Climates Changing Around The World
2023 was a landmark year for global heat, shattering previous records and highlighting the accelerating pace of global warming and climate change. The trend is deeply entrenched and getting worse each year. The 10 warmest years on record have all occurred in the past decade.
Earth’s average temperature in 2023 was 2.12 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, making it the warmest year since official records were started in 1850.
- Both land and ocean temperatures reached record highs in 2023;
- For the first time ever, global average land temperatures exceeded 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels;
- Global ocean temperatures also exceeded 1°C above pre-industrial levels;
- Several months, including December, set record highs for global surface temperature; and
- Antarctic sea ice hit record low levels in 2023, with eight monthly records for low sea ice.
July 2023 wasn’t just a warm month, it was the hottest month ever recorded in human history, according to multiple agencies including NASA, NOAA, and the Copernicus Climate Change Service. Here are some key facts about July 2023:
- Globally, the average temperature was 2.77°F above the pre-industrial average;
- Land temperatures exceeded 3.6°F above pre-industrial levels for the first time ever; and
- Ocean temperatures also hit record highs.
These records are a stark reminder of the urgency of addressing climate change. Anthropogenic emissions – attributable to human action – are ultimately the main driver of this temperature rise. The consequences are clear and they are tragic. The era of global warming is becoming the era of global boiling. The air is not breathable. The heat is unbearable.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said there is a one-in-three chance that 2024 will be warmer than 2023, and a 99 percent chance that 2024 will rank among the top five warmest years. Britain’s Meteorological Office warned that this year’s average global temperature could eclipse the critical climate warming benchmark of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels.
The ongoing El Niño is currently in its second year, which typically amplifies global temperatures. Its persistence into spring/summer could significantly impact 2024. Of course, greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, which is driving long-term temperature increases, extreme weather and rising sea levels. The impact on food, water, public health, biodiversity and beyond are unfolding and accelerating. While these predictions highlight the potential dangers of a warming planet, it’s crucial to stay informed and engage in actions to mitigate climate change.
We need ambitious new national emissions reduction targets from G20 members. We must accelerate a just and equitable transition from fossil fuels to renewables. We must reach net zero electricity by 2035 in developed countries and 2040 elsewhere, while expanding electricity to everyone on earth (which will curb deforestation).
Extreme weather is becoming the new normal. All countries must respond and protect their people from the searing heat, fatal floods, storms, droughts, and raging fires that result.
Countries on the frontlines need help now. We need adaptation investments to save millions of lives from the climate carnage.
Promises made on international climate finance must be kept. Developed countries must honor their commitments to provide $100 billion a year to developing countries for climate support and fully replenish the Green Climate Fund.
Only two G7 countries – Canada and Germany – have made until now replenishment pledges. More broadly, many banks, investors and other financial actors continue to reward polluters and others who are harming the planet.
Financial institutions must end their fossil fuel lending, underwriting and investments and shift to renewables instead. No more green washing and no more hiding behind antitrust laws to sabotage net zero alliances.
We need a course correction in the global financial system to accelerate climate action. We must put a price on carbon and push the multilateral development banks to overhaul their business models to assess climate risk.
Multilateral development banks must leverage their funds to mobilize much more private finance at reasonable cost to developing countries — and scaling up their funding to renewables, reforestation, adaptation and loss and damage.
Humanity has unleashed destruction—much of which is irreversible. Children now face seven times as many heat waves, three times as many crop failures and twice as many wildfires as previous generations.
Save the Children forecasts that children in low-income countries and those impacted by poverty will suffer “first and worst,” said Jack Wakefield, the charity’s global policy and advocacy lead on climate change. “We must see urgent action on all fronts to rapidly phase out the use and subsidy of fossil fuels and limit global temperature rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels – as well as placing children’s rights, voices and needs at the heart of climate finance and loss and damage funding arrangements.”
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