2023 Set To Be The Warmest Year Recorded In The Past 125,000 Years, Says EU Climate Center

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EU scientists have declared that 2023 is set to be the warmest year recorded in the past 125,000 years, after data from last month showed that October had shattered previous temperature records.

“The [October] record was broken by 0.4 degree Celsius, which is a huge margin,” Samantha Burgess, director of the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), said on Wednesday, adding that unusual temperature data was “very extreme.”

The average surface air temperature for October was 1.7 degrees Celsius warmer than typical for the so-called pre-industrial period between 1850 and 1900, before humans began burning large amounts of fossil fuels, C3S said. The increased global temperatures this year are linked to man-made emissions, scientists say, as well as the naturally-occurring El Nino weather system, which warms surface waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

CS3 said in a statement that 2023 is “virtually certain” to break the previous record set in 2016, which was also an El Nino year.

The only other time on record in which global surface air temperatures exceeded expectations by such a large margin was September 2023. Researchers have indicated that extreme temperatures are expected to persist in 2024.

“When we combine our data with the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), we can say that this is the warmest year for the last 125,000 years,” Burgess said, adding that she was “really, really surprised” by the findings.

The uptick in global temperatures directly corresponds to an increase in human suffering, according to Dr. Friederike Otto from Imperial College London.

“Within this year, extreme heatwaves and droughts, made much worse by these extreme temperatures, have caused thousands of deaths, people losing their livelihoods, being displaced, etc.” he said, as per the BBC on Wednesday. “These are the records that matter.”

Scientists have blamed man-made climate change for a series of disasters which have happened throughout 2023, including floods that killed thousands in Libya, South American heatwaves and Canada’s worst-ever season of forest fires – which Piers Foster, a climate scientist at the UK’s University of Leeds, warned could become commonplace.

“We must not let the devastating floods, wildfires, storms, and heatwaves seen this year become a new normal,” he said via Reuters, explaining that by “rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions” the rate of warming can be halved.

The topic is expected to dominate the UN’s COP28 climate change summit, set to begin in Dubai on November 30.

Earth’s Vital Signs Worse Than Ever Before, Says Report

The “vital signs” that signify the health of our planet are currently worse than at any time in human history, a team of scientists warned in a research paper published in the journal Bioscience on Tuesday.

The study is an update of a 2019 analysis that 15,000 scientists across the globe had supported and stated that 20 of 35 crucial indicators used to track anthropogenic climate change are at record highs.

“Without actions that address the root problem of humanity taking more from Earth than it can safely give, we’re on our way to the potential collapse of natural and socioeconomic systems and a world with unbearable heat and shortages of food,” said Dr. Christopher Wolf of Oregon State University (OSU), the lead author of the report.

In addition to surging greenhouse gas emissions, the study found that rising global temperatures and sea levels are key indicators of the Earth’s ill health. Other factors also include high human and livestock population levels. The researchers’ findings echo a separate report released last month, which concluded that Earth is “well outside the safe operating space for humanity.”

Researchers said the latest study comes during a year in which several climate records were smashed, including global air temperatures, ocean temperatures, and ice levels in the Southern Ocean. In July, scientists recorded the highest monthly air surface temperature ever registered – likely the hottest the planet has experienced in 100,000 years.

“By 2100, as many as 3 to 6 billion people may find themselves outside Earth’s liveable regions,” Dr. Wolf explained, adding that increasingly large numbers of people “will be encountering severe heat, limited food availability, and elevated mortality rates.”

The report also states that “for several decades,” the scientific community has been sounding the alarm about humanity’s impact on worsening climate conditions. “Unfortunately, time is up,” it says.

The scientists also highlighted severe flooding in China and India, as well as a powerful Mediterranean storm that led to the deaths of thousands of people in Libya, as further examples of deteriorating climate conditions.

As for potential actions to mitigate the worsening effects of climate change, the paper calls for removing fossil fuel subsidies, increasing forest protection, and moving towards a more plant-based diet for wealthy individuals. It also calls for phasing out oil and gas and gradually reducing the human population via family planning.

“Life on our planet is clearly under siege,” concluded Prof. William Ripple, also of OSU. “It is a moral duty of scientists and our institutions to alert humanity of any potential existential threat and to show leadership is taking action.”

World Is Collapsing, Says Pope

The world as we know it is “collapsing” amid rapidly accelerating climate change and inaction by global leaders, Pope Francis has warned. He singled out developed Western nations as the main culprits behind the crisis.

In his Apostolic Exhortation entitled Laudate Deum and published on Wednesday, the head of the Roman Catholic Church lamented that little progress has been made since he released the Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ on the topic back in 2015.

“The world in which we live is collapsing and may be nearing the breaking point,” with the current climate crisis threatening the very “dignity of human life,” the Pontiff insisted. He went on to stress that its consequences are becoming increasingly harder to ignore, manifesting themselves in “extreme weather phenomena, frequent periods of unusual heat, drought.”

China, U.S., Poorest Countries

According to the Pope, the notion that poorer nations are largely responsible for global warming is wholly fallacious. The Pontiff pointed out that “emissions per individual in the United States are about two times greater than those of individuals living in China, and about seven times greater than the average of the poorest countries.” With that in mind, he called for a “broad change in the irresponsible lifestyle connected with the Western model.”

Francis strongly criticized climate change deniers, proclaiming that “it is no longer possible to doubt the human – ‘anthropic’– origin” of the phenomenon. He noted that global temperatures have risen in the last fifty years at a speed unseen over the past two millennia.

The Pope lamented that the “climate crisis is not exactly a matter that interests the great economic powers, whose concern is with the greatest profit possible at minimal cost and in the shortest amount of time.” He also took aim at large multinational organizations over their inefficacy.

Francis argued that previous crises, such as the major economic slump in 2008 and the Covid-19 pandemic, presented unique opportunities to “bring about beneficial changes” which were all “squandered.”

The Pope’s 2015 appeal came months before the ratification of the Paris Climate Accords, with a Vatican delegation attending the negotiations. In the following years, the Holy See has hosted numerous conferences devoted to the fight against climate change, which featured both religious and business leaders. Francis has delivered many speeches on the topic, including at the UN and the U.S. Congress.

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