TVs globally

World Meteorological Day being marked on Saturday, March 23
Children participating in the special forecasts. Photo: UNDP

Television viewers across the globe got a special weather report this week as children took to the small screen to deliver special forecasts about their future − threatened by the climate crisis.

From CNN to France 2, and in languages ranging from Spanish to Arabic to Hindi, the children are part of an effort conceived by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and The Weather Channel.

“I’m Kaylee with a very special weather report. From down there, to up here, everything is crazy,” 11-year-old Kaylee tells viewers.

“It’s not just a weather report to us. It is our future,” she says.

Whether the weather is being reported by Kaylee, or Noam or Esteban in other languages, a map of the world shows temperatures which continue to rise.

And that’s just the beginning: it moves onward to forecasts for 2050, set against a backdrop of fires and houses collapsing under the pressure of a swollen river.

The one-minute spot was to be broadcast in more than 80 countries across a variety of channels as well as on online platforms.

The forecasts were to air in French, English, Spanish, Arabic, Hindi, Swahili and even Thai and Portuguese, the UNDP said in a press release.

“Our children will be our future weather reporters, climate journalists, emergency workers and medical professionals,” said actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau from Game of Thrones, one of the initiative’s ambassadors.

The campaign “shows us the faces of those who will be impacted the most by our climate actions”.

Another ambassador, actor Michelle Yeoh, said that “while their weather reports are fictional for now, it is crucial for us to take meaningful action to protect the planet for our children and future generations.”

There is a high probability that 2024 will witness record-setting temperatures, while the World Meteorological Organisation has said last year capped off “the warmest 10-year period on record.”

“Our decisions today will shape the future of many generations to come. This campaign is a call to urgent action for the sake of people and the planet,” WMO secretary-general Celeste Saulo said.

The children’s weather forecasts are a continuation of another UNDP campaign launched in 2021 to try to mobilise climate action.

In that campaign, a computer-generated dinosaur named Frankie burst into the UN General Assembly exclaiming: “At least we had an asteroid. What’s your excuse?”

“Don’t choose extinction. Save your species before it’s too late.”

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