2023 is warmest year on record, UN weather agency says

(Xinhua) 09:59, January 13, 2024

GENEVA, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on Friday officially confirmed 2023 as the warmest year since records began, edging closer toward the threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels set by the Paris Agreement.

The WMO said the Earth was 1.45 ± 0.12 degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industrial levels last year, citing six leading international datasets used for monitoring global temperatures and consolidated by the agency.

Global temperatures shattered previous records in every month between June and December, with July and August the hottest months on record, the WMO said.

"Climate change is the biggest challenge that humanity faces. It is affecting all of us, especially the most vulnerable," WMO Secretary-General Celeste Saulo said, urging humanity to make drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources.

As to factors that made 2023 the hottest year, Saulo said that the onset of the El Nino weather phenomenon early last year, marked by heating in the Pacific Ocean, "clearly" contributed to the rise of global temperatures.

She also warned that El Nino could drive up temperatures even further in 2024 as the climate pattern's biggest impacts usually play out after it peaks.

While El Nino events occur naturally and will not stay indefinitely, human activities are "unequivocally" to blame for longer-term climate change, Saulo added.

"The climate crisis is worsening the inequality crisis. It affects all aspects of sustainable development and undermines efforts to tackle poverty, hunger, ill-health, displacement and environmental degradation," she said.

Since the 1980s, each decade has been warmer than the previous one. The past nine years have been the warmest on record.

"Humanity's actions are scorching the earth. 2023 was a mere preview of the catastrophic future that awaits if we don't act now. We must respond to record-breaking temperature rises with path-breaking action," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement.

"We can still avoid the worst of climate catastrophe. But only if we act now with the ambition required to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius and deliver climate justice," he added. 

(Web editor: Peng Yukai, Liu Ning)


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