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"According to a United Nations report, last year was the hottest on record by a significant margin, with a 'red alert' for global temperatures."
Climate Environment World News

“According to a United Nations report, last year was the hottest on record by a significant margin, with a ‘red alert’ for global temperatures.”

The UN weather agency has cautioned that the world is edging towards surpassing the 1.5C (2.7F) limit for global heating, potentially only for a short period of time.

The WMO has announced on Tuesday that 2023 has officially become the hottest year on record, surpassing previous records by a significant margin. In its climate report, it states that significant milestones were reached, and in some cases, exceeded, in terms of factors such as greenhouse gas emissions, temperature on the Earth’s surface, warming of the oceans and acidification, sea level rise, coverage of Antarctic sea ice, and melting of glaciers.

Andrea Celeste Saulo, the General Secretary of the WMO, has announced that the organization is issuing a “red alert” to the world.

The study revealed that surface temperatures on Earth were 1.45C higher last year compared to the late 1800s. This increase coincides with the widespread destruction of nature during the Industrial Revolution and the significant use of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas.

Scientists warn that although the margin of error of 0.12C in the temperature estimate is significant, it does not necessarily indicate that world leaders have broken their promise made in 2015 in the Paris Agreement to limit global heating to 1.5C by the end of the century. This is because global heating is typically measured over a 30-year period, rather than focusing on a sudden spike in a single year.

The report recorded instances of extreme weather, particularly heat, occurring on all inhabited continents. Climate change has been found to have contributed to making some of these events more severe or probable, according to quick estimation studies.

According to Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at Imperial College London who was not part of the study, if we do not cease burning fossil fuels, the Earth’s climate will continue to heat up, resulting in increased danger, unpredictability, and costs for billions of individuals.

The climate science community disagrees on whether the extreme temperatures observed in early 2024 signal an unexpected speeding up of the climate emergency. Certain indicators, such as sea surface temperatures, have been surprisingly elevated, even when factoring in the recurring El Niño pattern that warms the ocean. Additionally, some weather events have hit unusually severe levels earlier than anticipated.

Andreas Fink, a meteorologist from Karlsruhe Institute for Technology not affiliated with the study, stated that based on temperature data, it can be concluded that a year like 2023, while uncommon, is within the realm of possibility according to climate simulations of our current human-influenced climate. However, current climate models are unable to accurately simulate all types of extreme weather events.

According to a report by the WMO, there is a potential for growth in renewable energy. In 2023, the amount of renewable capacity added increased by almost 50% compared to the previous year, the highest growth rate seen in the last 20 years.

Simon Lewis, a University College London professor specializing in global change science, stated that the current state of the climate is a rapidly escalating crisis for humankind. He lamented that this is only the initial phase, and predicts even more severe consequences in the future due to the ongoing increase in carbon emissions and investments in fossil fuel extraction.

The study revealed that in 2023, approximately one third of the Earth’s oceans experienced extreme heat levels, causing damage to critical ecosystems and food resources. By the end of the year, only 10% of the ocean remained unaffected by these heatwaves.

The report discovered that extreme weather conditions, intensified by climate change, have resulted in increased food insecurity and displacement for many individuals. Although climate change may not be the sole cause of their suffering, it has contributed to a significant rise in the number of people facing acute food insecurity, reaching 333 million in 2023, with the most affected regions being Africa and south Asia.

Karsten Haustein, a climate scientist at the University of Leipzig who was not involved in the report, stated that the effects of climate change are already being seen and are disproportionately impacting different regions. He also noted that there is a disconnect in the public discourse, with many ignoring the impact on the global south and falsely believing that technology can solve all the consequences of climate change.

Source: theguardian.com