2023 is hurtling towards being the hottest year on record, sounding alarm bells among scientists after exceptionally high temperatures in September and the hottest summer in human history. The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) of the European Union reported that global average temperatures from January to September were 1.4 degrees Celsius higher than the preindustrial period of 1850 to 1900. This surpasses the previous hottest year on record, 2016, by just over 0.5 degrees Celsius. September witnessed the largest temperature anomalies since 1940, with a staggering 1.75 degrees Celsius warmer compared to the preindustrial reference period.
This extreme heat is attributed to the climate crisis, primarily fueled by the burning of fossil fuels. Samantha Burgess, deputy director of C3S, described September’s findings as “absolutely gobsmackingly bananas.” The record-breaking temperatures in September, following a scorching summer, have propelled 2023 to the unwelcome position of potentially being the warmest year, approximately 1.4°C above preindustrial average temperatures. With the COP28 climate conference approaching in Dubai, starting on November 30, the urgency for ambitious climate action has never been more critical.
The warning from scientists and climate organizations aligns with recent U.N. reports and statements from global leaders, including Pope Francis and U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, underscoring the severity of the climate crisis and the urgent need for collective action. The impact of extreme heat is evident in distressing events worldwide, from floods and disease outbreaks to historic wildfires. The world is at a pivotal juncture, and leaders must address the pressing challenges at COP28 to mitigate the worsening climate crisis.
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