The world’s recent run of record-breaking warm years would have been near impossible without man-made climate change.
That’s the clear finding of a new study which showed that 13 of the 15 hottest year in the 150-year-long record have happened in the current, still young, century.
It comes as the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) confirms that the global average surface temperature in 2015 shattered all previous records – reaching the threshold of 1DegC above pre-industrial temperatures for the first time.
Coming just weeks after nearly 200 governments agreed to work to contain climate change, the latest findings offer yet another stark warning for leaders of the need to urgently turn their Paris pledges into definitive actions.
- 2015 was the hottest year on record, and human fingerprints are all over it. “An exceptionally strong El Niño” combined with climate change allowed 2015 to “shatter” previous temperature records. The World Meteorological Organization warns that “the power of El Niño will fade in the coming months but the impacts of human-induced climate change will be with us for many decades.“
- The impacts of rising temperatures are here for all to see. No continent was left untouched by extreme weather last year, as flooding and freak storms along with droughts and heatwaves, were seen worldwide. Scientists warn the chances of such events are higher than ever before, bringing an even bigger toll on people and communities, with the poorest often amongst the worst hit.
- Limiting warming and protecting communities is incompatible with a fossil fuelled future. The world still has a chance to holding warming below the 2DegC temperature limit reaffirmed by governments in Paris, says the WMO, but doing so means leaving the vast majority of fossil fuels in the ground. Moving to renewable energy will slash emissions and protect communities from the ravages of climate change while also improving health and creating jobs.