According to scientists, 2023 is slated to be the hottest year on record as the Earth continues its relentless climb in temperature. This announcement precedes a critical climate summit, where the urgency of climate action is expected to be a focal point.
From the Copernicus Climate Change Service, Samantha Burgess confirms with high certainty that the global temperature has surpassed pre-industrial averages by 1.43°C (Copernicus Climate Change Service, 2023).
The evidence is stark: October 2023 was the warmest October ever, with a 1.7°C increase from the 1800s averages. Human activities, notably burning fossil fuels and destroying natural habitats, have contributed significantly to this rise by emitting greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere.
The consequent warming of the planet by 1.2°C since the Industrial Revolution is a harbinger of the unprecedented human suffering we’re witnessing today, with extreme heatwaves and droughts leading to thousands of deaths and displacements (Otto, Imperial College London).
The 2015 Paris Agreement, a pact among nations to limit global warming to 1.5°C by the century’s end, is at risk as current policies project a warming of about 2.4°C. This October’s temperatures are a sobering reminder of the relentless upward trend. Researchers like Akshay Deoras from the University of Reading attribute this rise to a combination of factors, including increased greenhouse gas emissions and the El Niño weather pattern.
2023 on Track to Break Temperature Records
El Niño’s impacts, expected to persist until at least April 2024, are typically felt the year after its formation, indicating that 2024 may set new temperature records (World Meteorological Organization, 2023). Thus far, the average global temperature from January to October 2023 has already exceeded the previous record-holder, 2016, by 0.1°C (Copernicus Climate Change Service, 2023).
Richard Allan, a climate scientist, emphasizes the need for rapid and significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to prevent these recurrent record-breaking temperatures and the intensifying extreme weather events they bring.
World leaders, policymakers, and business representatives are poised to meet in Dubai at the end of November for the COP28 summit to deliberate on strategies to address the climate crisis. The goal remains to adhere to the 2015 Paris Agreement’s ambition of curbing global warming to 1.5°C by 2050.
Despite the natural occurrence of El Niño contributing to higher global temperatures, the human-induced increase of 1.1°C is fueling extreme weather events worldwide. David Reay from Edinburgh University likens the dire climate statistics of 2023 to a “Hollywood movie,” underscoring the urgency and magnitude of the climate crisis.